Friday, October 25, 2013

Travel partner warns over handling of oil/gas exploration

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.

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