Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How MPs joined hands over Magufuli’s stance on minerals

It was something extraordinary as all Members of Tanzania’s National Assembly joined hands in the debate over the issue of mineral mining and dubious deals that miners have blackmailed the government. The President’s bold move to protect national resources has not only sparked a hot debate in the on-going parliamentary budget sessions to foresee the 2017/18 budget proposals, but also  the law makers have become furious and put aside their party’s ideologies. All Members of Parliament (MPs) supported the courageous move by the Head of State, but some opposition members maintained that the ruling party is to blame for all the blunders, especially in the mining sector. Mr Japhet Hasunga (Vwawa-- CCM) sought the Speaker’s guidance on the possibility of passing a parliamentary resolution to commend and support the President’s efforts to ensure that the national cake is benefiting all Tanzanians. Speaker of the National Assembly, Job Ndugai responded swiftly, ordering the Parliamentary Steering Committee to convene and advise him on the matter. The Committee approved the proposal and advised the Speaker, accordingly. “The Committee has agreed with the proposal to pass the resolution to commend the President for the great job he is doing... I therefore order that the resolution be brought here tomorrow (today),” said Mr Ndugai before he adjourned the morning session, yesterday. MPs on CCM ticket, debating the budget proposals which they described as historic, said it was critical for the nation to come together and “fight this war collectively,” instead of continuing with witch-hunting. Mr Nicodemus Nsanzugwanko (Kasulu Urban -- CCM) said the country has been excessively “eaten” and it is time for all Tanzanians to unite and fight for their resources. “... and they have stolen from us not only minerals but almost all sectors with money,” he said. John Heche (Tarime Rural --Chadema) vowed to mobilise his constituents to invade the North Mara Gold Mine as long as the second report on the export of mineral concentrates has declared Acacia Mining Plc an illegal entity in the country. 


Tanzania's National debating chamber in Dodoma designated capital city

“I am serious on this... I have started mobilisation works. Tarime residents have suffered and some have died on the hands of these looters... these are thieves and we know how to deal with them because there is no formula on handling thieves,” fumed the legislator. But, the Deputy Minister for Health, Community Development, Elderly and Children, Dr Hamis Kigwangalla, cautioned the lawmaker against his violent approach, the country still embraces the rule of law. “The mine invasion is not an appropriate approach, this country respects the rule of law,” he said. Munde Tambwe (Special Seats-CCM), speaking emotionally, asked all Tanzanians irrespective of their political parties and religions to unite and collectively and successfully fight the tough war against the looters of the country’s resources. The proposed 40/- fuel levy per litre instead of the motor vehicle licence fee was among issues that attracted heated debate with proponents dismissing as unfounded claims that the charge will harm the poor who will be obliged to pay for the motorists. Ms Tambwe condemned what she described as discrimination in development, saying when it comes to paying taxes for development, everybody is responsible. “We all pay railway levy but is there a railway line in Mtwara... and is there anybody who is not using the road,” she queried. Ahmed Shabiby (Gairo --CCM), declaring his business interest in the matter, said the 40/- levy will no way increase the cost of transport. “Sumatra issued the indicative fares in the past five years but no transporter has reached the ceiling fare due to stiff competition,” he said.

Magufuli directs RCs on the industrialization drive

PRESIDENT John Magufuli has directed regional commissioners to supervise implementation of industrialisation plans in their areas which will increase employment opportunities and allow the public to add value to their crops. President Magufuli issued the directives yesterday at State House in Dar es Salaam when he met and had talks with regional commissioners from Tanzania Mainland. He directed every RC to work on available opportunities of establishing industries in her/his respective region and woo prospective investors to make maximum use of the opportunities. He cited an example of Coast Region where since the Fifth Phase Government came into power, 83 large-scale industries had been constructed and other 120 small-scale industries built. 

