Monday, October 28, 2013
A policy forum known as ‘CEO Roundtable-Tanzania’ (CEOrt) has strongly protested against remarks by the Minister for Minerals and Energy, Professor Sospeter Muhongo, that local businessmen are merely traders who cannot afford to buy blocks for gas or oil exploration. The organization’s members have noted that the remarks uttered by Prof. Muhongo on Wednesday that “private sectors companies are corrupt and unable to run bigger projects in the country” are likely to disintegrate the private sector in the country. They have said that, such statements were diminishing their development efforts towards nation building, bearing the fact that the sector employs about 80 percent of the country’s population. Professor Muhongo had said in his speech during the 2nd Tanzanian Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibitions which was held in Dar es Salaam for two days, and which brought together both local and foreign oil business companies to deliberate on the major prospects challenging the energy sector, that the local companies were unable to get into that serious business. One of the group’s directors, Ali Mufuruki told a press conference yesterday in Dar es Salaam that, their organization has dismissed such claims by the government leveled against private companies, and said do not bear any truth in it. In view of this they are pointing an accusing finger to the government on its negative attitude towards handling oil and gas issue in the country. He said the remarks by the minister has tarnished a good image of the private sector companies operating in the country, as some investors who works with these companies in other sectors are likely to lose and confidence with the local firms. “This is a great shame to private companies in the country which to a certain extent such remarks have tarnished a good reputation of the private companies” he said adding that, it is a disgrace indeed bearing the fact that the government has to bear all the risks to let the sector survive. However, he further noted that, Professor Muhongo delivered a statement affirming that the local private sector would not play a role in the gas block auction but instead their position would be represented through the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC). He was also worried by the President’s clarification which he issued on Friday when launching the fourth Tanzania deep offshore and Lake Tanganyika North Licensing Round 2013 to signify invitation of companies to compete in the biding process of the gas and oil exploration in the country. During the launch, the President also insisted none involvement of the private sector companies in the bidding process for being so expensive that the local companies would not afford. In view of this, however, he said their organization doubts of the government’s intention as this implies that, it doesn’t have any help either to empower the locals in oil and gas business.
He said the organization is gravely concerned and dismayed by the government’s move to proceed with the gas block auction without having a clear gas policy in place. He queried and noted that, what the government is doing is not right bearing the fact that, the country does not have a clear policy to address gas and oil management. Surprisingly he further noted these announcements were made despite requests from the private sector to postpone the auction until a suitable gas policy was in place in order to ensure acceptable local inclusion. Mufuruki is on the view of the fact that, the government should practice the deal just like what other countries are doing in the world whereby the private sector companies are involved by 50 percent. He gave an example of what is happening in USA where he said, no any company from outside the USA could be allowed to venture in business and dominate a lion share in the local market. He said adding that, this is contrary to what is being done here in Tanzania as many foreign companies are given priority of ownership. However, he said that Tanzania should emulate Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries which allows 50 percent involvements of their local companies in any joint venture business, as this is one way to empower the locals. He said none of these countries has ever segregated their private companies from getting directly involved in the exploration of their natural resources. He has however, asked the government to allow the participation of the private companies so as to play a level playing economy. “We must also be willing to learn from the numerous countries around the world that have successfully implemented policies which guarantee control the country’s natural wealth remains with the nationals”, he said adding that this is a critical to ensure that Tanzania builds a stable economy that will benefit all Tanzanians. He queried incase the TPDC which is tasked to incorporate with the private sector over the gas issue, what of if it fails like other government parastatal organizations which proved failure during the past, how will it be and yet the government also complains of having no enough expatriates to run the entire sector. However, he noted that, a sector which does not have qualified experts to run business in the newly established industry like gas and oil sector does not have a smart economy, he said adding that, the decision of the government is totally discriminative. Analyzing the government’s call that, the private sectors are not able to afford the huge expenses of the gas exploration he noted that, the issue here is not lack of money but get experience and knowledge when collaborating with the foreign companies is an added value to empower them. CEO Roundtable-Tanzania consists of 90 members who are Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of some private companies in the country who brings together a group of organizations engaged in providing policy forum and dialogue to see what is challenging in private sector development.
