Thursday, October 1, 2015

Openness will help in managing oil sector

To a much larger extent, Tanzania’s oil and gas sector is still in its exploration stage. However, there are already high hopes among Tanzanians, who believe that their lives are soon to drastically change for the better because of the two natural resources.

There are those who think that poverty will be history to every Tanzanian, thanks to the discovery of oil and gas in the country. Politicians are heightening people’s expectations further with promises and pledges based on the country’s “oil and gas wealth”. Tanzanians also believe that they lost enough in the mining sector and the mistake should not be repeated.

But studies suggest that most Tanzanians lack correct information on the recent gas discoveries, which raises concern over whether there is enough openness and transparency in the sector.

The new database entitled ‘Tanzania Oil and Gas Almanac’, which was launched recently, should be a gateway to information related to the extractive industry which includes the oil and gas sector.

However, the team that organised the information complains that the biggest challenge that makes it difficult to update the almanac is the failure by government bodies and agencies to reveal information timely.

The government and other mining stakeholders should know that transparency is the only effective way of involving people and increasing awareness. An ignorant public will normally rely on rumours and the government, while investors are seen as guilty of concealing parties. That is because they don’t know the revenue distribution structure between their government and the investors.

The uninformed will continue to believe that, as individuals, they will automatically grow rich just because their country is awash with resources.

Government ministries, departments and agencies should change their mindset and strive harder to increase people’s awareness on what obtains in the extractive sector.

Having relevant information will be most useful to Tanzanians who are keen on exploring opportunities that are available in the oil and gas sector.

POOR HYGIENE WILL FINISH US

We reported yesterday that cholera, a deadly water-borne disease, is spreading to upcountry areas. Upcountry regions recording new infections are those whose residents have high interaction with “people coming from Dar es Salaam”. Latest reports indicate that from the time the earliest cases of cholera were recorded in August, it has killed at least 36 people in the commercial capital.

Why should our bustling, most sophisticated city be among the dirtiest and hence, the culprit in the spread of infectious diseases? The answer is simple: we have made dirtying our environment a most natural thing to do!

And the sad thing is that we are, in a way, sanctioned by authorities which turn a blind eye to city polluters. Self-appointed garbage collectors pick up stuff from one homestead and dump it at the doorstep of a neighbour!

For us to have healthy surroundings free from bugs and all manner of hamrful bacteria, we must all strive to be clean and remain clean. Short of that, our leading city will remain with the dubious distinction of being listed among the dirtiest in Africa and a cholera hot spot in Tanzania.