Kikwete signs controversial bills into laws

President Kikwete signing 5 bills into laws Tuesday at Magogoni State Lodge

President Kikwete signing 5 bills into laws Tuesday at Magogoni State Lodge looking on is Finance Minister Saada Mkuya (L)

Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete has signed the controversial energy related bills into laws notwithstanding opposition protests.

The bills; Tanzania Extractive Industries (Transparency and Accountability) Bill, 2015, Oil and Gas Revenue Management Bill, 2015 and the Petroleum Bill, 2015 were recently passed by the National Assembly in a dramatic fashion as some opposition legislators were kicked out of the proceedings by the Speaker, and others opted to walk out in solidarity.

At least nine MPs were forced out of debating session by the House Speaker Anne Makinda following their vehement opposition of the bills while legislators from Chadema, CUF and NCCR-Mageuzi chose not to take part in the debate and passage of the bills.

Regardless of the drama, President Kikwete signed all the contentious bills into laws, along with the Teachers Service Commission Act, 2015 and the Commodity Exchange Act, 2015.

The governments contends the new laws will among other things establish petroleum upstream regulatory authority—PURA, transform the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation into a National Oil Company—NOC.

Additionally, the laws will provide the framework for the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to ensure society benefits from the petroleum activities.

They will also set mechanisms for joint cooperation in exploration and development activities between Tanzania Mainland and the Isles.

According to the law the extractive companies will now be required to disclose payments, receipts, sales, and capital expenditures accrued from mining, oil and gas operations.

Elaborating on the energy laws, Minister for Energy and Minerals, George Simbachawene said they will strengthen management of the petroleum industry to ensure optimal benefits for the present and future generations.

“They will simplify the administration of petroleum activities by establishing a consolidated legislation. It will therefore repeal the petroleum (exploration and production) act, 1980 and the petroleum act 2008.”

Outlining the content of the new laws, Chief Secretary Ambassador Ombeni Sefue told delegates the new legislations will provide solutions and answers to several unanswered questions in the field of oil, gas, education and economy.

Finance Minister Saada Salum Mkuya said the new laws allow the government to establish a special oil and gas fund within Bank of Tanzania (BoT) for emergency purposes.

She said the legislations will facilitate the development of proper and transparent mechanism to access goods and products.

“This will increase the national income through adjustment of duties and goods,” she said.