DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania - The Center for Global Development (CGD) in partnership with Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA) last week convened over 2000 Tanzanians from 20 districts to share and discuss their opinions on the best approach to manage the revenues expected from natural gas.
Speaking to East African Business Week CGD Research Fellow Mujobu Moyo said the proper management of revenues from natural resources can determined the total wellbeing of a nation and still Tanzania faces major challenges to harness full benefits of the recent discovery of natural gas.
“Citizens need to first understand and then get involved in the decision-making process of how revenues from such a resource should be managed to avoid the resource curse that has plagued other countries before,” she said.
She mentioned that the venture aims to challenge the assumption that the Tanzanian voting public is incapable of grasping the issues that the country is facing with regards to the discovery of natural gas.
Moyo said by involving the public and creating awareness on various options of the management of revenues, public accountability will improve.
REPOA Senior Researcher Dr. Abel Kinyondo, said that Tanzania has for more than a decade recorded an impressive economic growth but this growth has not been pro-poor.
He explained that many Tanzanians continue to live in poverty however; recent discovery of natural gas in the country provides a unique opportunity to redress this situation.
Dr Kinyondo highlighted that for the country to achieve a more inclusive growth, effective revenue management in the oil and gas sector is crucial, and therefore REPOA and CGD have embarked on a deliberative polling event that seeks to examine various options available to natural resource revenue management in the country.
He said this forum forms the second part of the survey where after collecting baseline information from a sample of 2,000 Tanzanians from 20 different districts across the country 400 representatives from the districts will meet to give their views and receive expert information in a deliberative poll.
“This serial survey will help evaluate citizen’s knowledge of and preferences for natural gas revenue management before and after exposure to expert information and public deliberations,” He remarked
He said this will help the citizens to participate in the policy making process of natural gas and fully control their economy and the findings of the survey will be disseminated to policy makers in Tanzania. REPIOA Executive Director Prof. Samwel Wangwe said that a sudden influx of revenue from natural resources could lead to corruption, economic distortion, entrenched poverty and a state of weakened democracy.
By Emmanuel Kisima, East African BUSINESS WEEK, Sunday, April 19th, 2015