Tanzania to be EA oil power centre in 10 years – Muhongo

TANZANIA aims to become the first in oil and natural gas exploitation in East Africa in ten years, Energy and Mineral Minister Prof Sospeter Muhongo has said. Prof Muhongo said the goal would be achieved only through a rise in the number of experts in the field from the level of diploma to PHD. Since the sector is new in the country, we intend to have at least 500 trained experts in the area of oil and natural gas in 10 years time.

“The achievement will lead us to become number one in the area throughout East Africa,” said Prof Muhongo during the handing over of scholarship certification to 20 students who would be going to China for Masters and PHD on natural gas and oil.

He pointed out that the country still lacked enough experts in the area and the demand could not be realised due to lack of enough instructors in the colleges.

“We want the country to acquire enough experts in the field so that they can fill the vacant positions at the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) as well as in other private companies,” noted the Minister.

“And through colleges like the University of Dodoma (UDOM), University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) and the Mining College and overseas students that receive funding from China, Norway, United Kingdom and the government the number will be attained.”

Prof Muhongo commended the government of China for providing 20 scholarships on natural gas and oil each year, noting that over 60 students had benefited from the programme since it was introduced in 2013.

Commenting on the criteria for selecting the beneficiaries of the scholarship, Prof Muhongo said chances were usually advertised via newspapers, the ministry and TPDC website for eligible candidates to apply.

“Applications usually go through screening and in most cases a special consideration is given to female students and after selection I personally go through the list and verify their documents.” Minister- Counsellor of China in Tanzania, Mr Gou Haodang called on the students to study hard while in China and portray the good culture of the country.

“Save the day, hour and learn, come back with the spirit of devotion to serve your own country because the economy counts on you,” said Mr Haodang.

The Chinese government provided the scholarships and the Tanzanian government would fund the flight. “I will do well in my studies,” said Ms Fatma Saidi, one of the students for a Masters degree in Oil and Gas.

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