President John Magufuli chairing a meeting with Regional Commissioners at State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

The regional commissioners were also directed to increase effort in solving land conflicts as well as repossessing idle land in their regions. “Repossess idle land and reallocate it to those who are ready to develop it, but this must be done through following proper legal procedures,” President Magufuli said. In addition, President Magufuli warned the regional commissioners against people plotting to usurp land, creating shortage of agriculture land for farmers and grazing areas for pastoralists, stressing that the culprits should be exposed and the land repossessed. The President told the RCs to resolve conflicts between farmers and pastoralists and encourage the public in their regions to work hard to produce enough food in the areas. The RCs commended the President for his efforts in fighting for Tanzanian interests, especially the downtrodden, assuring him of their support in all areas including controlling national resource thievery such as minerals and wildlife. Among those in attendance during the meeting include Vice- President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, Attorney General George Masaju and Chief Secretary Ambassador John Kijazi.

Tanzania government slaps travel ban on minerals suspects

THE State has slapped a travel ban on all former government officials mentioned in the second report on export of copper concentrates presented to President John Magufuli on Monday. The Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Mwigulu Nchemba, wrote on his instagram page on Monday evening saying: “There is no patriotism that exceeds protection of national resources. . . Congratulations honourable President for displaying high level of patriotism by protecting national resources with actions. ” The Minister added: “I order all officials mentioned (in the report) not to travel outside the borders of the country, except under special government permit. I order all security apparatus to implement the President’s directive with utmost attention and high level of professionalism.” The Minister confirmed issuing the order yesterday when contacted for comments by the media. “Yes, I have issued the order as the message reads on my instagram page. They will not be allowed to travel until State apparatuses complete the task,” Nchemba responded in short. The Police Force, on its part, has vowed to reach every former government official mentioned in the second report. Police Spokesperson Advera Bulimba said no stone will be left unturned until all officials mentioned in the report are summoned for questioning on their involvement in the rot. “When the directives are issued, it becomes our responsibility to implement them. The implementation of the directives is now going full throttle as we speak,” she said. Asked further about the duty, the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) replied: “We cannot divulge details about this operation. We don’t want to spoil our moves or disturb our strategies.” Presenting the report to President Magufuli on Monday, the Chairman of the probe team, Prof Nehemiah Osoro, recommended summoning and questioning of officials involved in the shoddy mining agreements, through which the nation incurred huge losses amounting to between 68.6tri/- and 108tri/- in revenue from exporting mineral concentrates from 1998 to 2017. Some of the individuals featuring in the report include former ministers for energy and minerals -- Daniel Yona, the late Dr Abdallah Kigoda, Nazir Karamagi, Wiliam Ngeleja and Professor Sospeter Muhongo. Others are former commissioners of minerals -‑ Paulo Masanja and Dr Dalaly Kafumu, as well as Acting Commissioner of Minerals Ally Samaje. Featured too are former AGs (by virtual of which they were chief state legal advisors) Andrew Chenge and Johnson Mwanyika. The list also includes former deputy AGs, Felix Mrema and Sazi Salula as well as the heads of the contracts department, Maria Kejo and Julius Malaba. The report proposed legal measures against workers and owners of mining companies for violating the country’s laws. The team that presented the second report on Monday consisted of economists and legal experts. It was formed by President Magufuli to establish the amount and value of copper concentrates exported since 1998 to 2017 for smelting. Having received the report, the President upheld the ban he imposed on exportation of copper concentrates. The report recommended for review of all Mineral Development Agreements (MDAs) by Bunge, initiating the process to have a smelter in the country and payment of all outstanding taxes and royalties. Meanwhile, Acacia shares have tumbled by over 40 per cent since the gold concentrate saga rocked the nation in the last one month. The shares went down to 7,800/- yesterday from 13,260/- on May 12 as investors see a bleak profitability future in the days ahead.

