LHRC raises concerns about Tanzania-Dubai ‘controversial’ partnership.
The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) has raised concerns about the shortcomings of the partnership agreement between Tanzania and Dubai in developing Tanzania’s ports, including the onerous terms of the contract. The LHRC has provided recommendations and suggestions on how to address these deficiencies.
Dr. Anna Henga, the Executive Director of LHRC, stated in a press conference on June 13, 2023, that the agreement does not specify the ownership of the investment by the Tanzanian government or its citizens.
This lack of clarity regarding ownership raises concerns. It creates ambiguity, as it does not provide opportunities for Tanzanian citizens to directly own a portion of the investment through purchasing shares or government ownership.
"One company being given a wide scope of investment, Article 2 of the contract aims to enter into legally binding agreements for cooperation in the development, improvement, and operation of various areas, including seaports, economic zones (EPZs), large cargo storage areas, trade zones, and other strategically important infrastructure areas," said Dr. Henga.
Dr. Henga said it is evident that there is still confusion among the public regarding compliance with procurement procedures as required by the Public Procurement Act No. 9 of 2011.
According to Section 64 of the Act, any public institution intending to conduct procurement processes must use a competitive process under the law. This competition means openly competing with multiple institutions and ultimately selecting one.
LHRC's recommendations are based on the principles of Article 22 of the contract, which allows for contract amendments when necessary.
The suggestions focus on the government of the United Republic of Tanzania revisiting the contractual provisions that have legal challenges, especially those that have sparked significant public debate.
Amending the contract to clarify the conditions that will establish the stability of the contract, such as the "Stabilization Clause," is one of the recommendations.
For example, if there are tax-related conditions, it is essential to clearly define them to avoid any potential exploitation for personal interests and harm to public interests.
Article 23 addresses the duration and termination of the contract. The second clause of Article 23 stipulates the continuation of the contract even after its termination, arguing that the contract has been terminated beyond the stipulated period. Thus, the contract sets difficult conditions for its termination.
The LHRC also suggests explicitly stating the extent of ownership in the investment to enable citizens to understand the benefits that will be derived from the investment, especially in the implementation contracts of the project.
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