A group of daring local business operators have taken on the mantle to lead in the promotion of the local content in the oil and gas industry through promotion of job and business opportunities for nationals and local businesses in the sector.
They teamed up to form an Association of Tanzania Oil and Gas Service Providers (ATOGS) that will lobby for and promote the participation of indig enous Tanzanian individuals and bodies corporate in the provision of services to the highly lucrative oil and gas sector.
The association that was launched by the Vice-President, Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan in Dar es Salaam last Friday, represents a group of accomplished professionals and business entities seeking to provide services to the sector whose prospects have been boosted by the impending gas boom and planned construction of 1,443 kilometres oil pipeline from Hoima Uganda to Tanga port.
With potential natural gas reserves of 57.25 trillion cubic feet, Tanzania is expected to become a major gas exporter to the lucrative Asian markets in the near future.
Preparations for construction a 30 billion US dollars onshore LNG export terminal in Lindi Region are currently under way where the government will team up with major investors in the industry-BG Group, which has been acquired by Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil, Exxon Mobil and Ophir Energy for the terminal.
The government also developed a local content policy for the oil and gas sector which seeks to ensure the resources generate further benefits to the economy through linkage to other sectors.
The main objective of the policy is to provide guiding principles for maximum engagement of local content and local participation in development of the oil and gas industry to ensure optimal benefits to Tanzanians.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the Vice-President said the association came at the most opportune time where prospects of construction of an oil pipeline from Uganda to Tanga port had increased prospects of the oil and gas industry.
She promised government coopera tion to support the initiative and urged other companies and individuals with potential to provide services in the sector to join the association and take advantage of unfolding opportunities in the sector to promote the local content.
She called on the members of the business community to support government’s efforts to improve business environment in Tanzania by not concealing problems of red tapes and corruption adding addressing address problems that make doing business in Tanzania more difficult required joint efforts.
“You should tell us when you encounter problems of red-tapes. You should tell us also when you face corruption. We are working hard to weed them out,” said Ms Hassan.
They called on them to promote ethics and integrity in business practices as a way of building trust of customers, employees and the general public.
The Chairman of the association, Ambassador Ombeni Sefue, who is former Chief Secretary, said the initiative came at the most opportune time when the government and the business communities are thinking on how best Tanzanians would benefit from gas resources.
The Vice- Chairman of the association, Abdulsamad Abdulrahim said the idea behind the formation of the association came from a visit to Uganda where the founder of the association met Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni and officials from a similar set up in Uganda.
He said they were excited to learn how service providers in Uganda were well organised and the manner in which they were benefitting from the opportunities in the sector.
He said ATOGS would encourage Tanzanians to seek to provide services in the lucrative sector and seek capital from the banking sector and other sources to make sure they benefit from local natural resources.
“ATOGS will encourage Tanzania to bid for service provision in the industry. It will encourage them to access capital from various sources. It will empower Tanzanians with technical knowhow to enable them get trade and employment opportunities from the sector,” he said.
The Association of Tanzania Oil and Gas Service Providers (ATOGS) represents a group of accomplished professionals and capable business entities aiming to provide a range of services that include, but are not limited to, ancillary, legal, research, and technical services for the fast growing Tanzanian oil and gas industry.
It will be of benefit to about 100 companies and businesses including in the banking sector, farming, insurance, transporting, clearing, warehousing, catering, food production, construction and law firms.