Archive for Miscellany

KAGERA EARTHQUAKE

An earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale struck on September 10th in Kagera region, in the far north-west of the country. Reports vary on the precise extent of damage caused, but at least 19 people died as a result, and over 500 were injured, the majority in and around the town of Bukoba or in Missenyi District to the north. Over 2,000 buildings were destroyed and thousands more were damaged. Damage and deaths were also reported in neighbouring Uganda, though the effects of the quake there were smaller.

The Kagera regional commissioner, Major General Salum Kijuu, described the quake as a “major disaster. … We have never seen anything like this before … this is the first time in history that an earthquake has caused so much damage and loss of life in Tanzania.”

“Thousands of people who have been left homeless after this earthquake are being sheltered in schools, while we try to mobilise tents to accommodate them,” he added.

The government quickly established a response fund and encouraged public donations, with around TSh 5bn raised within four weeks. This includes contributions both from within and outside the country. Significant donations came were provided by the business and media tycoon, Reginald Mengi, (TSh 110m), the Chinese embassy in Dar es Salaam (TSh 100m), Mohamed Enterprises Limited (TSh 100m), Tanzania Breweries Limited (TSh 100m), and several oil marketing companies.

A particularly generous donation came from the government of India: TSh 545m. The Indian ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Sandeep Arya, read a message to President Magufuli from India’s Prime Minister Mahendra Modi. In the letter, Mr Modi said he and people in India “pray for patience among families which have lost their loved ones. We are assuring them that we are together with our friends in Tanzania especially during this hard time.”

There was criticism later in parliament that some aspects of the government’s response had been slow, with less than 20% of the funds raised having been spent by the end of October.

There were criticisms too of the country’s preparedness for such disasters. “The nation faces a huge problem with regard to disaster management funding and other challenges. Instead, we’re developing a culture of fund-raising even in areas that the government is required to pick the bill,” said Tanzania Human Right Defenders Coalition (THRDC) national coordinator, Mr Onesmo Olegurumwa. “The donated [funds] will help in addressing the immediate problems on the ground, but the government should now start to build its own capacity as well.”

President Magufuli also had to move quickly to prevent some from taking advantage of the quake. According to a statement from his office: “The President has revoked the appointment of Kagera Regional Administrative Secretary and Bukoba Municipal Council Executive Director after he learnt that the two opened a bank account which bears the same name as the one which was opened by the government.” The statement explained that they intended to use the account to collect money for their own benefit. (The Citizen, Daily News, The Guardian)

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MURDERS

Three separate incidents involving brutal murders shocked Tanzania in the second half of 2016.

First, in late August, when tensions were already high due to a verbal standoff between the police and opposition leaders in Dar es Salaam, four police officers were shot dead by gunmen riding motorcycles outside a bank on the outskirts of the city. A shootout took place a few days later in the village of Vikundu in Mkuranga district to the south of Dar es Salaam, in which the police battled with the alleged bandits for 6 hours, according to news reports. Fourteen “bandits” were shot dead, along with one senior police officer, and some members of the group were reportedly captured.

“We started hearing gunshots from 2am on Friday. We thought that armed bandits had raided our village, but the gunshots continued uninterrupted until daybreak,” one Vikundu villager told The Guardian. “Most of the villagers could not dare come out of their houses. Shops and food-stalls remained closed. Everything was at a standstill,” said another.

The reasons for the apparently targeted initial murder of the four police officers remain unclear, and the police have released very little information following the events in Mkuranga.

A few weeks later, on October 1st, two soil scientists and a driver of the Arusha-based Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) were killed while conducting research in Dodoma Rural District. George Mzuri, a local government representative in the area, said the researchers had arrived at the village for their work but did not report to the local government authorities there. “They later lost their way and when they tried to ask, one woman suspected them to be vampires and raised an alarm,” Mr Mzuri explained.

According to reports, the news spread rapidly in the village, fuelled further by a pastor at the Christian Family Church in the village who used the church’s public address system to inform the villagers that there was a raid by ‘vampires.’ A large group of villagers headed to the researchers’ vehicle, attacking the victims with traditional weapons and setting them ablaze. Thirteen people have been charged with murder in connection with the case.

