Last weekend, Statoil management finally broke their silence on their leaked contract for gas production in Tanzania. In an interview with The Citizen newspaper, Statoil’s Country Manager for Tanzania, Øystein Michelsen, spoke at length, including on the subject of contract transparency:
“Statoil respects the position of any government in the countries where we operate with regards to whether the contracts are made publicly available or not. In a number of countries where we operate the contracts are publicly available and Statoil does comply with that position. In Tanzania, the contracts are confidential and for that matter, Statoil also complies with that position.” [my emphasis]
“In 2012, Transparency ranked Statoil as the most transparent company among the world 105 largest publicly traded companies [see here]. We will continue to promote transparency, but we will also respect contract terms and the obligations we have towards our partners.”
The Citizen used this as their headline: “Investors accuse govt of keeping contracts secret.” And the point is clear: Statoil has no objection to contract transparency. Continue reading →
Natural gas is a game changer in Tanzania, both economically and politically. The latest reports suggest that there may be as much as 51 trillion cubic feet available, not huge by global standards, but enough to have raised expectations sky high – see cartoon. The public and policy makers are excited, and it’s already having significant effects on both local and national politics.
“One Minister stated in the Parliament that “with the natural gas reserves Tanzania has, poverty will be history”. How I wish it was that simple! A plus and minus equation. Unfortunately the reality is opposite. There are chains of evidence that resources, due to many factors engraved within a ‘lesser’ leader, may lead to curse.”
Written in March 2010 as part of an online course, “anti-corruption essentials,” run by the U4 anti-corruption resource centre. I had to identify an international organisation involved in anti-corruption work in Tanzania and provide an analysis of its effectiveness in helping Tanzania counter corruption.
Donor Agencies and Anti-Corruption Efforts in Tanzania
Corruption is increasingly acknowledged as a widespread and wide-ranging problem in Tanzania. This includes petty corruption affecting day-to-day interactions between citizens and the state as well as grand corruption affecting multi-million dollar projects and procurements reportedly used to finance election campaigns. Efforts to combat this problem come from several directions – political leaders creating their own anti-corruption platforms as a means of gaining popularity (see a typical example), donors concerned about good governance and accountability for funds, and civil society concerned about justice and pro-poor development. Continue reading →