Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Raise Understanding On Extractive Industry, MPs Urged

EXPERTS have asked local politicians to raise their understanding on the extractive sector as 2014 is likely to be the year to weigh in on gas legislations and policy in Parliament.

In interviews with the 'Daily News', they said that since the gas revenue management legislations and policy have not been debated in 2013, Members of Parliament should sophisticate their understanding on the sector so that they effectively represent Tanzanians when debating the two important documents next year.

University of Dar es salaam energy economist, Dr Lenny Kasonga told 'Daily News' that Members of Parliament should bear in mind, when debating the legislations next year that the country should have a strong local content in the nascent oil and gas industry for its citizens to gain skilled manpower and a competitive supply edge.

He said the resource curse - less economic growth and more impoverished local communities despite plenty of minerals and oil - should not be part of the country despite influx of investments in the sector.

"When debating these important documents in 2014, it is important they also look at how we can build local content but without involving politics," he said. Speaking to this paper, the Managing Partner of Kibuuka Law Chambers, Mr Paul Kibuuka, said that in debating the legislation and policy, focus should be put on how locals can get jobs in supply chain and capacity building.

He said it was important that the government, operators and contractors work together to achieve a competent local supply base of human and material resources. University of Dar es salaam political scientist Bashiru Ally said that discussions of the legislation and policy by politicians should be kept away from manipulative politics, noting that a legitimate debate can easily divide local people if not handled well.

Many Risk Analysis reports released in 2013 ending tomorrow have always indicted majority Members of Parliament for example, for having little understanding of the Gas sector, yet-many reports from respected institutions have pointed the sector out as one that may impact Tanzania's economic and political life for many years to come.

Next year is when the Gas Management Bill will be passed. A lecturer at Open University Mr Emmanuel Mallya said that Members of Parliament should use this time to build a more sophisticated understanding of the sector when the important debate starts. He said political leaders should have the strength to pay attention to detail and be able to break down the complexities of such a sector imminently important to the country.

Tanzania continues to witness major changes in the gas sector, something witnessed by the Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Minerals when they met with various licensed and unlicensed stakeholders early this year.

The sector is also the main generator of electricity currently in use in Tanzania. Through the use of gas from the Songosongo project over the past six years, industrialists say the government has been able to make savings of $2.5 billion that would have otherwise gone into diesel imports for electricity generation.

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