Finally, in early December, seven bodies of unidentified men in their 20s or 30s were discovered floating in the Ruvu river. The bodies were wrapped in polythene bags filled with rocks. Acting Director of Criminal Investigations, Robert Boaz, confirmed that doctors conducted post-mortem examinations on the bodies before they were buried.

There is no suggestion that these three sets of killings are in any way connected.

Opposition leaders questioned whether the police were according sufficient effort to the Ruvu river case, and to another that arose at the same time: the disappearance of Chadema advisor Ben Saanane. Mr Saanane, the policy and research advisor to Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe, was last seen on November 18. Chadema’s chief legal officer Tundu Lissu told journalists that Mr Saanane had received death threats from unknown individuals and reported it to the police.

The Minister of Home Affairs, Mwigulu Nchemba, directed the police in the country to effectively deal with all sorts of crime that pose threat to the peace, security and cultural values of Tanzania. He said terrorism, homosexuality, killings and armed robbery cannot be tolerated.

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TANZANIA & MOROCCO

by David Brewin

The main event in the diplomatic calendar in Tanzania recently has been the three-day State Visit of King Mohammed VI of Morocco accompanied by a large delegation from October 24th, 2016.

From the Moroccan point of view, the aim was to step up support for this country to re-join the African Union (AU), from which it parted company some years ago, following the recognition by all African states of the Sahrawi Arab Republic, as the legitimate successor to the former Spanish protectorate of Morocco.

The withdrawal of Spain from all but two small enclaves in Morocco has been the subject of repeated tensions between the AU and Morocco ever since Morocco seized most of the country the country in the 1970s following the end of the Spanish Protectorate. President Nyerere had been a staunch opponent of Morocco’s actions in the region, and personally led diplomatic efforts to reached a negotiated settlement in the 1980s that culminated in Morocco’s departure from the OAU. As recently as 2013, Tanzania’s position remained largely unchanged, with Foreign Minister Bernard Membe urging the Moroccan government to return to the negotiating table and conduct a long-promised referendum on the region’s future.

From the current Tanzanian point of view, the Government was happy to sign 21 agreements in such areas as agriculture, natural gas, energy, minerals, science and technology, tourism, insurance and export processing zones.

The Moroccan Monarch promised to support Tanzania’s renewable energy sector, private partnerships and the tourism sector.

The King asked if he could extend his visit by one night, during which he visited a national park. The newly re-established Air Tanzania Limited will also have permission to launch direct flights between Dar es Salaam and Casablanca.

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MISCELLANY

UN award for gender rights activist

Rebeca Gyumi


Rebeca Gyumi, the founder and executive director of Msichana Initiative, has won the UNICEF Social Change Award for her work fighting child marriages in the country, alongside two other winners. The Msichana Initiative won a landmark case in July this year after the High Court ruled that two sections of the Marriage Act were unconstitutional.

Miss Gyumi said changing the law was one step towards ending child marriages in Tanzania, but called for a wider campaign to change inhuman acts against children. “I would like to dedicate this award to all girls in Tanzania and every girl around the world who escaped child marriage in search of freedom. You are my true motivation,” she said.

Solar eclipse
A rare annular solar eclipse was witnessed in in Mbeya and Njombe regions on September 1st, attracting thousands of Tanzanians and international visitors. The event lasted for close to three hours, during which time the air went very cold, according to local reports.

Mbeya Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr Amos Makalla, told reporters the event had “attracted many people, including scientists, researchers, students, teachers and other people to witness how the sun’s disk changes to a ring and it has been beneficial to students who have been learning about solar eclipse theoretically.”

The eclipse was also visible elsewhere in the country – including as far away as Mwanza – though less dramatically.

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ENERGY & MINERALS

by Roger Nellist

Tanzania’s Gas Master Plan – and the big challenges for LNG
The Ministry of Energy and Minerals unveiled in December 2016 the Government’s Natural Gas Utilisation Master Plan (2016-2045). With about 55 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas so far discovered in the southern coastal and offshore areas of Tanzania, this is the strategic plan intended to transform Tanzania into a major global gas producer and exporter, which in turn will boost economic and social development in the country.

