11 July 2014

Tanzania: Activists Stress Their Oversight Role in Extractive Sector

CIVIL Society Organisations (CSOs) have described their oversight role on the extractive sector as inevitable if the natural resources are to benefit the country's economy.

Participants to a benchmarking exercise for CSOs on the natural resources charter that Uongozi Institute hosted said for legitimate, truthful and meaningful extraction of resources, CSOs must be involved.

Lawyers Environmental Action Team (LEAT) Executive Director, Mr Rugemeleza Nshala said since civil society speaks for the people, it had the role of oversight in policy formulation and implementation.

The CSOs said there was need for a new dispensation in the management of natural resources so the country would be the primary beneficiary.

He however said that the 12 precepts of the natural resources charter had not provided mechanisms for redressing past mistakes in the sector and seemed to be letting bygones be bygones.

"If you don't have just agreements, you can only come up with a new dispensation in the sector," he said, adding, "We should come up with a new dispensation and see that our country is the primary beneficiary in the management of oil and gas sectors."

Executive Director of Participation Agenda 2000, Mr Moses Kulaba, said it was important for the industry to be well coordinated as it had various crosscutting issues that went beyond one ministry along the industry chain.

Standing Committee on Economics, Justice and Integrity coordinator, Ms Grace Masalakulangwa, said once the charter was fully domesticated, subsequent governments should sustain the good proposals that will already have been implemented. She said what they ultimately came up with should be translated into action.

Addressing members of CSOs earlier, Uongozi Institute Chief Executive Officer, Dr Joseph Semboja, said discovery of more significant hydrocabons gave people renewed hope with so much research and stakeholders already involved.

He said the charter would help the government manage the natural resources within expectations of the populace. "Through this process, we want to see where we stand.

The process will help us understand our position and be able to work out our next direction," he said Yesterday's meeting aimed at getting views of CSOs. It was facilitated by Revenue Watch Institute Senior Regional Associate, Mr Silas Olan'g.

When more significant gas production starts after 2022, government revenue has the potential to grow to as much as 2.5 billion US dollars per year, an amount that far exceeds foreign aid flows.

Yesterday's forum highlighted the need for good governance and transparency in overseeing natural resources that include minerals, oil and gas.

Recognising the challenges that come with the industry, the Chief Secretary, Ombeni Sefue, last year tasked UONGOZI Institute to lead a project that aims to improve natural resource revenue allocation decisions so that they accelerate human development gains. Entitled the "Tanzania Natural Resource Charter Process," the work is drawing extensively on the Natural Resource Charter (NRC) framework as a tool for policy analysis and decision making. The Charter also notes that resource governance requires decision makers to be accountable to an informed public and that the government should encourage efficient exploration and production operations and allocate rights transparently. Among others, it urges that tax regimes and contractual terms should enable the government to realise the full value of its resources consistent with attracting necessary investment. It should be robust to changing circumstances and that the government should pursue opportunities for local benefits and account for, mitigate and offset the environmental and social costs of resource extraction projects.


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