US Aid Cut Won't Affect Tanzania Power-development Plans - Officials

US Aid Cut Won't Affect Tanzania Power-development Plans - Officials

A U.S. aid agency decision to suspend funding for Tanzania won’t affect plans to boost electricity facilities across the East African nation, government officials said.

The Millennium Challenge Corp., an independent government agency that stipulates countries should align with democratic principles to receive its aid, on March 28 said it was suspending its partnership with Tanzania, describing a rerun of the presidential vote on the Zanzibar archipelago as “neither inclusive nor representative.”

The Financial Times reported that the move would affect a $470 million project, with most of those funds set to be spent on improving rural electrification.

“We didn’t have that anywhere in our budget,” Norbert Kahyoza, a commissioner at the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, said Thursday on the sidelines of a conference in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam. “As far as we are concerned, rural electrification is the hotcake for us right now and it’s sufficiently funded by the government.”

Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary Servacius Likwelile said Tanzania was in the process of “negotiating a compact with MCC” when the cooperation was suspended.

“There is no figure because you can’t know that without having a project to budget for and implement,” he added. “It will have no impact. It doesn’t affect the budget.”

Zanzibar’s ruling party candidate was re-elected president in a March 20 rerun boycotted by the main opposition party, which said it won the initial October vote.

Diplomatic missions from Europe and the U.S. have said they regretted the Zanzibar electoral commission’s decision to hold a rerun “without a mutually acceptable and negotiated solution to the current political impasse.”

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