THE Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) and Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) have entered into an agreement that will see the development of a 10 hectare Mtwara Freeport zone.
This agreement is the first phase of the development of a 110 hectare Mtwara Freeport area that has been designated by the government for investment purposes.
Specifically, the 10 hectares will be developed into what is called Oil Field Supply Base, where various companies will be allocated land to set up infrastructure needed to service companies now engaging in oil and gas exploration in Mtwara Region.
This Oil Field Supply Base is envisioned to be the first and a unique one not only in Tanzania but also for the East, Southern African countries.
The milestone agreement was signed over the weekend in Dar es Salaam by the EPZA Director General, Dr Adelhelm Meru and the TPA Ag Director General, Eng. Madeni Kipande and witnessed by the Minister of Transport, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe and the Deputy Minister, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Mr Gregory Teu.
Dr Mwakyembe said during the event that the development marks the beginning of an opportunity for companies from all over the world to come and invest in Mtwara Region, to serve firms now engaging in oil and gas exploration in Mtwara as well as the Eastern and Southern Africa region as well.
The minister said several multinational companies are ready to invest in the area. He urged concerned authorities to speed up the necessary preparations that are required for the companies that wish to invest in the area.
"I urge necessary authorities to finalise necessary preparations so that investors can start their work," he said.
He said before that some of those companies were operating from South Africa and Mombasa, Kenya and that their work will now be simplified. Minister Teu said that this is a positive development for Tanzania's economy.
"Mtwara and Tanzania is opening up," he said, adding that after starting operations, employment will be created and the government will increase its tax base.
On his part, Dr Meru said this is milestone development for Tanzania since the base will serve all East and Southern African countries that will be engaging in oil and gas exploration and later production.
He explained that the coming of the multinational companies that will serve oil and gas exploration firms in Mtwara will greatly help stimulating other sectors in the region such as hotels and agriculture.
Some of the companies that are ready to invest in the 10 hectres Oil Field Supply Base are Schlumberger, Weatherford and Halliburton International Inc from the United States of America; Lena, FFF (T), Alpha group and Queensway from Dubai and the United Kingdom; Altus Tanzania Ltd from Singapore; Tans Ocean Industries & Services Ltd from Dubai and Intershore Tanzania Ltd from South Africa.