Community Advocacy on Environmental and Social Justice

Thursday, 26 September 2013

TANZANIA Govt, TPSF agree on natural gas exploitation

By Sylivester Domasa 

20th September 2013

Involvement of Tanzanians assured 

The government and the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) have finally 
resolved their differences over the auction of eight natural gas blocks giving 
leeway for indigenous Tanzanians to own shares when the policy becomes ready in 
September next year. 

Briefing journalists after a consultative meeting 
between officials of the government and those of TPSF, the Foundation’s 
executive director, Godfrey Simbeye, said the two sides also agreed that the 
auction which was slated for October this year should go ahead as planned and as 
per the Petroleum and Exploration Act of 1980. 

He said the government and 
TPSF also agreed that the lobby should work in cooperation with the government 
in the course of exploitation of minerals and other sources of energy so as to 
ensure that more benefits accrue to the local people. 

In so doing, he 
said, the government would ensure that indigenous Tanzanians are given the 
opportunity to fully take part in the exploitation of the country’s 
resources. 

The agreement ends a ‘tug-of-war’ between the TPSF and the 
Ministry of Energy and Minerals on how indigenous Tanzanians can benefit from 
the eight offshore natural gas blocks that the government has earmarked for 
sale. 

The differences between the two were fizzled out yesterday after 
the government clarified that the October 25 auction was only an official launch 
of the deep offshore and northern Lake Tanganyika licensing, this being the 
fourth round. 

Underlining the differences was that TPSF had protested the 
government’s decision to auction the eight natural gas blocks (seven in the 
offshore Indian Ocean and one in north of Lake Tanganyika) on grounds that there 
was no policy document to regulate the business. 

The foundation was of 
the belief that such a decision would limit indigenous Tanzanian participation 
in the exploitation of the important natural resource. 

Simbeye said: “The 
government has assured us of our participation in the extraction of oil and 
gas,” saying the foundation was satisfied with the government’s intervention on 
the matter. 

The executive director said the foundation was also happy 
with the fact that “any firm investing in these blocks must clearly state in its 
application that it will be listed in the Dar es Salaam Stock 
Exchange.” 

“This would enable indigenous Tanzanians to purchase shares 
and take part in the oil and gas business,” he noted. 

TPSF Board of 
Directors Chairman Dr Reginald Mengi, was pleased that the government had 
listened to its people’s concerns. 

“Their involvement will ensure this 
crucial natural resource becomes a blessing and not a curse,” he said, adding 
that several countries have been involved in endless conflicts over natural 
resource discoveries. 

“I call upon fellow Tanzanians to get prepared to 
participate in the gas economy,” he said. 

Energy and Minerals ministry 
permanent secretary Eliakim Maswi who represented the government side said the 
participation of indigenous Tanzanians in oil and natural gas should not be 
underestimated. 

“I am happy that today, we’ve reached an agreement. TPSF 
are Tanzanians dedicated in building their country,” he 
stated. 

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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