The government intends to restrict Chinese firms from providing supportive services to Liganga-Mchuchuma Power Project with a view to allowing Tanzanians to benefit more from the project.
“We will not repeat past mistakes in the implementation of mining projects,” said National Development Corporation (NDC) Board Chairman Dr Christant Mzindakaya at the opening of the first board meeting of a joint-company, dubbed “Tanzania China International Mineral Resources Ltd (TCIMRL)” contracted to implement the Mchuchuma-Liganga power project.
A positive gesture from NDC’s top brass, which has been entrusted with overseeing the implementation of the project on behalf of the government, comes after a long time public concern over unfair distribution of mining proceeds.
Apart from huge profits generated from mining operations, foreign investors are also favoured when it comes to supplying supporting services such as foodstuffs (imported from outside) and other related services in mines, thus denying income to small-scale firms and surrounding communities.
But the NDC board chairman said mistakes committed in the mining sector would not be repeated in the implementation of the Mchuchuma-Liganga power project. “We will not allow the Chinese firm to provide supportive services in this project...foodstuffs and other services will be supplied by Tanzanians,” said the former outspoken legislator.
A task force has been set up to check the participation of local people in the project expected to produce 300MW and 500,000 steel products by 2015, according to Mzindakaya.
The task force, he said, among other things, would be monitoring how Tanzanians were involved in the supply of supportive services such as foodstuffs to the project.
“It is the duty of this facility to ensure small-scale firms are given priority in supplying materials or other resources (needed in the construction and operations of the project),” said the NDC chairman, noting that “foreigners would be restricted to provide locally-available services.”
He said the motive behind the strategy was to enable Tanzanians to participate in the implementation of the project and benefit from it.
Although the project has not started the board meeting signified the beginning of the actual implementation, said Mzindakaya, adding: “the government expects 600MW of electricity will be produced and this has a significant impact on the country’s economy as whole.”
NDC, a driver for industrialisation, development of small industries in Tanzania, can hardly achieve anticipated results without reliable power supply, said the board chairman.
According to NDC Managing Director Gideon Nassari said a survey had been conducted and equipment needed for exploration would arrive in the country soon. Exploratory grilling will take six months and the actual implementation of the project is expected to next year.