TA115 summarised recent efforts to establish a large liquefied natural gas (LNG) project at Lindi. Now, the Master Plan identifies Japan, China, South Korea and India as the major potential export markets for Tanzanian LNG. These are the countries where most of the growth in demand for gas is expected over coming decades. Yet, the plan acknowledges a real danger: “Despite expected growth in demand, it is likely that there will be market volatility for LNG worldwide due to current developments in the US, Australia and Mozambique. Hence, the market may be very challenging for new upcoming projects like Tanzania”.

Mozambique, for example, has discovered reserves of gas three times larger than Tanzania’s and also is considered to be more advanced with its gas utilisation plans. Moreover, international energy experts forecast that the global LNG market will remain over-supplied and plagued by low gas prices at least until the start of the next decade.

The Tanzanian LNG project faces other challenges too. The Minister of Energy and Minerals, Professor Sospeter Muhongo, recently indicated that the Government would invest some US$30 billion in the project, including for the construction of up to 200 kms of gas pipelines from the offshore discoveries to the LNG plant. He cautioned though that funding such a huge investment would not be easy (commentators point to Tanzania’s deteriorating external debt position and narrow domestic tax base as particular sources of concern) and that the project could take many years to materialise. Moreover, the commercial partners in the project have yet to make a final investment decision.

Accordingly, Tanzania’s Natural Gas Utilisation Master Plan acknowledges that piping some of the gas to neighbouring countries may be a more realistic way of commercialising the country’s natural gas reserves, as well as ensuring that the domestic Tanzanian market is well served. Even these options will not be easy. The Plan states: “Considering that the market for natural gas is scattered throughout the country and beyond, investments into local and regional transmission pipelines are proposed arbitrarily to be done in phases of five year periods”. Depending on their economic viability, pipelines would be built initially from Dar to Mwanza, Dar to Arusha and Mtwara to Njombe. This could be followed in a second phase by a pipeline from Morogoro to Mbeya and, eventually in a third phase, Sumbawanga, Tabora, Kigoma, Kagera and Mara would be supplied.

The Master Plan estimates that Tanzania’s domestic demand for gas over the next 30 years will amount to 32.5 tcf, with 8.8 tcf being used to generate electricity. It signals that over the same three decades 3.1 tcf or even more could be exported by pipeline to neighbouring countries.

Tanzanian stake in Ugandan oil refinery
Arrangements are being finalised for the construction of the pipeline to carry Ugandan crude oil through northern Tanzania to the Indian Ocean export terminal that will be built at Tanga. Construction work is expected to commence in mid-2017 and be completed in 2020.

In a complementary move, Minister Muhongu announced recently that Tanzania will invest in the new oil refinery that is to be built at Hoima in Uganda. Tanzania will take an 8% equity stake, which will cost it about US$150 million. The refinery is to be built in two stages and will reach a processing capacity of 60,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The Ugandan Government invited all EAC member States to participate in the venture, up to 8% each, and Muhongu said that Tanzania is determined to take its full share. Tanzania’s own refinery – the Italian joint venture TIPER, at Kigamboni – closed down in the early 1990s when, in the absence of any Tanzanian crude oil production, it became more economic to import directly the petroleum products needed by the country.

Government acts on two mineral issues
Last Autumn, during a visit to mines in Kahama, President Magufuli announced a ban on the export of mineral sands from gold mining operations. Mining companies have been sending the sands abroad for smelting, in order to recover quantities of silver, copper and tin contained in the sands. As a result, Tanzania loses revenue. The President said that gold miners must now establish suitable smelter plants in Tanzania so that the economy will benefit more.

Tanzania has huge reserves of coal (estimated at 10 billion tonnes) and abundant supplies of gypsum (estimated at 300,000 tonnes). These are two of the commodities used in the manufacture of cement. Yet, some Tanzanian cement factories have reportedly been importing coal and gypsum to service their plants, citing local supply problems, prices and quality as reasons. As a result, in August the Ministry of Energy and Minerals banned the import of coal and gypsum, in a move designed to foster greater local investment to boost production of Tanzania’s own coal and gypsum reserves. (See also the Economics and Business section in this issue.)