Friday, October 25, 2013
PRESIDENT Dr. Jakaya Kikwete yesterday told owners of the local business companies of the highly expensive charges incurred of the gas and oil exploration currently going on in the country, saying that, the deal is too much expensive for the local people and their companies to afford. Instead the president has assured them that, the government is trying by all means to make sure that, local business companies would be part of the operational system when the production of the natural reserve starts. The call by the President comes amid widespread claims that, the government favours foreign companies for the investment undertakings of the gas and oil exploration currently going on in the country. He said, the already licensed foreign companies spends approximately $ 100 million (Sh. 160 bn/-) to explore gas and oil rich reserve from a single bloc sitting in water depth of about 2 km by using highly sophisticated technology and modern equipment which an ordinary local firm cannot manage. The President said during the launch of the 4th Tanzania deep offshore and Lake Tanganyika North Licensing Round 2013. This is an event which signifies the invitation of companies to compete in the biding process of the gas and oil exploration in the country. The occasion being the first to be held in the country was organized by the Ministry of Minerals and Energy in collaboration with the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) was attended by both local and foreign oil and gas companies doing businesses in the country. Others in attendance were some invited few diplomats Regional Commissioners for Lindi, Mtwara, Ruvuma, Katavi and Mbeya including civil society groups of the people of the once troubled region of Mtwara and Lindi where natural gas has been discovered. In his speech, Dr. Kikwete dismissed the facts that, his government does not care the welfare of Tanzanians who are in dire need to engage in exploration activities noting that is not true, giving hopes to the audience that the government is underway to create conducive environment for investors and once the production starts, the local companies would be fully involved. Earlier Dr. Kikwerte explained how the exploration is done by the companies which he noted that have to incur huge expense in the activities prior to the start of the production, the money spent he clarified would be refunded to the investing company before signing an agreement on sale whereby he said the government would either get 65 percent and investors remain with 35.
He also said that, the percent rate on share on the production share might vary and be 75 for the government and 25 for the investors, adding that, this would be after the deductions are made on the expenses incurred during the exploration activities. He said the TPDC would hold all the shares on behalf oil the government and Tanzanians as a whole including local companies who later on would be required to buy shares. However, Dr. Kikwete queried people’s claims over the ownership of these shares incase it could be more appropriate if left for the Private Sector to run the business on behalf of the government and local people to clear such doubts, or otherwise have to do their own exploration and incur such expenses. He has also called upon oil and gas exploration companies to abide by the safety rules and standards to adhere to the hygienic situation around the areas whereby they engage in exploration activities. Meanwhile, hopes by individual Tanzanians to own gas blocks slated for auction were dashed off on Wednesday this week in Dar es Salaam after the Energy and Minerals ministry decided that Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) would stand in on their behalf. In an interview with journalists in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday this week, Energy and Minerals minister Prof Sospeter Muhongo said there will be no opportunity for individual Tanzanians to own the eight gas blocks due for sale because they will be represented by TPDC. According to the minister, TPDC has the mandate to represent Tanzanians in their entirety in the gas exploration process up to a later stage. He said the government will assist TPDC to run its services commercially, he said and explained that, shares will be apportioned between investors and TPDC whereby the latter will play the major role in regulating all matters pertaining to the gas sector. Meanwhile, the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) is greatly dismayed at the sidelining of locals in the auction of natural gas blocks and has proposed a framework that would ensure Tanzanians benefit from the resources.
CHIEF Executive Officer of a Dar es Salaam based local travel partner has warned the government on how it handles the much spoken issue of oil and gas natural reserve in the country saying that, it much favours foreign companies in its undertakings. Eric Mashauri expressed his fear after having noticed that, the government through the Ministry of Minerals and Energy is going astray at this time around when it deals with the investments on this precious commodity which is still at its infancy stage. He was being interviewed during a two day oil and gas meeting that brought over 600 delegates which ended on Thursday this week in Dare es Salaam. He said, the government has issued permits to many foreign companies to run with small scale exploration activities and has left local companies an aspect that he has predicted there will be no proper investment except such companies would transfer huge sums of money outside the country. He also noted that, there are some foreigners who have already started to vie for Tanzania citizenships and have opened oil companies purposely with hopes to exploit the natural gas and oil reserves in the country. However, he said adding that, this is very dangerous if the nation is mot careful at the moment, the future generation would remain the poorest when the natural reserve is finished. He has however, advised the government to welcome experts in this field to come and train the local people on how to do the business for the nation’s future benefits instead of giving them priority to handle the whole business including petty activities. On the part of his company’s operations, the CEO Mashauri has strongly blamed the government to have permitted two giant vehicle suppliers of Toyota and CMC Motors in the country to provide vehicles for oil and gas exploration and research projects. Mahauri is on the view of the fact that, the work should have been given to local car hire companies who buy such vehicles from the two companies. In desperation, he queried why this is so, and yet they hold an international license of supplying vehicles but not hiring them. In view of this however, he has noted that, this is one way of denying access of such services by local companies who are licensed by the government to deal with such services and undoubtedly divert the trend and give such tenders to foreigners. He said all tenders should be given to local companies which have been registered in the country and not foreigners who come with their companies here in the country, and once are well established are likely to transfer money back to their mother countries. He however has warned the government not to favour the foreigners and instead should empower local in everything possible so that the nation would gradually have their own experts to run own resources