Posted: Friday December 03, 2010 10:33 PM BT

A Recent Study has shown that producers in the various sectors of the economy - and, mainly, those involved in agriculture - can enhance, and even double, their productivity if adequate supplies of energy are assured at all times.

A Recent Study has shown that producers in the various sectors of the economy and, mainly, those involved in agriculture can enhance, and even double, their productivity if adequate supplies of energy are assured at all times.

Specifically, reliable access to electricity in the agriculture sector can to a great extent encourage investments in agro-processing and add value to local products, the Study says.

"Access to electricity would further reduce costs of small-scale operators, who now must rely on diesel-powered equipment," tt states in part - adding that “these effects have been realised in many countries through targeted interventions and careful fiscal management of electrification."

Published recently, and titled 'The Tanzanian Energy Sector: the Potential for Job Creation & Productivity Gains Through Expanded Electrification,' the Study report was co-authored by Arthur Mwakapugi, Waheeda Samji and Sean Smith.

It was jointly undertaken by the Research on Poverty Alleviation (RePoA) and SkillsGap International, with financial and technical support from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) offices in Geneva and Dar es Salaam.

ACCORDING TO THE REPORT, GPROPER ENERGY SUPPLY WILL ENABLE IMPROVED AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY THROUGH GREATER ACCESS TO IRRIGATION TECHNOLOGY, AMONG OTHER BENEFITS.

GSIMILARLY, RELIABLE PROVISION OF POWER FACILITATES ACCESS TO MORE PRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGIES, AND REDUCES OPERATIONAL COSTS.
ACCESS TO ELECTRICITY HAS BEEN SHOWN TO INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY IN MICRO AND SMALL BUSINESSES BY BETWEEN 100-AND-200 PER CENT IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES,H THE REPORT AFFIRMS.

“In large businesses, similar productivity gains have often been registered. Industries which use diesel generators during power outages may see a reduction in energy expenditures by as much as 80 per cent depending on the local cost of diesel fuel,” the researchers note.

Further noting that “reliable provision of electricity encourages the use of new production technologies – including greater use of information & communication technologies (ICT)” – the study says “improved access to electricity creates jobs, both directly and indirectly.

“Directly, jobs would be created in the energy sector for engineers, technicians, artisans and manual labourers for
THE EXPANSION OF THE NATIONAL GRID. INDIRECTLY, JOBS WOULD BE CREATED THROUGH BUSINESS STARTS-UP, WHILE INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY IN BUSINESSES LEADS TO THE HIRING OF MORE EMPLOYEES.H

THE GOVERNMENT IN DAR HAS SET AS ITS GOAL CONNECTING 500,000 HOUSEHOLDS TO THE NATIONAL GRID OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.

ACCORDING TO THE STUDY, IF THIS PLAN IS IMPLEMENTED IN FULL, GOVER ONE MILLION JOBS COULD BE CREATED DIRECTLY AND INDIRECTLY OVER THE PERIOD.

GTHIS PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYMENT WOULD HELP REDUCE THE NUMBER OF WORKING POOR, AND ALSO REDUCE THE HIGH INCIDENCE OF POVERTY.H

IN 2007, ABOUT 33.6 PER CENT OF TANZANIAN HOUSEHOLDS LIVED BELOW THE BASIC-NEEDS POVERTY LEVEL, AND THE NUMBER OF WORKING ADULTS (PEOPLE AGED 15 YEARS AND OLDER) LIVING IN POOR HOUSEHOLDS WAS OVER 5.6 MILLION, OR ABOUT 30 PER CENT OF THE LABOUR FORCE.

CREATION OF PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYMENT IS REQUIRED IF TANZANIA IS TO ACHIEVE ITS TARGET OF A REDUCTION IN POVERTY TO 19.5 PER CENT BY 2015, AND WOULD PLAY A CENTRAL ROLE IN THE SECOND PHASE OF THE 'NATIONAL GROWTH & REDUCTION OF POVERTY STRATEGY' (MKUKUTA-II).

GELECTRIFICATION REPRESENTS A KEY DRIVER OF EMPLOYMENT GROWTH BY INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY AND THE DEMAND FOR LABOUR, THEREBY GENERATING HIGHER EARNINGS AND HOUSEHOLD INCOMES,H THE STUDY REPORT STRESSES.

MKUKUTA-II and the country's Medium-Term Public Investment Plan should explicitly and strongly address the strategic role of energy in accelerating growth, creating jobs and meeting the targets of poverty reduction by 2015 and 2025 as projected in the respective programmes.

GTHE GOVERNMENT SHOULD LEAD THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE POWER SYSTEM MASTER PLAN (PSMP) AND RURAL ELECTRIFICATION MASTER PLAN TO EXPAND ELECTRIFICATION TO 20 PER CENT OF THE POPULATION BY 2015 - AND 50 PER CENT BY 2025,H THE STUDY COUNSELS.

GADEQUATE, STRATEGICALLY-TARGETED BUDGETARY RESOURCES AND STRONG PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS (PPPS) WILL BE NEEDED FOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF GENERATION PROJECTS IDENTIFIED IN THE PSMP IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THE TARGETS IN EXPANDED COVERAGE,H THE STUDY UNDERLINES.

Daniel Semberya - Business Times
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