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Culprits in natural gas scandal must be tasked

Foremost, we would like to congratulate the House Committee for probing the sub-sector and exposing various irregularities including non-payment of revenue to the government. The sum is huge for a country like Tanzania which is striving, and struggling at that, to improve the welfare of her citizens.

In response to the committee’s revelation, the Minister for Energy and Minerals, William Ngelaja, told the House that the government has formed a team to get to the bottom of the matter. The decision by the government is timely and welcomed and the parliamentary committee should be lauded for unveiling the rot in the natural gas sub-sector.

It should be noted that natural gas is crucial for the energy sector and thus to the economic development of the nation. It could also be the most dependable source of energy for domestic and industrial use if properly utilized. Findings of serious irregularities and the huge amount of unpaid revenues to the government leaves a lot wanting.

It is rather disheartening and reveals a number of weaknesses in the management of the sub-sector. That a registered company operating in the country fails to remit royalties to the government is questionable. Common sense dictates that someone knew what exactly was going on and either turned a blind eye or was part of a broader scheme to fleece the government.

This tendency should not be left to continue. We hope that heads will roll this time around and all those found to have been involved in one way or another should be taken to task. It is sad to note that the energy sector is continually mismanaged and the country losing revenue from the sector despite all the richness in natural gas.

We should come to the end of something. If at all Minister Ngeleja lives up to his promise and the probe team concludes
its work, we pray that the findings be made public. We also hope the government will come with concrete strategies to ensure that such malpractices do not recur in the future.

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Mwandishi: EDITOR

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