What you need to know:
- The Party Leader, Mr Zitto Kabwe, is unhappy with the slow pace of executing such megaprojects as the $40 billion Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) that is planned to be set up in Lindi and the twin Mchuchuma Coal and Liganga Iron ole projects in Njombe
Dar es Salaam. The opposition, led by ACT Wazalendo, is unhappy with delays in the implementation of landmark projects, which it believes could end the pressing challenge of youth unemployment.
Particularly, Mr Zitto Kabwe is unhappy with the slow pace of executing such megaprojects as the $40 billion Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) that is planned to be set up in Lindi and the twin Mchuchuma Coal and Liganga Iron ole projects in Njombe.
“…we have been greatly saddened and frustrated by the delay and hesitation in implementing these two major projects that are highly beneficial to our economy and have strong linkages to many sectors,” Mr Zitto, who will soon retire from the position of the ACT Wazalendo Party leader, told the party’s National Executive Committee meeting in Dar es Salaam on Monday February 12, 2024.
He said the $40 billion LNG project would create jobs in the value chain, increase Tanzania’s foreign exchange earnings and eliminate a shortage of US dollars.
"We demand that the government stop hesitating on matters that have a great potential to transform our economy,” he said, adding that it was surprising that Tanzania imports iron worth $1 billion every year while in Ludewa, iron has been lying unutilized for more than 1,000 years now.
"The government should know that Tanzanian youth are tired of empty talk and excuses,” he said, urging the government to provide a clear schedule for the implementation of these crucial projects for the nation's economy.
Mr Kabwe’s comments come at a time when the government says it is taking steps in the execution of the projects.
In May last year, the Tanzanian government, on one side, and Shell and Equinor, on the other, signed a critical host government agreement (HGA) and an equally vital production sharing agreement.
The signing of the agreements paved the way for the companies to go ahead and push ahead with their $42 billion LNG project.
The HGA, which had lagged on for years, allows the two majors to kick off engineering work on a project that will feed about 25 trillion cubic feet per day of gas in three deep-water blocks to a 10 million to 15 million tonne per annum LNG plant on the coast at Lindi.
Jared Kuehl, Shell’s vice president for Tanzania and country chair, said on LinkedIn in May 2023: “Important negotiations with the government of Tanzania have concluded. Subject to successful completion of the assurance process over the coming weeks, we anticipate signing an HGA that covers the onshore elements of the project and a PSA that oversees its upstream component.”
He described the breakthrough deals as “a significant milestone on the long path to realising such a major project as Tanzania LNG, with the next steps involving a period of detailed engineering design work.”
Likewise, last year, the government announced it was compensating residents to pave the way for the execution of the long-waited Mchuchuma and Liganga projects.
In September 2011, China’s Sichuan Hongda Co. Ltd. inked a $3 billion deal with Tanzania to mine coal and iron ore in the country, but the project never materialised.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan is on record as having said that some Sh15.424 billion would be paid by the government to all the 1,142 residents whose land was being taken for the project.
Meanwhile, in his address to the ACT-Wazalendo National Executive Committee meeting in Dar es Salaam on Monday, February 12, 2024, Mr Kabwe also highlighted several other issues, including the need for the government to address land conflicts and border disputes between conservation areas and villages.
"In southern Tanzania, we have encountered significant complaints from farmers against pastoralists invading their land. People have died in some of these conflicts. Similarly, in pastoralist areas, we have heard complaints from citizens about their livestock being confiscated by officials from various conservation authorities,” he noted.
Mr Kabwe added; “We reiterate our proposal for the government to address this issue by establishing a presidential commission to review village and conservation area boundaries. We have proposed a commission like the one in 1991 that dealt with land issues, famously known as the Shivji Commission.”
The rising cost of living is another problem they identified.
People struggle to make ends meet, he noted, as prices of food and other essential items, transportation and construction materials increase daily.
"The government's responsibility is to ensure that citizens can afford the necessities of life by devising, enacting, and implementing policies that guarantee essential commodities such as food, clothing, and transportation are not burdensome for citizens. Our party continues to call on the government to fulfil its obligation,” he noted.