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Prepare for gas economy, Kikwete tells Tanzanians

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by Saint Ivuga, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. Saint Ivuga

    Saint Ivuga JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]Prepare for gas economy, Kikwete tells Tanzanians[/h] [​IMG]Share [​IMG] Bookmark [​IMG]Print [​IMG]Email Rating
    [​IMG] British gas and oil firm BG Group plans to step up its presence in gas exploration in Tanzania by investing $500 million in the country this year, the government said.
    By Frank Kimboy (email the author)

    Posted Saturday, August 4 2012 at 01:00
    In Summary
    The country could join the ranks of natural gas suppliers in five months time, when the actual drilling starts officially.

    Monitor Correspondent

    The government is taking all steps necessary to ensure Tanzanians benefit when the country becomes one of the leading gas suppliers in five years’ time, President Jakaya Kikwete said on Thursday.

    But the goodies are not expected to come easily, and a great deal of work will have to be done to boost the capacity of the government and the people to make the most of the natural resource. According to the president, the government is working on how to ensure that Tanzanians can take part meaningfully in the gas trade.

    “We need to have patriotic experts who will be able to deal with these big oil companies because we will need to know if what they will be giving us is what we will deserve,” said the president. Mr Kikwete was speaking at a meeting with editors at State House in Dar-es-Salaam on Thursday in his customary end of the month address to the nation. Tanzania could join the ranks of natural gas suppliers in five months’ time, when the actual drilling starts officially.

    In the meantime, the government has been learning from the experiences of other countries that have benefited from natural gas. The president reiterated his government’s commitment to addressing problems in the health and education sectors, which have been plagued by a series of strikes and played down claims that his administration has snubbed the all-important sectors. He used the opportunity to appeal to striking teachers to return to the negotiating table. His call came as the teachers’ strike entered its third day.

    The teachers are demanding higher salaries and a number of allowances. The Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU), which has called the strike, has also expressed its willingness to hold talks with the government.

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    The president dismissed claims that the government does not appreciate the role of teachers but added that the government could not meet the salary and benefit demands due to a limited budget. “If we agree to increase the teachers’ salaries by 100 per cent and allowances for science and arts teachers by 55 and 50 per cent respectively, the government wage bill will be around Sh6.55 trillion while our domestic revenue is Sh8 trillion,” he said. “You can see what will be left for development activities,” he added.

    The president also spoke about recent doctors’ strike, dismissing claims that his government has neglected the health sector. His administration has made huge investments in the sector, he said, and the budget allocation to the health sector has risen from TSh256 billion to over TSh1 trillion in the past three years. He also distanced the government from the recent kidnap and torture of Dr Ulimboka Steven.

    Responding to a question as to why the culprits in the Radar scandal had not been taken to court, President Kikwete said his government does not have the powers to do so since the British Serious Fraud Office (SFO) cleared BAE of fraud.

    “On which charges will we send them to court since SFO which investigated the issue cleared BAE of any fraud?” the President asked. He denied claims that his office was protecting the owners of Kagoda company, which reportedly looted millions of shillings from the External Payment Arrears