Tanzania to Throw Weight Behind Natural Gas Use

DODOMA — THE government has assured the public that it is taking affirmative action to ensure the country's natural gas benefits Tanzanians and contributes significantly to the nation's economic growth.

The Deputy Minister for Energy, Ms Judith Kapiga gave the assurance in Parliament yesterday when legislators, led by Josephat Gwajima ( CCM-Kawe), who sought the government's response on plans on the table to ensure Dar es Salaam residents benefit from the natural gas.

Mr Gwajima, in his basic question, sought answers from the government on when it will lay natural gas pipelines in Dar es Salaam to avail cooking energy to households.

Responding to the question, the deputy minister said the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), in collaboration with TAQA Dalbit company, is carrying out research of natural gas demand, including identifying routes where pipelines can be laid to supply gas to the houses in Dar es Salaam.

According to the deputy minister, the research is expected to be completed in June 2024, and its findings will help the government to come up with an explicit programme that will consider challenges related to urban planning in Dar es Salaam.

The deputy minister said the private sector is highly encouraged to invest in natural gas supply infrastructure in various parts of the country.

However, the deputy minister said TPDC continues with the implementation of various natural gas supply projects in Dar es Salaam.

According to Ms Kapinga, TPDC has connected a total of 880 houses to natural gas through pipelines in Dar es Salaam, of which 226 are at Sinza, 115 at Mikocheni, 344 at Kurasini, and 155 at Mwenge Mlalakuwa and University of Dar es Salaam.

She said the plan in the near future is to connect 10,000 houses to natural gas, as part of the government efforts to avail the cooking energy.

The deputy minister further said TPDC has laid a 12.4-Kilometre gas pipeline from Mwenge to Mbezi in Dar es Salaam along Bagamoyo Road, with outlets to allow more houses to be connected to it.

"As we speak, two industries and six hotels have been connected to the pipeline at the Mbezi Beach area, and more customers will be connected to the gas pipeline," the deputy minister said.

Some MPs, who stood up for the supplementary questions, raised concern on the implementation of the programme that involves the promotion of gas use in the country as an alternative source of cooking energy, saying the high cost of cylinders and the gas itself will thwart efforts.

Special Seat MP Esther Matiko, on her part, sought an opinion from the government on the possibility of considering introducing subsidies for gas to help rural communities, given the fact that the majority cannot afford its price.

However, Ms Kapinga allayed the fear, saying the government has a strategy to ensure rural communities turn to gas as a source of cooking energy.

The promotion of gas use forms part of the efforts meant to conserve the environment.

Presiding over the launch of the Africa Women Clean Cooking Support Programme (AWCCSP), which was one of the sideline events of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December last year, President Samia said clean cooking energy is the heart of climate change mitigation for inclusive sustainable development in Africa.

The President said the urgency for fostering clean cooking fuel was rooted from the fact that 80 per cent of Sub-Saharan Africa's households use wooden biomass energy which hurts the environment and health.

Dr Samia expounded that such a portion of wooden biomass energy use has been culminating in deforestation amounting to 3.9 million hectares of forest in Africa between 2010 and 2020, a situation that retards the continent's efforts on cutting carbon emission (CO2).

Dr Samia said the wooden biomass energy has been also leading to women and girls' health problems after prolonged inhalation of thick fumes from firewood.

She said it is against that background that the AWCCSP is designed to solve the problems about loss of biodiversity.

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