Private sector criticises govt on gas policy

Members of the business community have criticised the newly released Natural Gas Policy saying it still does not give room to Tanzanians to participate fully in the industry’s development.

Grouped under the apex body – the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) – local investors yesterday urged the government to come up with a stand-alone local content policy which will detail how Tanzanian companies will be empowered to participate in the entire gas production process.

TPSF chairman, Mr Reginald Mengi, told journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the policy document has just two pages that detail how the participation of the locals in gas activities will be contrary to standard practice in other countries.

He named some of the countries as including Norway, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Brazil, Algeria, Libya and Oman.

Citing Trinidad and Tobago, Mr Mengi said in 2004, the country’s Prime Minister, Mr Patrick Manning, presented a 14-page local content and participation policy and framework.

“Why have these countries decided to formulate strong stand-alone local content policies? It is our belief that it is due to the fact that the stand-alone local content policy has been found to be key driving tool in achieving local participation and building the competitiveness of the local supplier base,” argued Mr Mengi.

The proposed stand-alone policy should be developed by a local consultancy firm.

According to TPSF, the local content policy needs to cover exploration, development and value-addition activities so as to ensure that local participation is fully explored and achieved within entire gas value chain.

“We cannot stress enough the importance for Tanzania to formulate stand-alone local content policy,” said Mr Mengi.

He also said it will simply be a disaster for Tanzania to engage further in this new gas industry without such a critical policy in place.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Felix Lazaro from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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