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TRANSPORT

by Ben Taylor

Ongoing revival of Air Tanzania
President Magufuli rapidly carried through on his promise, made in early 2016, to purchase two new aircraft for the troubled national airline, Air Tanzania. The airline took delivery of two 76-seater Bombardier Q400 planes in September, at a cost of $62m to the taxpayer. The aircraft immediately entered service, expanding the fleet from one to three planes, and providing routes between Dar es Salaam and Mwanza, Bukoba, Kigoma, Mbeya, Dodoma, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Zanzibar and the Comoros.

In December, the president placed orders for three new aircraft for national and regional routes, including a third Q400 and two 150-seat Bombardier CS300 craft, at a total cost of $203m. But the shopping spree did not stop there, with one further plane ordered: a Boeing 787 Dreamliner for use on long-haul routes with space for around 250 passengers. With an estimated price tag of $225-265m, this brings the total taxpayer spend on the airline to around $500m in a single year.

The new planes purchased by the government are owned by the state-run Tanzania Government Flight Agency (TGFA), but will be operated by ATCL. The choice of planes was said to have been influenced by President Kagame of Rwanda.

ATCL’s local competitors, Precision Air and the budget airline FastJet, have both faced difficulties in recent months. FastJet, having grown rapidly since its entry into Tanzania around four years ago, recently sold one aircraft and returned three leased craft in an effort to cut costs. Precision Air has been posting losses, and is said to be seeking funds to recapitalise. Both airlines have struggled to fill planes to full capacity.

According to a statement from the president’s office, the government plans for ATCL to add non-stop direct flights between Tanzania and Asian and European tourism markets in a bid to boost annual foreign visitor arrivals beyond current levels of around 1 million.

“Tourists have to use several connecting flights to come to Tanzania… this is because we don’t have our own (strong) airlines,” Magufuli was quoted as saying in the statement. “We haven’t even reached 2 million tourist arrivals a year, while a country like Morocco gets more than 12 million tourists each year,” the president remarked. (The Guardian, Daily News)

Progress on Dar es Salaam airport Terminal III, regional airports

Construction at Terminal 3 in Sept 2016 www.williammalecela.com)

While on an inspection visit to Julius Nyerere International Airport, Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa, outlined the potential of the new, modern terminal building. It is set to accommodate over six million passengers each year, more than triple the airport’s current capacity, and will include shopping malls and several other business outlets offering an estimated 5,000 job opportunities.

The opening of the new terminal building, which was originally scheduled for mid-2016, has been pushed back to December 2017. The construction cost is now estimated at TSh 650bn, up from the original estimate of TSh 570bn.
Further afield, Songwe airport in Mbeya is currently under construction, expansion is underway at Mwanza airport and work is planned in Kigoma. The runway at Dodoma has recently been extended, allowing larger aircraft to serve the nation’s capital city.

Meanwhile, minister Mbarawa directed the Immigration Department, Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and National Microfinance Bank (NMB) to facilitate a smoother issuance of visas to foreign passengers arriving at JNIA’s Terminal II. He gave the instruction after observing what to many will be a familiar sight of long queues of passengers waiting for visas at the terminal. (The Guardian)

Funds secured from China for rail expansion work
Export Import Bank China will lend Tanzania $7.6 billion for a railway connecting Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda to Dar es Salaam, a government official said. The work will upgrade the existing central line railway to standard gauge and extend the line to the neighbouring counties. Two additional lines will connect Dar es Salaam to the coal, iron ore and soda ash mining areas in the south and northern parts of the country.

The Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Professor Makame Mbarawa, said completion of the project is expected to take three years. (Bloomberg, The Guardian)

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HEALTH

by Ben Taylor

Zika rumours and denials
The Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, held a hastily-arranged news conference in mid-December to reassure the public that there was no outbreak of the Zika virus in the country. “Tanzania has no Zika patient,” she said.

The statement came just a day after the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) released study findings showing that 87 of the 533 people whose blood samples were tested had Zika virus.

