11 January 2013

Tanzania: Tabora Elders Nod to State Gas Plan

Tabora — THE critical need for equitable distribution of national resources like oil, gas, minerals, forests, and others received a new thrust as elders in Tabora opposed claims by Mtwara residents to have monopoly in the natural gas available in the area.

Speaking at a meeting at the mini state-lodge in Tabora on Wednesday night, elders representing CCM members in the region were categorical on utilization of the available national resources for the benefit of the entire nation. "The arrangement (benefit for the whole nation) is historical.

It has never been the national policy that resources available in a region are for that particular part of the country. "The resources are for the whole nation," one of the elders said during an audience with President Jakaya Kikwete, who wound up his five-day tour in the region.

The representative had more: "We (elders) would like to tell residents of Mtwara that it was not proper to jump over an agenda initiated by the opposition parties against the national policy on exploitation and distribution of natural resources. "Resources are for the people of Tanzania," he said.

The elders were referring to demonstrations organized in Mtwara Region towards end of last year. Whereas demonstrators demanded change of policy on consumption of natural gas insisting that residents around the places where resources are available must benefit first.

They wanted the government to put on hold the plan to construct a gas pipe from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam for power generation, demanding that the power plant should be constructed in the area for electricity to be connected to the national grid.

However, exploration results have revealed that natural gas deposits are located in Lindi, Mtwara and Coast region and the government would stick to the national policy on equitable distribution of resources.

The elders also advised the government to establish special departments in all public hospitals for the elderly to receive medical treatment with much more convenience to avoid the hassle they endure when seeking medication. President Kikwete accepted the proposal and pledged consideration for implementation.

Also the elders thanked the government for good policy on land use and ownership saying that they were pleased with the system whereby compensation was made to an individual whose land is taken over for public use.

President Kikwete commended the elders for the strong position taken on proper utilization of national resources adding that if the advocated divisional guidelines were adopted, the entire nation would be fragmented. "All natural resources are for the people of Tanzania.

It seems some politicians have run out of progressive ideas," Kikwete said. The president arrived in Tabora on Monday coming from Singida where on Sunday he attended a special consecration mass of Bishop Mkumbo of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Central Diocese.

During his tour, President Kikwete inspected development projects, laid down foundation stones and inaugurated many other projects in Igunga, Nzega, Uyui, Urambo, Kaliua and Tabora municipality. At Usoke for example, President Kikwete inaugurated a 52 km road project between Ndono and Urambo that connects the 42km Tabora - Ndono stretch.

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