23 May 2013

Tanzania: Muhongo Says All Set for Mtwara - Dar Gas Pipeline Implementation

Dodoma — CONSTRUCTION of a gas pipeline to Dar es Salaam from Mtwara will be implemented as planned with consideration on it benefiting locals in Mtwara and Lindi, the Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo has said.

Prof Muhongo told the National Assembly while tabling his ministry's 2013/14's budget estimates that the government has a good plan for residents in the areas where the natural gas has been found but would also ensure that the nation benefits as well.

He noted that feasibility study for the project worth 1,960bn/- and payment of compensation to people in the areas where the pipe will be laid is complete. "Preliminary stages for the construction work have started.

As of now two water wells with the capacity of pumping 50 cubic meters per hour have been drilled, the water from these wells will be utilized in cleaning natural gas facilities in Madimba area and for public consumption," he said.

He added that various equipment for the construction of workers' houses have been imported since April, this year and the construction work would start soon.

Prof Mhongo also noted that various natural gas processing factories will be built in the areas pointing out that Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda will in the next week lay a foundation stone for the construction of Dangote Cement Factory of which construction has begun.

The minister added that a 400MW power plant will be built in Mtwara and a 220kV transmission line to connect the region with Ruvuma Region will be constructed.

"Procedures of acquiring title deeds for industrial parks are underway where industries that use natural gas will be constructed, such industries will create employment opportunities and increase government revenue," he said.

He added that to date, some 41.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas have been discovered in the country which is far beyond the amount of oil discovered in the neighboring Uganda.

In another development, Prof Muhongo noted that in 2012/13 the ministry has completed preparing the Natural Gas Policy and various stakeholders including residents of Mtwara and Lindi have contributed their views.

He added that the draft has now been forwarded to relevant authorities while the ministry works on natural gas implementation strategy. Debating the ministry's budget estimates, Ms Anne Kilango Malecela (Same East-CCM) cautioned Tanzanians over influences from some people with ill motives as natural gas discovery was a blessing for the country.

"Natural Gas will take this nation to a middle income country, if we refuse developments being made in utilisation of this natural resource the country will not progress and will remain poor," she said.

She added that countries like Trinidad and Tobago have succeeded in transforming their economy and that of its people because of benefits from natural gas economy.

She was saddened by chaos that have thronged some parts of the country where natural gas has been discovered, calling on government to give priority to people in those area especially those who qualifies for employment.

Mr Andrew Chenge (Bariadi-West) noted that the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act 1980 requires that all natural resources discovered in the country benefit the entire nation.

"The 1980's Act is good and it has attracted investors, the government should adhere to the law," he said. Mr Khalifa Suleiman Khalifa (Gando-CUF) stressed on the importance of increased efforts by the government in educating people in Mtwara and Lindi and help them understand how beneficial natural gas will be to them.

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