LOCAL content has lately become very topical for African countries that have discovered oil and gas resources in discussions on how best these countries will manage their petroleum resources in a sustainable manner for the benefits of its people.
It has become a very important issue as people are expecting their governments to enable them capture the commanding heights of the economy and thus assist to keep its wealth within its borders, as well as providing jobs to the ever increasing population.
Many oil and gas producing states are introducing requirements for ‘local content’ into their regulatory frameworks. These requirements aim to create jobs, promote enterprise development and accelerate the transfer of skills and technologies.
Local content has therefore become a strategic issue for the oil and gas industry, presenting both challenges and opportunities. Tanzania has not been left behind. It is using the experience of global leaders in oil and gas sector to enact laws that will make local content mandatory for stakeholders in the industry.
Tanzanians are now much more focused on the added value brought to the country in the activities of the oil and gas industry in the country. They expect to participate through labour, technology, goods, services, capital and research capability.
The rising expectations are based on the fact that investments in the oil and gas industry are now being looked in a wider perspective and beyond mere sources of tax and royalty revenue.
They are expected to buy goods and services in the country because procurement of local goods and services establishes a multiplier for local economic development through contribution to employment, skills strengthening, supplier and local enterprise development.
It is against this backdrop we are pleased to note that some local business operators teamed up to form an Association of Tanzania Oil and Gas Service Providers (ATOGS) that will lobby for and promote the participation of indigenous Tanzanian individuals and bodies corporate in the provision of services to the highly lucrative oil and gas sector.
The association that was launched by the Vice President, Samia Suluhu Hassan in Dar es Salaam last Friday represents a group of accomplished professionals and business entities seeking to provide services to the sector whose prospects has been boosted by the impending gas boom and planned construction of 1,443 kilometres oil pipeline from Hoima Uganda to Tanga port.
According to the Vice Chairman of the association, Abdulsamad Abdulrahim, ATOGS will encourage Tanzanians to seek to provide services in the lucrative sector and seek capital from the banking sector and other sources to make sure they benefit from local natural resources.