Resource discoveries often result in expectations of rapid growth, but also major concerns for increasing corruption. The resource curse literature puts a strong emphasis on the need to build capable and robust institutions in anticipation of resource windfalls; an emphasis that has received much policy attention in the cases of Africa's new oil producers such as Chad and Ghana. In the context of Tanzania's recent offshore gas field discoveries, this study demonstrates that uncoordinated public policy and a lack of regulation on lobbyism are important challenges for petroleum governance. The Tanzanian Government failed to reach a unified, coordinated policy position and bureaucratic competition was rife. Citizens in general felt bypassed in the process of developing the new petroleum laws, while local businesses and the local chapter of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) came out ahead in the “lobbying game.” Interestingly, multinational companies did not actively lobby at the legislative level, but exerted influence via their technical expertise within the government administration. Existing literature on the resource curse has so far not examined how policy coordination and lobbyism matter for petroleum governance. The authors argue that existing models for analysing the behaviour of interest groups need modifications to explain how lobbyism works in a country like Tanzania.

Odd-Helge Fjeldstad

Research Professor, Coordinator: Tax and Public Finance