“NIMR just reported findings of a [pilot] study on efficiency of a new research device for Zika and Chikungunya viruses,” explained the Minister.

Dr Malecela, the Director General of NIMR, who had earlier issued the report that caused anxiety, accused the media of reporting the matter “inaccurately”. “The findings only showed that there were strains of Zika virus in samples drawn from people in eight regions. There is no Zika patient,” she said. This explanation was deemed insufficient to save her position, however, as she was fired hours later.

Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Kigwangalla, directed NIMR to follow proper channels whenever making sensitive findings to public. “The government has the mandate of announcing the occurrence of any infectious disease. We are aware of the efforts made by the research institutions that focus on complimenting the government commitment to end communicable diseases,” he noted.

An outbreak of the Zika virus in Brazil and elsewhere in South America attracted widespread public attention earlier in 2016. Most cases have no symptoms, but when present they are usually mild and can resemble dengue fever. However, mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy can cause microcephaly and other brain malformations in some babies. The virus is spread by mosquitoes, making mosquito avoidance an important element to disease control. There is no vaccine or treatment currently available. (The Citizen, Daily News)

Drug shortages and debts
The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare took steps to reassure the public that the government would ensure supplies of essential medicines would be maintained, after Sikika, a health-focussed NGO, revealed spending on drugs was well below the budgeted amount.

“These reports (of a medicine crisis) are false and they are aimed as causing members of the public to panic,” Minister Ummy Mwalimu told a news conference. “I would like to assure you that the fifth phase government places utmost priority on health.”

The minister said MSD has the drugs for all the top 10 common diseases in the country, citing malaria, tuberculosis, cough infections, leprosy, polio and antiretrovirals (ARVs). However, she said the government would reform several aspects of the drug supply chain to address supply problems.

The health budget for the current financial year is substantially higher than in previous years, primarily in order to clear a large outstanding debt with the Medical Stores Department (MSD). MSD revealed earlier in the year that the government owed them a total of TSh 145bn, and the Ministry has budgeted to clear the bulk of this debt during 2016/17.
(Daily News, The Citizen)

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AGRICULTURE

by David Brewin

Sisal revival
Fifty years ago Tanzania was the biggest producer of sisal in the world – some 300,000 tons per annum. Much of the landscape in Tanga Region and parts of the then Central Region was dominated by huge estates, often owned by private individuals or companies, under the manage­ment of Asians, Greeks and other Europeans. Most of the very hard work on the estates was done by thousands of contract labourers from Rwanda and Burundi.

Sisal is a species of agave native to southern Mexico but widely culti­vated in many other countries. It yields a stiff fibre used in making rope and twine, and now has many other uses including paper, cloth, wall coverings, carpets, and dartboards.

The industry largely collapsed in the fifties when Tanzania’s socialist government nationalised virtually all but one of the estates (Amani), there was a rapid expansion in the use of combine harvesters interna­tionally (sisal twine was no longer needed) and artificial substitutes began to be manufactured at lower cost. The Greeks returned home.

Then, in this century, the industry began to revive slowly as demand increased and new uses were found for the fibre. The government has now set new production targets and planting has started again. Yunus Mssika, Senior Quality Assurance Officer at the Tanzania Sisal Board (TSB) announced recently that the country planned to increase production to reach 100,000 metric tons by 2021.

All this is part of a 10-year Sisal Crop Development Plan started in 2012 aimed at increasing production of various sisal products, to increase uti­lisation of the sisal plant, to increase the country’s export market share, to undertake research and development of products and markets and to increase the participation of smallholder and out-grower farmers in the industry. The plan envisages putting in place biogas plants that will produce fuel for electricity generation on 14 estates.

According to the latest available statistics from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in 2013, global production of sisal reached 281,000 tons – 53% were produced by Brazil, 12% by Tanzania, 9% Kenya, 6% Madagascar and 5% by China. Currently a ton of sisal trades between $1,900 and $2,200. Prices have stabilized since 2010, fol­lowing increased investments in the crop in Tanzania.

