Tanzanian workers to protest increased power tariffs

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – Tanzania’s umbrella labour union is planning a nationwide peaceful demonstrations to protest the government’s decision to hike power tariffs by 18.5 percent effective 1 January 2011, the body’s leadership said here Tuesday.

‘As workers we are not convinced with the way the government and the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) decided
to increase power tariffs while aware that most of our people are leading miserable lives,’ said Nicholas Mgaya, acting secretary general of the Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA).

Stressing that the trade union and all its affiliates disapproved the increase, Mgaya said preparations for the demonstrations were underway but that dates for picketing would be announced in due course.

According to the official, the new electricity tariffs do not reflect the economic situation of Tanzanians and, for that reason, there must be pressure on the government to revisit its decision.

He said increased operational costs of power production in Tanzania were due to poor planning and unrealistic deals that government officials concluded with some foreign power generating companies.

The government last month said it had approved the request by TANESCO to charge power consumers more in order to generate shillings 691.5 billion (1US$ = Tsh1,450) that it needs to operate without financial hitches throughout the year.

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