ARUSHA, Tanzania, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Sunday gave a piece of coal-rich land to Nigerian investor Aliko Dangote so that he produces his own coal to power the 650 million-U.S. dollars Mtwara cement factory.
Speaking at the official launch of the 580 trucks, which are used by the Nigerian investor to transport cement from the southern region of Mtwara to the rest of the country, Magufuli gave a seven-day ultimatum for the Ministry of Energy and Minerals to ensure that the land in Ngaka Coal mining area is available to the Dangote cement firm to start production of its own coal.
Magufuli also directed the ministry to ensure it links the Dangote cement plant with natural gas as soon as possible so that the investor produce at minimum low costs and people buy the product at the cheaper price.
He assured the Nigerian and other investors in Tanzania that his government was ready to assist them any time they need assistance.
Africa's richest man Dangote also expressed his satisfaction with the way Tanzania was doing to investors saying his cement plant will produce two million tonnes by the end of this year and three million tonnes by next year.
During that time, he said his plant will create more than 20,000 job opportunities and the price of cement will also go down from 6.71 U.S. dollars to 4.47 U.S. dollars per bag of 50-kg.
The new development will be a relief to the investor who in the past used to import coal from South Africa, which is cheaper than natural gas, a move that has greatly upset top government officials in the Magufuli-led government, primarily because Tanzania also possesses substantial deposits of coal. In August, the government banned the importation of coal from South Africa.
Tanzania, East Africa's second-biggest economy, has made big natural gas discoveries and has coal reserves of up to 5 billion tonnes, but lacks the infrastructure to deliver the energy to major factories.