The fear among Tanzanian government officials of repeating past mistakes in mining pacts has been cited as the main cause of delays in starting negotiations with companies seeking to extract liquefied natural gas in the south.
The companies and the government are yet to sign a commercial framework agreement, with Dar es Salaam saying it needs time to make the right decisions for the benefit of the country.
Officials are cautious not to bind the government to deals that may prove costly or loss-making in the future.
Energy Minister Dr Medard Kalemani said the government must be “content with the kind of agreements that we as a country are going into before signing the deal.”
Equinor, a Norwegian company with interests in the sector has said it is ready to start talks with the Dar es Salaam administration on developing an LNG project based on a deepwater offshore discovery.
The framework for the proposed $30 billion LNG plant is expected to outline and define all the attributes of the project, who is involved, the prices and all appropriate allocations.
Gas firms say concrete investment decisions are on hold, awaiting the outcome of the negotiations between them and the government.
Equinor Tanzania has been given the green light to proceed with negotiations with the government for the development of Block 2 offshore Tanzania.
“The host government agreement (HGA) negotiations between Equinor and the government will set out the long-term framework for the LNG plant, which is not a part of the original production sharing agreement, but the decision to build the LNG plant has not yet been reached,” said senior vice president and country manager for Equinor Tanzania, Mette H. Ottøy.
“We have progressed our planning to a point where this is the next logical step and we are very happy that the government of Tanzania agrees with this.”
Royal Dutch Shell Plc, which drilled 18 wells out of which 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas has been discovered, said their focus now is the host government agreement, which will set out the legislative, regulatory and fiscal terms of the project.
Shell and Ophir Energy hold interests in Blocks 1 and 4, while Equinor holds Block 2 offshore Tanzania with a 65 per cent stake in partnership with ExxonMobil, which holds 35 per cent.
The national oil company, Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation has an offer of 10 per cent stake.
Tanzania has been exploring for natural gas for more than 50 years, and started talks for further development in 2016.
“Even if we take 40 years to finalise, the agreements we ratify should benefit the country and its people. That’s the government’s stand,” said Dr Kalemani.
Tanzania is blessed with an abundance of natural deposits, minerals, oil and gas that could potentially transform the country’s economy if utilised effectively, but the sector has been clouded with uncertainties, suspicion and vague contracts that have prevented the country from developing at the speed it should have.
Since 2015, the extractives sector has seen a series of events ranging from amending laws to firing and charging of government officials involved in shady deals.
Three teams conducted investigations that indicted top government officials. President John Magufuli also dissolved the board of Tanzania Mineral Audit Agency sacked the chief executive Dominick Rwekaza, and asked that its staff be investigated.
At the same time, the private firm Tanzanite One paid the government an undisclosed amount in uncollected taxes plus a penalty and fenced off the mines to prevent revenue leakages through smuggling.
Two presidential teams on the gold and diamond sectors estimated Tanzania to have lost over $620 million in royalties of undeclared minerals.
Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
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Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
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Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
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