VAST discoveries of gas along the Indian Ocean are expected to boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to over 20 per cent soon or later helping the country realize a brighter future provided there are excellent policies in place.
However, the increased investments in gas and the benefits accrued should be reflected not only in the economic growth but also in the improvement of people's livelihoods. This scenario will save the nation from skirmishes like the incident that occurred in Mtwara Region a few weeks ago.This was said on Tuesday in Dar es Salaam by the Brazilian Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Francisco Luz, during a tour to the Tanzania Standard Newspapers (TSN) headquarters which is located on Mandela road.
TSN is the publisher of Daily News, Sunday News, HabariLeo, HabariLeo Jumapili and SpotiLeo."Economic growth must create social inclusion," Mr Luz said, adding that, "Clear transparency on the royalties and other gains from gas resources as well as how the benefits are shared will build public confidence particularly in Mtwara and surrounding areas."
The ambassador said that what transpired in Mtwara Region during the gas row was a source of miscommunication between respective authorities and the people. However, both parties should understand their role. They should ensure that the resources benefit all and the nation, the envoy said.He urged the government to increase investments in gas consumption as way of capacitating low income earners to make use of it as a first source of energy in the first place but also as a way of protecting the endangered environments.
Mr Luz said Petrobras, a Brazilian company that is conducting drilling in Southern Tanzania is holding 50 per cent stakes in two offshore exploratory blocks 5 and 6, with water depths of 1,700 and 1,800 metres, respectively. The firm will embark on drilling blocks 6 and 8 next year.The firm will operate from either Kilwa or Zanzibar not directly from Mtwara Region because block 5 is situated some 300 kms in the deep sea from the shore.
The Brazilian ambassador underscored the need to look at the possibility of foreign markets for the gas drilled from the deep sea because the quantity obtained on onshore was enough for the country's use for 50 years to come.The project is expected to earn the country enormous foreign currencies. Mr Luiz said the current power consumption for Mtwara Region was only 8 MW but even after establishment of cement and other factories will only use not more than 50 MW which could be supplied by the onshore sources.
He hence called for a venture for external markets. He also said that more firms are expected to come to explore opportunities in the construction and energy sector which was still having vast investment potentials.In Brazil, for example, hydropower constitutes about 80 per cent of the total energy which was still the cheapest source of power.
According to him, political relations between the two countries were good and in the near future five agreements on agriculture, health, livestock, HIV and child labour will be signed. The envoy hinted that a team of agriculture experts would come to Tanzania next week to explore opportunities in cashew farming.
Despite the healthy political situation between Tanzania and Brazil, Mr Luiz said, trade between the two countries was still small. It is estimated to be at around 70,000 US dollars a year particularly in precious metals.Earlier, the TSN Acting Managing Editor, Mr Gabriel Nderumaki, said 'Daily News' and its sister papers would promote the healthy relations between the two nations.
He added that since Brazil has an advanced economy and technology, it has a lot to offer to Tanzania's growth.