Monday, July 21, 2014

How myopic oil and gas policies will doom Tanzania

By Patty Magubira, The Citizen

Tanga. University dons have warned over the risk of the current oil and gas industry development focusing on short term gains alone, saying such a trend might cause long term damage in terms of revenues, contracts and licenses given to companies as well as exports promotion.

The warning is contained in a final consultancy report on Evidence-based Research and Policy Review on Oil and Natural Gas Sector commissioned by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF Tanzania), which is implementing Oil for Development project.

“We should think of increasing domestic consumption first by establishing and building industries simultaneously while drilling and lying of pipeline are underway,” said the dons in the report seen by The Citizen.

The report was prepared by University Dons, Dr Aloyce Hepelwa, Dr Masoud Dauda and Mr Stephen Kirama.

The purpose of the Oil for Development Project’ by the WWF-TCO, which is being financed by the government of Norway, is to provide support to civil society organizations in selected countries in order to drive Resource Management, Revenue Management and Environmental Management.

The dons added that Tanzania must enhance the local economy by not only increasing domestic consumption and market, but by also stimulating domestic investments such as the number of industries that would be established or increase the number of users.

“To facilitate the consumption of the natural gas for domestic consumption, it is important to look at the prices of household equipment needed to use gas such as cooking stoves,” they pointed out.

The university dons mentioned another key issue that should be considered as an urgent need to raise public awareness on the cost effectiveness of using gas for household activities rather than other means of energy resources such as electricity and firewood.

“There is an unfounded belief that gas is dangerous to use. This should be addressed by dissemination to the grass roots on the efficient uses of gas and gas products,” they said in the report.