30 November 2012

Tanzania: Investors Rush for Mtwara Freeport Zone

PROSPECTIVE investors have shown keen interest to invest on the envisaged Mtwara Freeport Zone that seeks to serve the gas and oil exploration activities.

The Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) and Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) had jointly invited potential investors to express interest on leasing plots of between 6,200 and 15,900 m2 on the 10-hectre area earmarked for oil and gas firm's supply base.

EPZA Research and Planning Manager James Maziku described the response to the invitation so far as positive, with over 10 potential investors having responded by last Friday deadline. "Many companies have shown interest to invest on the (Mtwara Freeport) zone...it's an indication that investors are eager to operate at the area," said Mr Maziku, noting that the authorities will meet soon to evaluate the applications before inviting the firms to submit detailed investment proposals.

Special Economic Zone Act 2006 and EAC Customs Union (Freeport Operations Regulations) stipulate that applying companies to undertake operations that provide services to the oil exploration and gas extraction companies, whose activities should be limited to warehousing and storage; labelling, packaging and repacking; sorting, grading, cleaning and mixing; breaking bulky; simple assembly and grouping of packages.

Mtwara region has earmarked a total of 110 hectares for the Free Port Zone, with the first phase of the EPZA/TPA joint project on the 10 hectares scheduled to operate as the oil and gas supply base. EPZA and TPA have partnered on the project to support smooth exploitation of natural resources in the southern region, which is endowed with a huge amount of gas and oil.

Investors are already flocking to the southern region to invest in manufacturing plants--cement and fertilisers in particular. Deep sea exploration is in progress by multinational companies--Petrobras, British Gas and Orphir, making it inevitable to have a logistical centre to supply materials and services to the companies for efficient operations.

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