Sugar take-over by Magufuli
Following a major upheaval in the sugar market during recent months and evidence of many questionable practices, the existing private sec­tor sale monopoly (controlled by a small group of people known as the ‘sugar barons’), President Magufuli’s government has taken over control of all sugar imports into the country – mostly from Thailand, Brazil, India and Indonesia. The result was, inevitably, a rise in prices, and serious shortages soon developed.

The President has also launched a major enquiry into the industry, espe­cially into patterns of consumption and the extent of illegal smuggling to avoid tax. The Tanzania Sugar Board quickly arranged for the importation of 12,000 tonnes of sugar to relieve the shortages.

It seems the basic problem is that Tanzania is not producing enough sugar to satisfy local demand. This stands at 420,000 tonnes per year while local production was only 304,000 tonnes in 2015.

In a further development Minister for Agriculture, Mwigulu Nchemba, announced that the government had set aside 294,000 hectares to be allocated to companies looking to develop sugarcane plantations. The Minister said that the land would be allocated to investors through a tendering process, to be coordinated by the Tanzania Investment Centre.

In the light of this, Oman’s Minister for Industry and Trade visited Tanzania recently to lobby for his country to be given permission to invest in the establishment of new sugar estates and put aside a sum of up to $25 million as capital.

Live Animal Exports
In late May the government banned the export of wild animals outside the country for the next three years, until proper procedures can be put in place to ensure that only approved animals are transported.

Rise in Water Level of Lake Victoria
Following a long period of destruction of forests and poor agricultural practices exacerbated by recent heavy rains, the level of water in Lake Victoria is reported to have risen by a metre.

Over-fishing and oxygen depletion are said to be threatening its biodiversity with more than 200 indigenous species facing possible extinction. The members of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission, at a recent meeting in Entebbe, Uganda, studied ways in which these trends could be reversed.

Repossessing Idle Land
The country is in the process of conducting a nationwide audit to identify undeveloped parcels of land exceeding 50 acres with the aim of repossessing them. Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements, William Lukuvi, said recently that ownership of idle land would be revoked and the land reallocated as part of wider efforts to end long-standing land disputes and ensure equitable distribution.

Ban on Shisha smoking
In early July Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced a ban on ‘shisha smoking’ in the country and asked clerics, parents and leaders to fight against dealers and smokers. All places that sell shisha were to be closed. ‘Shisha’ is a molasses-based tobacco concoction smoked in a water pipe known as a ‘hookah’. The directive was issued at the Khoja Shia Ithnasheri Mosque in Gandhi Street in Dar es Salaam. He said that shisha was killing the future of the country by wreaking havoc on the mental health of young people. The smoking habit has been gaining popularity among the youth with many believing that it is less harmful than cigarettes. Research conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) however, estimates that the volume of smoke inhaled during an hour long session is equivalent to smoking between 100 and 200 cigarettes.

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ENERGY & MINERALS

by Roger Nellist

Tanzania’s unexpected helium discovery
In June scientists from the UK (Oxford and Durham Universities) and Norway announced the discovery of a large reserve of helium gas in the geo-thermally active Tanzanian Rift Valley. Their study estimates a probable helium reserve of 54 billion cubic feet in just one part of the Rift Valley, enough to satisfy global consumption of the gas for nearly 7 years. This is an exciting find – described as a “game-changer” – since global helium supplies are running out and the price of helium has risen by 500% over the last 15 years. Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe but is exceedingly rare on earth. It is used in specialist applications like hospital MRI scanners, super magnets, particle accelerators, military equipment and spacecraft. The scientists believe there is enough helium in this one Rift Valley location to fill at least 1.2 million MRI scanners. The find is bound to intensify exploration efforts in the Rift Valley.

LNG plant discussions
Tanzania believes that the prolonged fall in oil and gas prices represents an opportunity (for gas-driven development), rather than a threat, and in June convened a meeting between the country’s gas discoverers – Statoil, Exxon Mobil, Ophir Energy, Shell and TPDC – to start framing possible commercial and technical terms to govern the planned onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal at Lindi. The parties have yet to take a decision on the huge investment and those terms – to be defined in a Hosting Government Agreement (HGA) – will be a vital consideration influencing it. Government has allocated 19,000 hectares of land in Lindi for the LNG export terminal and its associated industrial infrastructure.

