Just a day before President Jakaya Kikwete chairs a private sector meeting today, IPP Limited chairman Reginald Mengi has hit back at the minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo.
Dr Mengi, who is also the chairman of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), but who spoke on his capacity as a businessman, yesterday came out in self-defence over allegations of greed and selfishness that Prof Muhongo levelled against him, in a bid to clear the air before today’s meeting. Speaking to journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Mr Mengi said there was a problem in a statement given by Prof Muhongo about him.
“I would like to clarify the matter so that I don’t go to the meeting tomorrow (today) with statements made by Prof Muhongo uncorrected,” he said. “The truth is that I am not selfish, secondly I have never asked for any favour to be given blocks of natural gas, but I fight for Tanzanians in general,” he said.
During a public symposium held at University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Prof Muhongo, who was among the presenters, highlighted some data that showed number of Tanzanians who own big areas of investments in mining sector, whereby he noted that Mr Mengi was holding a third position by having a site with a size three times Dar es Salaam city.
“However, he is doing nothing to benefit Tanzanians, instead, he is enriching himself,” Prof Muhongo said. But, yesterday Mr Mengi reacted to the allegations, saying Prof Muhongo gave wrong statistics and data about his ownership of mining site.
“The truth is that I own the sites under shareholding with my fellow Tanzanians; one mining site fo tanzanite with a size of less than one square kilomitre, and not three times the size of Dar es Salaam as he said,” he opposed.
He added: “I would like to insist that I have personally got big opportunity to develop in business, and now what I fight for is to extend opportunities so that many Tanzanians can participate as it is stated in National Economic Empowerment Act,2004, which provides special priority to citizens on their natural resources.”
He was optimistic that today’s stakeholders meeting of private sector would enable acquiring resolution on how the private sector would empower Tanzanians in various economic spheres.