Saturday, May 25, 2013
Muhongo defends STAMICO against small miners, clarifies the issue of Buhemba gold mine
THE Minister for Energy and Minerals Professor Sospeter Muhongo yesterday dismissed claims that, the National State Mining Corporation (STAMICO) has monopolized mining areas earlier set for small scale local miners in some mining sites in the country. Professor Muhongo made a clarification when he was responding a query by Simanjiro legislator Christopher Ole Sendeka (CCM) who wanted to know reasons why the national state corporation has taken away mining areas which had been set aside for small scale miners in the country as per the revised mining Act of 2010. Ole Sendeka was contributing to the ministry’s budget estimates for the 2013/14 financial year which he said has outlined little benefits for small scale miners from their mining sites. However, Ole Sendeka is on the view of the fact that the government does not value small scale miners in most mining sites in the country. He demanded a clarification from the minister giving examples in his Simanjiro constituency there were areas which are rich in Tanzanite and Ruby gemstones and that these mining areas had been agreed that they should be given to the small scale miners to operate, but unknowingly the ministry does not give a maximum cooperation to solve their woes. Giving another example of what happened on Wednesday this week at the Buhemba gold mine site when small scale miners confronted with the STAMICO officials who had removed away small miners from their places originally placed. Minister Prof. Muhongo clarified the issue by saying that, STAMICO were legally operating in the area as it was still holding a valid licenses and that, since the Act was revised they were holding such licenses which according to the law was impossible to snatch them unless legal procedures could be followed. Responding to the query, however, the minister said that, he had already consulted the Chairman of the leader of the security of Buhemba small miners and told him to have already allocated his group to another area to continue with their operations as usual. Earlier, Ole Sendeka urged the government to listen to the irate Mtwara residents who went on rampage in protest over the constriction of a 542 Km gas pipeline from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam mid this week, and also has urged all residents to sit down and air out their grievances and see how these would be solved instead of going on streets for nothing. Contributing on Buhemba issue of small miners, an MP for Musoma rural Nimrod Mkono has expressed his disappointment over what the government has not done to the people surrounding the Buhemba gold mine which he said the preceding investors had polluted the environment with chemicals which have resulted deaths to livestock and some people have lost their lives. He named the Meremeta company after completing its operations in the area, had left some chemicals which have scattered all over the sources of people’s livelihood causing poisons which he said has left many hazards which are affecting his people up to now. He said that, after consulted with the government officials, they sent a team of experts who came to investigate the matter and see the situation in mining site but still the situation is has improved yet. In view of this, he was pleading for the government to take severe actions to remedy the situation. Earlier when contributing to the budget for the ministry, Lolesia Bukwimba (CCM) said that, the government should direct its efforts to look at the welfare of the small miners as they need more capital to invest their businesses. However, she said that, harassing them is a way to cause problem with them.On the rural electrification process, legislators have called on the government to hasten rural electrification in order to save the majority of Tanzanians whose areas are still in darkness. Contributing to the budget, most legislators have called on the government to increase the money to increase a money set for Rural Energy Agency (REA) so that it might facilitate the rural electrification process for the people in rural areas. Contributing to the budget estimates for the 2013/14 financial year, the legislators Devota Likokola (CCM) and Lucy Mahenge (CCM) have urged the government to concentrate more in rural electrification in order to speed up rural economic development. They have noted that, the amount of Sh. 150bn/ for set for the rural electrification projects throughout the country is not enough to run all the projects in the country which according to the statistics by the ministry proves that, electricity in rural areas has covered only 2 percent. William Ngeleja (CCM) has urged the government to continue supllying iuts electricity in mostly economically viable areas so that the people in those areas might increase production. However, he has thanked the goivesrnment for what it has done forv the last one year whereby the inflation rate has reduced to currently 9 ;percent from 18.9 percent it had for the last 12 monthgs.