CGT due on Shell’s acquisition of BG Group

In February 2016 Shell acquired the BG Group (with assets valued at $55 billion) in the world’s biggest energy deal in a decade. Importantly, the deal gives Shell a majority stake in BG’s gas discovery blocks in southern Tanzania and hence a substantial interest in the planned LNG project. For Tanzania the deal offers access to Shell’s worldwide experience, technology, networks and markets for the country’s gas. However, the government and Shell are apparently now in dispute over the amount of capital gains tax (CGT) that should be paid on the sale of the BG Group’s Tanzanian assets. It is reported that the Tanzanian Revenue Authority (TRA) is seeking US$520 million in CGT, an amount that Shell rejects and it has appealed to the tax tribunal. Sensitive discussions are still ongoing but there is concern that a lengthy dispute could delay the LNG plant.

Uganda – Tanga oil pipeline
TPDC has announced that the company to be formed to raise funding, procure goods and services and then to operate the oil export pipe­line between Kabale in Uganda and Tanga Port will be known as the Pipeline Company (PIPECO). The stakeholders in the pipeline are the governments of Tanzania and Uganda and the three companies that have made the oil discoveries in Uganda: Total (of France), Tullow Oil (of UK) and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Details of the likely pipeline costs, timing and throughput were given in TA114. Information subsequently released includes the pipe’s routing in Tanzania (it will pass through Kagera, Geita, Shinyanga, Tabora and Singida to Tanga), the expected funding arrangements (the stakeholders will provide 40% of the funding and PIPECO will raise 60% in loans) and that Uganda will be charged a transit fee of just over $12 for each barrel of crude transported. Contract negotiations are ongoing. A final investment decision is expected by mid-2017. Meanwhile, the Tanga Regional Commissioner has urged farmers to start planning the expan­sion of their fruit, vegetable and poultry production in anticipation of the increased demand that the pipeline construction and operation will generate.

KILAMCO fertiliser project resurrected
TPDC also announced a new joint venture between itself (holding a 20% stake) and three companies from Germany, Denmark and Pakistan to establish a gas-powered fertiliser manufacturing facility at Kilwa Masoko in Lindi Region. The plant will produce 3,850 tonnes daily for Tanzanian farmers and also for export. It will also create jobs in the region. TPDC has begun the process for compensating the small num­ber of residents who have encroached on the 820-acre site that it has owned since 1989 – when plans for a similar KILAMCO project were first developed as the primary use for Songo Songo gas. (That project was shelved because of TPDC’s inability to raise enough equity finance and also because of concerns about the project’s long-term viability given the world surplus of fertiliser).

More CNG fuelling points in Dar
In a move to expand significantly the number of vehicles in Dar beyond the current 40 that are powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), TPDC will build five more CNG fuelling stations in the city. Presently there are only two CNG points, at Ubungo and at TPDC’s Mikocheni estate. CNG is much cheaper, cleaner and healthier than using petrol and diesel but the initial vehicle conversion cost is high.

Many more rural power connections
In June the World Bank approved a US$200 million soft loan to enable
2.5 million rural Tanzanian households to be connected to the national grid. The programme will also help increase the number of small renewable energy projects in rural areas, providing power to homes and businesses. In 2014 nationwide electricity connectivity was 36%. The government aims to increase this to 50% by 2025 and 75% by 2033.

Corporate tax payments by mining companies
A report by the Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative covering 2013-2014 reveals that 13 big mining companies have not paid any corporate tax since they began mining operations in the country. The companies cite as reasons their accumulated losses resulting from high prior-year mining expenditures as well as tax holidays allowed under Mining Development Agreements. “No corporate tax has been paid because no corporate profits have been earned” said one company executive. They also say they have paid mining royalties and certain other mining taxes. However, President Magufuli has recently questioned why foreign mining companies who claim they have not made a profit for years are still hanging around an unprofitable mine. Perhaps things are changing, though. The Tanzania Mineral Audit Agency signals an improved scenario for 2015, with major mines having paid almost US$50 million in corporate tax. Under the Norwegian aid programme the government has benefited over the last three years from capacity-building support in the specialist areas of petroleum and mineral taxation. This has helped TRA reduce the declared losses of major mining companies.

