DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA, NOVEMBER 8 — Tanzania is blessed with abundant natural resources with Oil and Gas being among deposits the country is rich in.
The country is currently developing the Oil and Gas sub-sector. The East African member states recently held the 2nd Oil and Gas Congress at the Hyatt Hotel in Dar es Salaam, between September 24-25.
Themed “Promoting government and industry collaboration in Tanzania oil and gas” the conference brought together stakeholders in the O&G sector including mining companies, banks, law firms and all service providers in the sector.
The government used the event to attract local and global investors to come on board and support its long-term vision planned development of the sector.
It has set aside TZS 6.5 billion in this year’s budget for allocation in implementation of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) LNG project in Mtwara which are among key projects in the country.
The Tanzanian government also remains focused on implementation of the Uganda-Tanzania pipeline project scheduled to commence next year with a completion timeline of three years, according to Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.
However, recent media reports mainly channeled from individual sources seem to be among impediments to the sector’s growth.
This is mainly actuated by bad publicity being propagated against key investors, individuals and sector institutions which is likely to affect investor behavior both existing and potential investors.
An example of investors who have been affected by goof is prominent and passionate entrepreneur and hotelier Abdulsamad Abdulrahim.
A few days ago, a deceitful website was created by miscreants who published wrong information about Mr. Abdulrahim and about other government agencies.
The perpetrators also made false claims about the Tanzania Investment Centre (“TIC”) and Tanzania Intelligence Services.
According to the gofers, TIC and Tanzania Investors Association had warned prospective investors against Mr. Abdulrahim which they tagged as a “Masquerader” in the oil, gas and mining sectors where he had been accused of playing a fixer for his own benefits.
A part of the article alleged that “The 47 year old operates in Zanzibar and Dar Es Salaam, and in one of his tricks he used a selfie with President Museveni of Uganda to profile himself as one of the key facilitators in the $3.5 Billion Uganda-Tanzania Crude Pipeline, while knowing he was not involved in any part of the process. Authorities in Uganda and Tanzania have already issued warnings,”.
The whole article turned to be one of the poorly written and erroneous articles touching on investments in the country, let alone being a goof.
Few days after the said article, TIC which coordinates, advocates, mobilizes and empowers investment in Tanzania dismissed the online publication.
It further disowned any links or association with Tanzania Investors Association while affirming that it does not recognize the association or its members.
“TIC strongly refutes any presence of an Investor Protection Unit headed by Mr. David Siwa alleged in the concerned statement. TIC does not have and has never had an employee by the name of David Siwa. Therefore the information is completely false,” TIC said in a statement.
“TIC would like to inform all its stakeholders inside and outside the country that it is not involved in anyway and does not recognize the alleged information,” it added.
On the contrary, Mr. Abdulrahim is recognized as an important stakeholder in the development of the private sector.
He has been at the forefront cooperating with the government in the development of oil, gas, petroleum and other sectors.
He is Co-Founder and Vice Chairman of the Association of Tanzania Oil and Gas Service Providers (ATOGS) and a board member of Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) where TIC works closely with him.
“We also recognize and acknowledge his role as the Honorary Consul, Honorary Consulate of the Federative Republic of Brazil in Zanzibar,” TIC said in the statement, calling on all its stakeholders who wish the country well to continue working according to the law.
It urged those with inquiries or complains touching on investments in the country to forward them to the relevant authorities “instead of publishing such information anonymously” without correct facts.
“TIC will continue to corporate with all stakeholders who support the government’s efforts in strengthening domestic investment in line with existing laws,” it said.
Mr. Abdulrahim is one among many investors who have been affected by wrongfully published information which appeared to be bankrolled by his competitors or selfish individuals who are against development projects in the country.
“If this can happen to me, this can happen to you. I worry for every respectable, hardworking citizen, especially those who are unable to defend themselves, like youngsters, woman folks, servicemen and many more,” Abdulrahim noted.
“This is a cheap stunt and through authorities’ we have contacted godaddy.com, the primary registrar to reveal the domain registration parties’ details. The perpetrators did not only attack me but tried to quote our respectable Tanzania intelligence team, Tanzanian Investment Centre and Tanzanian leadership,” he said calling for stiff penalties of such enemies of development.
Mr. Abdulrahim is one of those who have been affected and came out in public to try and help expose criminals behind such publications.
However, many are those who have been jilted with the country’s investment space as a result of such information being presented in the public domain.
If such trend continues, it is likely to affected investor perception on Tanzania which is already struggling to convince financiers in key sectors such as mining to continue investing, despite recent changes in law being seen as an impediment.