A foreign firm involved in the mining of natural gas, Pan African Energy Tanzania Ltd, on Songo Songo island in Kilwa district, Lindi region, has finally agreed to pay Kilwa District Council a service levy of 606,800/- by the end of this month.
Kilwa District Executive Director Adoh Mapunda told The Guardian in an interview that the firm had agreed to pay the money after long-drawn negotiations between the council, Energy and Minerals ministry and the company. So far, it has already settled 87m/- being the first payment for the first quarter of this year.
Mpunda explained that from now onwards the firm would be paying the council the same amount in every three months.
He said it was right to be paid the service levy according to by-laws, which allowed them to collect 0.4 per cent service levy of the sales of gas each month.
He explained that the district also intended to collect another service levy from Songas Company, which was transporting natural gas from Songo Songo Island to Dar es Salaam.
“We want Songas to pay us service levy and we urge Tanesco, which is running its plants in Somanga area also to pay service levy to the council,” he stressed.
Mapunda said his council solely depended on crops like cashew nuts and simsim for raising the council’s revenue.
Moreover, he told The Guardian how the service levy of gas had been paid by the companies and how it would boost community development.
He commended the Ministry of Energy and Minerals for persuading the natural gas mining firm to settle the payment.
In 2008, Pan African Energy Ltd commissioned the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) to carry out a base line survey for social services and economic situation on the island for a more coordinated programme for improving delivery of social services and economic development on Songosongo Island in Kilwa District.
Currently the Island has a primary school, a kindergarten and a dispensary.