More emerge on Dangote plant woes

NEW revelations have emerged over the reason behind Dangote Cement Factory’s production suspension, with the investor’s Country Representative, Ms Esther Baruti, citing sabotage by some politicians and businesspeople. Ms Baruti’s latest remarks have sharply contrasted the widely circulated reports that the factory ceased the cement production due to high costs.

At different occasions this week, she spoke to different local media stations, maintaining that, “There is no conflict pitting the government against Dangote. There are only people with wicked interest plotting to ensure that the factory relocates from Mtwara.”

According to Ms Baruti, billionaire Aliko Dangote is being ‘confused’ by middlemen who are everywhere and bent to do anything within their reach to frustrate the investment.

She further revealed that Mr Dangote had political and business enemies who were working hard to hamper his business initiatives or projects.

Ms Baruti, who coordinated the initial plans of the project, complained further that saboteurs were non-residents of Mtwara region, adding: “...from the information I have, the law enforcers have already embarked on the search for those inciting residents in the country.

” Since the factory started production, said the Country Representative, people have been stealing its raw materials in a mission to impede operations. She said politicians, businesspeople and neighbouring countries were behind the sabotage campaign.

“I am the one who know many internal things of the investment and I cannot remain silent while bad things are said about and happening to the factory,” she stressed, adding that the industry management was more conversant and capable of handling the technical problems facing the industry.

Ms Baruti recalled how she spearheaded the initial meeting on the establishment of the factory between former President Jakaya Kikwete and Nigerian billionaire Dangote who expressed interest to invest in the country’s cement sector.

After the talks, former president Jakaya Kikwete directed Ms Baruti to convene another meeting between Dangote and the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), to enable the two parties to discuss the price of gas to be pumped into the factory for power generation.

Mr Dangote concluded the talks with TPDC, agreeing with the public utility to consult with the Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority (EWURA) over the gas price for Dangote industry. Recently, the TPDC noted that EWURA were expected to announce the prices of natural gas in January.

But, Ms Baruti was upbeat that the government would consider Mr Dangote’s plea of reducing the price of natural gas sold to the Mtwara cement manufacturer as per the promises given during the initial steps of setting the investment.

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