without depending on external aid. Hopes by individual Tanzanians to own gas blocks slated for auction were dashed off on Wednesday this week in Dar es Salaam after the Energy and Minerals ministry decided that Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) would stand in on their behalf. In an interview with journalists in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday this week, Energy and Minerals minister Prof Sospeter Muhongo said there will be no opportunity for individual Tanzanians to own the eight gas blocks due for sale because they will be represented by TPDC. According to the minister, TPDC has the mandate to represent Tanzanians in their entirety in the gas exploration process up to a later stage. When asked to verify how Tanzanians are going to be represented through TPDC, Prof Muhongo said the firms which win the tenders will work under the corporation by following the laid down regulations and enacted policies. The government will assist TPDC to run its services commercially, he said and explained that, shares will be apportioned between investors and TPDC whereby the latter will play the major role in regulating all matters pertaining to the gas sector. Meanwhile, the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) is greatly dismayed at the sidelining of locals in the auction of natural gas blocks and has proposed a framework that would ensure Tanzanians benefit from the resources. TPSF has also noted that, people should stop misleading Tanzanians that the country has no local investors capable of investing in the natural gas business.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Despite government’s efforts to end the social ill of drug trafficking across its borders, more and more Tanzanians have been arrested in connection with this illegal business outside the country. There are reports abound about a number of Tanzanians having been hanged after being caught with the drugs outside the country notably in China. According to other reports being circulated, in Hong Kong alone there are about 200 inmates from Tanzania, many of them serving long sentences in jail, while several others are awaiting completion of the hearing of drug trafficking cases with which they were charged. As a result, an unknown number of Tanzanian young men and women are languishing in some other foreign jails all over the world, having been caught acting as conduits for dangerous drugs. It is very disappointing to note that, no one among the higher government authorities has been held responsible in connection with the issue. Neither the police nor the central government has bothered much about the issue which has now tarnished the good name of the nation. The police force however, has often indicated that it works day and night to curb the menace, but it seems that its efforts are bearing no or little fruit. Tanzania’s alarming reputation as a notorious drug trafficking point has started to affect citizens travelling through other foreign international airports, news reports show with the Dar es Salaam city being the centre of drug cartels dealing with heroin, mandrax and cocaine. Nonetheless, drug trafficking remains a problem in Tanzania because of complicity from officials, Commissioner of Immigration Services Permits and Passes Dawson Mongi was recently quoted as saying by the traditional media. "You cannot fight drugs without defeating corruption in the country," Mongi said adding that, drug trafficking across the border has tarnished the country’s image. Addressing concerns that the government is not doing enough on that front, Minister for Home Affairs Emmanuel Nchimbi said recently that, the high number of drug-related arrests reflects the government's seriousness in dealing with the problem. The Minister of State in Prime Minister’s office responsible for policy, co-ordination and Parliamentary affairs William Lukuvi, said recently that, a new law to fight drug trafficking is being drafted to curb drug users and intensify traffickers. He said the country’s law is a bit relaxing as drug traffickers are fined 500,000 shillings ($309) for being found in possession of 10 billion ($6.1 million) worth of drugs. “This is nothing," Lukuvi said adding that Tanzania need to have laws that would impose stern punishments and to do away with fining people. Tanzanians have been put through the dehumanizing inspection at various international airports in the world following growing concern of the big number of young travelers from Tanzania being caught with drugs in various countries in the world. The Hong Kong security officers once noted that, Tanzanian youths are being turned into mules by drug barons in the country and this is due to weakness, lax, corrupt, unpatriotic government employees cum most of the government high ranking official including ministers, directors and government secret agent officers.
Tanzania police force has said that, one way to curb with any possible terrorist attack or theft is to install Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in places of businesses with a view to monitor people’s movements, a police spokeswoman has said. Senior Superintendent of Police, SSP Advera Senso said in a telephone interview last week that, such surveillance ICT gadgets are more helpful to intensify security against any suspects despite of their high costs. However, she has called on people and their business enterprises to ensure the installation of such gadgets as there is no way security could be maintained in an area if effective controlling measures are not taken to curb with increased malpractices such as theft or terrorism. She said that, the police force in the country has instituted a program of sensitization and awareness campaign to enlighten people the importance and use of these gadgets as they help monitor movements of the people around. The recorded movable images within a camera in a controlled room if retrieved, helps to detect the presence of a number of people who happened to be around during the time an incident occurred. The insistence by police on CCTV cameras has come three days after the US government issued a strong warning to Ugandan government to take precautions against any possible terrorist attack by Al-shabab in their country.
Tanzania's police spokeswoman Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Advera Senso
The US government’s advice is to alert Ugandan government in a move to avoid any mishaps which is likely to happen just like what happened last month when Al-Shabab terrorist group attacked a giant Westgate shopping Mall in Kenya. According to SSP Senso, the security situation in the country is good as people have been cooperating closely with the police in their communities and their understanding is good when it comes to security matter. The police spokeswoman was contacted on Wednesday this week in Dar es Salaam with a view to know how Tanzania police has so far prepared to tackle any possible terrorist attack or mass killings in a congested business area. In response, a police spokeswoman noted that, a joint concerted effort is highly needed through policing community initiatives in order to let the police perform their duties efficiently and to the highly required standards. However, she has urged the people in the country to keep on reporting to the police any suspected attempt of any malpractices or any acts which would lead to the disruption of the prevailing peace and harmony in the country.