WHEN President Jakaya Kikwete met with the Chairman of British gas and oil company, BG Group PLC, Mr Robert Wilson, he made it clear that he would like to see the discovery of gas in the country benefit all Tanzanians.
There BG Group chairman responded by assuring the president that Tanzania has only to prepare its economy to handle a planned investment of between 10 and 20 billion US dollars in the second half of this decade.
According to a recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Tanzania could be a powerhouse in Africa in terms of the quantity of natural gas produced.
This good news is more or less a guarantee that the benefits of the country’s natural resources, would trickle down to the grassroots. More often than not, people have been wondering as to who really benefits from the many riches the country is endowed with.
With the discovery of natural gas the government and local industries have been saving money by not importing heavy furnace oil for industrial use. But we have seen it happen in many parts of the continent where discovery of resources turns out to be a curse. It is only right then that the president would like to see all Tanzanians benefitting from the gas find.
Hopefully, with the ongoing discoveries of gas, costs of living will improve and that gas would eventually not be for industrial use alone but domestic use as well and ease the cost of energy. At the moment, we are totally dependent on technology from foreign companies that come to invest in the country. For maximum benefits, we should in the least seek to have our own skilled personnel in the sector.
But while we are still in the infancy stage when it comes to gas and oil exploration, we have to make sure that the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) provides a win-win situation to both parties. We understand that investors spend huge sums of money to prospect gas and oil. But for whatever reason, investors should not be allowed to take more than they deserve, and that the gas discovered on our land should help to make a difference in the lives of Tanzanians.
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