Great expectations: Citizens' views about the gas sector

Citizens are significantly misinformed about the potential of the country’s gas deposits. Almost 2 out of 10 (or 17%) think that they will be employed in the sector. Using current population data this suggests that four million jobs are expected by ordinary citizens. As a comparison, the gas sector in Norway only employs 240,000 people. People also expect that, in ten years, total gas revenue will amount to TZS 7.5 million per person; the most optimistic projections put this figure at TZS 2.5 million, or just a third of popular expectations.

In general, citizens do not have access to full information about Tanzania’s gas sector: more than half (53%) think that gas from the new offshore discoveries is already flowing (projections indicate that 2025 is the earliest this can happen), and six out of ten believe that both the Government and foreign companies are already earning revenues from the gas (this will happen when gas is ready for end use).

Overall, 6 out of 10 citizens (59%) think that the natural gas deposits will improve their lives and a similar number (58%) expect that the Government will invest gas revenue into public services. In 2013, 8 out of 10 citizens expected the gas finds would lead to improved living conditions for themselves and their children, so this shows a reduction in optimism about the benefits of gas

These findings were released by Twaweza in a research brief titled Great expectations: Citizens’ views on the gas sector. The brief is based on data from Sauti za Wananchi, Africa’s first nationally representative high-frequency mobile phone survey. The findings are based on data collected from two rounds of calls. A total of 1,562 respondents across Mainland Tanzania (Zanzibar is not covered in these results) were reached between October and December 2013 and, more recently, 1,316 respondents were reached in April and May 2015.

In addition to new jobs and more money, more than half of the people (51%) expect the gas deposits to bring them a stable electricity supply (currently just over 10% of the population is connected to the national grid). Slightly less than half (46%) expect more affordable cooking gas.

But citizens are also skeptical about how gas income might be shared. More than half think that people in Government (33%) or the wealthy (22%) will benefit most from the gas revenues. In 2013 more people (31%) thought all citizens would benefit equally than in 2015 (22%).

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Authors: Angela Ambroz



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