Oil and gas exploration industry is a fast growing sector. A proposal has been put forward in Tanzania, to cancel licensing for this industry for the next 10 years, so that the country can develop the infrastructure to accommodate this fast growing industry.
Mr Zitto Kabwe, the Parliamentary Public Organisation Accounts Committee (POAC) Chairman, stated that there are still many things to be done, if Tanzania has to take advantage of the full potential of this industry. Minister for Energy and Minerals also said that the government will not be issuing new licenses, ahead of the Fourth Licensing Round in Texas.
This is a commendable stand by the government. The oil and gas exploration industry requires huge investments and an expert labour force, which is not available in Tanzania. Only a handful who have been trained abroad can take up positions in this industry. Local universities and colleges have not been able to produce a suitable labour force for this industry.
The country is currently taking many measures for socio-economic development. To sustain these measures and have positive results, it is imperative that priority is given on developing internal potential, through training explorers, scientists, engineers and technicians for the role of taking up key positions in the industry.
Currently, only multinational companies are running the show. In future, the country has no say in the harnessing of its natural resources, in such a scenario. Thus it is imperative that the government resists all pressure from donors and developers to issue licences and maintain a firm stance.