Socioeconomic Impact Evaluation of Madimba Gas Processing Plant in Mtwara, Tanzania.
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Recently there have been huge discoveries of natural gas in Tanzania. Different natural gas exploration and extraction projects have been carried out in the country. One of the major projects implemented is the Tanzania Natural Gas Infrastructure Project. It included the construction of Madimba and Songosongo Gas Processing Plants and a natural gas transportation pipeline from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam. The Madimba Gas Processing Plant is the largest gas processing facility so far in the country with 210 mcf. Such projects are mostly related to solving the country s power crises, increasing the government revenue and developing the export business (LNG). However, not much is being said about those challenges and opportunities created by the projects to the society. To bridge that gap, this study was conducted to evaluate the socioeconomic impacts of the Madimba Gas Processing Plant to the Madimba Ward in Mtwara Region. Through the set-out research questions and theories, four issues were answered. First through literature review, I presented a framework with which the socio-economic impacts were evaluated. The framework contained eleven socioeconomic indicators. Secondly, the framework was used to evaluate the socioeconomic impacts of the project. Thirdly and fourthly, the challenges hindering positive socioeconomic impacts and opportunities to influence them were identified. A pre-identified qualitative research methodology was used. The methodology included interviews, observation, documentary analysis, literature review, category interpretation and thematic analysis to produce, interpret and analyze data to answer the research questions. The study found out that the overall positive as well as negative socioeconomic impacts of the project were very low partly because this evaluation has been done early-on when the project is still on its infancy stages. Low direct and indirect employment rates in the community were due to low skills level among the community members and low wages. The project had a small number of local suppliers compared to all the suppliers because most local suppliers lacked experience in the natural gas industry. Small businesses, indigenous population and the rate of price fluctuation did not have significant changes, also the social well-being of the community had not been impacted negatively by the project because of low migration of people to Madimba Ward. Some initiatives were being taken by TPDC to build local capacity and improve infrastructure and services since the current built capacity was very low and infrastructure and services were poor. The project had just started leading to the rise in the local government revenue through the payment of service levy and providing market to an oil and gas company which helped it increase its revenue hence service levy paid to the local government. The social well-being of the community had not been impacted negatively by the project. And the community did not perceive the project as theirs rather TPDC s because it was less involved in planning and decision making in their community s development programs. Therefore, community s rate of satisfaction was low.Main challenges identified were lack of skilled labour, lack of enough transparent communication and involvement, limited market for natural gas. Lack of skilled workers restricted the increase in the rate of direct employment at Madimba Ward. The study also found out that each socioeconomic impact has an opportunity to be improved. Generally, the main opportunities were high labour availability, community involvement and development plans and initiatives to attract investors. The recommendations made to improve socioeconomic impacts of future gas processing plant and similar projects are building human capital through education and vocational training, community involvement and development, transparency and communication, creation of investment opportunities.