Mixed news for small-scale miners
The Deputy Minister of Energy and Minerals, Medard Kalemani, told Parliament in Dodoma that his Ministry had opened offices in most regions of Tanzania so as to take its services closer to small-scale miners. He also said that such miners will benefit from TSh 6.8 billion in subsidies next financial year. Meanwhile, regional authorities in Geita have revoked 132 licenses of small-scale miners for failure to comply with mining laws (including non-payment of royalties) and have warned more may be revoked.

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HEALTH

by Ben Taylor

Health sector budget criticised
Health sector analysts and advocates took issue with the 2016/17 budget of the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, as tabled by the Minister, Ummy Mwalimu, in parliament. The budget totals TSh 845bn (£300m), of which TSh 518bn was allocated to development expenditure and TSh 278bn for recurrent costs.

This represents a small overall increase on the Ministry’s 2015/16 budget, which totalled TSh 785bn, but analysts pointed out that under President Magufuli, two Ministries had been incorporated into one, with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare having been merged with the Ministry of Gender, Women and Children.

The executive director of Sikika, a local health advocacy NGO, Irenei Kiria, said the budget would not help tackle a number of challenges facing the sector including shortage of drugs in health facilities. “The budget is not enough to significantly cut the drug shortage. The minister says TSh 251 billion from the development fund have been allocated to purchase medicine and other medical supplies but we should remember that the ministry also owes the Medical Stores Department about TSh 131 billion,” he said.

Meshack Mollel, the Advocacy and Resource Mobilisation manager for UMATI, an NGO dealing with sexual and reproductive health education, information and services, challenged the government to meet the Abuja Protocol that requires every country under the agreement to allocate at least 15% of its annual budget to the health sector. This means the budget should have been about TSh 4 trillion. “In this budget we should not expect any big things in the health sector,” he said.

Gloria Shechambo of the Tanzania Gender Network Program (TGNP) praised the decision to allocate more funds into development projects than the recurrent budget, but added that the key challenge was the timely release of funds by the Treasury. “The government’s plans to offer to Tanzanians universal health coverage should prompt improvement in financial allocations to the sector, otherwise the plans will remain a far-fetched dream,” she said.

First ever heart bypass survey in East Africa

The operating theatre at JKCI photo www.saveachilds.heart

The operating theatre at JKCI photo www.saveachilds.heart


The first ever heart bypass surgery in East Africa has been conducted in Tanzania, at the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI).

A visiting team of doctors from BLK Hospital in New Delhi, India, and doctors from JKCI carried out the two-day joint exercise in May 2016, according to Head of the Cardiology Unit at the JKCI, Dr Peter Kisenge. Dr Kisenge told a news conference in Dar es Salaam that in those two days, his institute would help the country to save TSh 180m, the amount that would have been spent if the 18 patients had opted to travel outside the country for treatment.

“Performing a heart by-pass surgery costs TSh 27m for a single patient abroad and if a patient decides to undergo such surgery in Tanzania, he/ she will have to pay between TSh 8m and TSh 10m’’ he said.

The Indian hospital will provide training to doctors from Tanzania in New Delhi, and will regularly send teams from India to Tanzania to work with cardiologists at JKCI and to perform complicated surgeries.

“We are optimistic that the Tanzanian doctors will be able to learn more from us as we will similarly be able to learn as well from them through this partnership,’’ said Dr Subhash Chandra, the Chairman and Head of Cardiology Heart Centre at BLK Hospital.

Previously the JKCI carried out surgery using a heart lung machine that requires cardiologists to stop patients from breathing until the process is completed.

Missed targets on non-communicable disease
Tanzania has failed to meet targets set in 2011 to control and pre­vent chronic and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), according to a new report by the Tanzania Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance (TANCDA).

The missed targets include a 25% reduction in risks of premature mortality from cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, and a 30% reduction in tobacco use.

TANCDA Chairman, Dr Tatizo Waane told The Citizen that Tanzania has failed to meet the targets because NDCs receive fewer resources.

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