Treasury Registrar, Dr Oswald Mashindano said in Dar es Salaam this week after receiving a 11.6bn/- dividend cheque from Songas Limited Managing Director, Nigel Whittaker that his job is to make sure that he plays a key role in collecting non tax revenue from government linked commercial companies which are making profit.
Dr Mashindano pointed out that Songas which contributes about 20 percent of the country’s electricity needs has been a successful public private partnership companies paying Treasury dividend since 2012.
“Resources are scarce and the government wants to implement its plans like the Stieglers which therefore means that we have to get many such dividends,” he stressed while challenging Songas management to grow the profit margin sustainably.
“Keep going and please make sure that next year you make more profit than this because my employer bases my good performance based on these cheques,” he said causing laughter among the attendees who included top management officials and board members from Songas Ltd shareholders.
He said the government is struggling to collect revenue in order to finance development projects pointing out that dividend payments from companies such as Songas are important to meet development financing.
“It’s important that we raise enough resources to enable the government finance its development plans, I hope that Songas will give me another bigger cheque next year,” he noted stating that apart from generating power at cheaper rate, Songas is also saving the country billions of shillings which would have gone into fuel imports to generate electricity.
Last October, Ministry of Energy tender board announced shortlisted companies one of which will win the international tendered contract for the 2,100 megawatts HEP project, the largest dam in the country along the Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve.
The mega project will moreover comprise of construction of the main dam and appurtenant structures with the expected total reservoir storage capacity of 34,000 million cubic. The height of the dam will be about 134 metres.
Further to that, the reservoir length in estimate will be 100 kilometres covering an area of about 1,350 square kilometres. In addition to the main dam, there will be saddle dams and cofferdams. There will also be the construction of power houses to generate a capacity of 2,100 MW and a 400kV switchyard.
Speaking at the same ceremony, Songas’ Whittaker said the company has been paying dividend since 2012 after breaking even after eight years of operations. The natural gas to power project started feeding into the national grid in 2004.
“Since then, Songas has enabled government to save over U$5bn since 2004 because of use of natural gas to generate electricity instead of imported fuel,” Whittaker noted. He pointed out that Songas is paying shareholders over 24bn/- as dividend this year thanks to efficiency and management prudence.
The natural gas to electricity company which supplies state owned utility, Tanesco over 180 megawatts of power, is the cheapest electricity generator from East Africa so far. “Since 2004, Songas has been helping to power Tanzania’s industrialization by providing approximately 20 percent of reliable and cost effective electricity to the national grid,” Whittaker pointed out.
Other shareholders who received their dividend cheques include: Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation which got 8.7bn/-, Tanesco received 2.9bn/- and Tanzania Development Finance Company Limited got 2.3bn/-.
Treasury Registrar, Dr Oswald Mashindano (C) receiving a dividend cheque from Songas Limited officials led by Managing Director, Nigel Whittaker (3rd L) in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Photo: courtesy of Songas.