Dangote cement plant in Mtwara (file photo).
By Haika Kimaro
Mtwara — Dangote Cement Company management says it is increasingly being frustrated by the failure by authorities to make good their promises of supplying it with cheap fuel and other logistical solutions.
It has, particularly, been irked by a decision by the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation to refuse to supply natural gas at cheaper prices, and by the government’s decision to ban it from importing coal from South Africa.
Dangote plant chief executive officer Harpreet Duggal told a delegation of the ruling party, CCM, that visited the plant on Tuesday that due to lack of cheap fuel, the plant spends millions of shillings on purchasing diesel.
“Our plant uses six million litres of diesel per month to run generators after the promises to supply it with natural gas, which is produced in nearby gas wells, failed to materialise,” he told the delegation that included Mtwara Regional Commissioner Halima Dendegu.
The Dangote plant was built in Mtwara to take advantage of cheap natural gas that is extracted in nearby fields.
But Mr Duggal said the Dangote management and TPDC failed to agree on the prices after the latter insisted on charging them the prices they charge their Dar es Salaam customers.
“We resorted to importing coal from South Africa which is cheaper than the natural gas,” he said.
“The price of coal from South Africa is lower than the one set by TPDC on natural gas,” Mr Duggal noted without mentioning the prices.
For her part, Ms Dendegu promised to work on the matter, but wondered why no official complaints have been forwarded to the regional authorities.
“It seems there is a communication breakdown between the regional authorities and Dangote management. I have never even received a single letter detailing all these problems,” she said.
“During the construction of the plant, we used to communicate on various issues pertaining to the plant. Thereafter, there has been no communication,” she added.
The RC urged the Dangote management to officially forward its complaints to her office.
Mr Duggal also informed the delegation that despite its poor quality, the price of locally produced coal increased by 20 per cent after the government banned the plant from importing coal from South Africa. Coal is mined from Songwe Region, hundreds of kilometres away from Mtwara.