Dangote Cement saga clarified

TANZANIA Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) has refuted widespread rumours that recently went viral in the social media that there was a dispute pitting it and the Mtwara-based Dangote Cement Plant over the price of natural gas.

Acting TPDC Managing Director Kapulia Msomba, told a news conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the national petroleum body was in the final stages of approving a request by Dangote Cement Company to supply gas at the plant so that it saves millions of shillings it spends on diesel purchases.

According to him, TPDC has been holding negotiations with the cement company since October on how the duo can run the gas business on a win-win situation so that the petroleum development firm can be able to supply gas at the factory for electricity production.

“TPDC is guided by laws, rules and regulations in serving investors, including Mr Aliko Dangote. We expect that until January 2017, we will have completed the natural gas infrastructure at the plant. We believe that the electricity turbines will be ready at the Mtwara plant, ’’ he said.

However, Mr Msomba added that TPDC and Dangote Cement ‘had agreed not to agree on the prices after the former insisted on charging them lower prices than the price set by the latter’.

The Acting TPDC boss said there was no cause for alarm as the new prices would soon be issued by the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA).

There were widespread rumours that the 600-million US dollar (about 1.3 trillion/-) plant and the largest cement investment in East Africa, producing three million tonnes of cement annually and directly employing over 1,000 Tanzanians, had suspended its operations “due to high production costs.”

But the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dangote in Tanzania, Mr Harpreet Duggal, refuted claims of stoppage of production due to high costs, saying the closure was due to technical problems.

In another development, the Acting Commissioner of Minerals, Mr John Shija, said the government was equally concerned with proper production and business at the Ngaka Coal Mine (NCM).

Therefore, he said, all cement companies had been directed to enter into contract with NCM to help it produce to its capacity of 45,000 tones of coal per month. He said that on realisation of the presence of cement companies in the country, the government decided to move ahead to protect local industries.

“For NCM to invest and produce to its capacity, it should know the demand in the local market and that is why we need these cement industries to enter into

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