Monday, July 25, 2016

Researchers: Extractive industry to face a bleak future in Tanzania

Although Tanzania is proud of being endowed with vast and valuable extractive resources, the government is likely to loose as much revenues more than it had anticipated due to lack of transparency, a researcher has observed. Dr. Martin Kijazi who is an independent consultant at Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) made a concern last week in Dar es Salaam at a policy forum breakfast debate which was held at British Council Hall in Dar es Salaam. He said lack of transparency about the available resources in some parts in the country still surrounds the mindset of the majority of the ordinary citizens in the country. Dr. Kijazi was presenting the preliminary research findings of his own research study titled, “The role of local institutions in accountable natural resource management”. The full study reports will be made available soon. In his earlier findings, the researcher has discovered that, “there is a great weakness on accountability especially in the natural resource management as many ordinary Tanzanian citizens do not know exactly how the extractive industry operates and the contribution of their incomes to the national budget”. He noted that, there is a tendency of hiding the truth about the sector and this is a challenge as most officials are reluctant to give information concerning with the natural resources management and the exploration activities currently going on in some parts in the country. He attributed the attitudes of most officials as being resentful and do not want to cooperate effectively whenever are contacted to give comments or clarifications over the matter. However, he noted that, there are concerns that Tanzania’s lucrative extractive industry is not generating adequate revenues to the national coffer and at the same time is not contributing significantly to poverty reduction strategies amongst the people. Although he praised the Tanzania Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (TEITI) for its role in increasing transparency, but the firm does not guarantee accountability. On his part, the Program Manager responsible for East and Southern Africa programs for Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) Silas Olan’g has cautioned that as long little continues yo be attained from the extractive industry, the government needs to review the laws and policies governing the exploration activities. 

Extractive industry in Tanzania is likely to face a bleak future

Ola’ng is on the view of then fact that, as the government is now working effectively to ensure good output from the extractive industry and in view of this a change of policy in the mineral sector is necessary for some changes to take place. “We still have a room to improve our policy and if possible change our laws so as to make the sector work with greater profits. We need to make a dialogue and come up with something useful” he said noting that, Tanzania should emulate Uganda which discussed their mining policy for two years.  “Most government officials are not transparent over the incomes and expenditures incurred to ascertain how the country uses its natural resources in alleviating poverty, education and many other things of national interest”, he said. A discussant over the matter who is a retired University professor has said that, the much awaited production economy of the natural gas whose exploration is still going on in southern Tanzania now for the seventh year, will not alleviate poverty stricken situation amongst citizens in the country. Professor Adolf Mascarenhas was contributing his views over the topic that sparked a hot debate and noted that, working together in transparency as Tanzanians is a sole means to alleviate the persisting poverty stricken situation in the country. A retired Professor has called on Tanzanians to wake up and see to the production of gas in the country and have all the details in hands instead of politicizing about the matter which would later on put a nation in danger. He is of the opinion that, the politicians and the local people must work together in close ties to ensure that the natural wealth such as gas is publicly addressed and not leaves the matter for the few to make decisions.

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