Former Tanzanian government officials to be interrogated over dubious contract deal

PRESIDENT John Magufuli has directed the security apparatus to summon and interrogate all officials who were mentioned in the second report on the export of mineral concentrates. Among them are former cabinet ministers who entered into shoddy Mining Development Agreements (MDAs) with mining companies, occasioning loss to the country in taxes between 1998 and 2017. Others are former Attorneys General (AGs), their deputies, former commissioners of minerals, directors of contracts departments, lawyers in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals and others who participated in the drafting of the agreements, as well as provision and renewal of mining licences. Speaking at the State House in Dar es Salaaam yesterday morning after receiving a report from an eight-member team led by Professor Nehemiah Osoro, Dr Magufuli said he endorsed all its recommendations. The Osoro-led committee also proposed that legal steps should be taken against workers and owners of the biggest mining companies, Freight Forwarders (T) Limited for contravening the country’s laws. Some of the individuals featuring in the report include former ministers for energy and minerals - Daniel Yona, Nazir Karamagi,Wiliam Ngeleja and Professor Sospeter Muhongo. Others are former commissioners of minerals Paulo Masanja and Dr Dalali Kafumu, as well as Acting Commissioner of Minerals Ally Samaje. Featured too are former AGs (by virtue of which they were chief state legal advisors) Andrew Chenge and Johnson Mwanyika. The list also includes former deputy AGs, Felix Mrema and Sazi Salula as well as the heads of the contracts department, Maria Kejo and Julius Malaba. “ I hereby direct intelligence and security officials to summon all the individuals who have been mentioned in this report and interrogate them, as a preamble to taking appropriate legal actions,’’ he said. The mining companies that signed vague agreements with the ministry of Energy and Minerals, according to the report, are Bulyanhulu Gold Mines Limited (Kahama Mine Corporation Limited), North Mara Gold Mine Limited and Pangea Gold Mine Limited - all of which are under the Acacia Gold Mine Plc as well as Geita Gold Mine Limited (AngloGold Ashanti Limited). Dr Magufuli furthermore called for a review of the Mining Act, directing lawyers in the ministries of Energy and Minerals, as well as Justice and Constitutional Affairs to work together to make important amendments that will help the country to benefit from the natural resources. “Our country is endowed with a lot of natural resources but our people are still languishing in abject poverty because of some people who subordinate individual gains to national interests,’’ he said. He blamed some officials who ignored potential investors who had shown interest to build smelters in the country. The Head of State said the country needed investors who were ready for conducting business under win-win arrangements and not exploiters who had been siphoning the country’s resources. He asked the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Job Ndugai, to explore the possibility of squeezing amendments in the law within the ongoing parliamentary budget session. “Even if this entails extension of the session for an extra week, I am ready to give you the go-ahead and give you full support, to enable us amend our legislation for the benefit of our country,’’ he added. Mr Ndugai, who also attended the report’s handing over function, said the House was ready to overhaul the law, adding that he also intended to form a team for overseeing the country’s diamond business as he did relating to Tanzanite. In an interview with the media, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Professor Palamagamba Kabudi, said he would facilitate the amendments of the Mining Act as directed by the Head of State. The president accepted all the committee’s 20 recommendations.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Rains wreck havoc road infrastructure in Dar city

DAR ES SALAAM city’s infrastructure assets of about 5.3 billion US dollar (over 11.6tri/-) are at risk of projected flood impact due to climate change. This, according to United Nation (UN) survey, need to be prevented due to the fact that Tanzania, Dar in particular, bears the heaviest burden as the most flood-affected country in East Africa bloc. “No disaster is entirely ‘natural’. Risk presents the very real possibility of a disaster; disaster itself is often a failure in development planning,” World Bank said in a statement yesterday. WB said to mitigate the disaster in making, a multi-stakeholder conference will be held for three days from today. The symposium will also be used as a launching pad for Tanzania Urban Resilience Programme (URTZ), which is part of the Understanding Risk (UR) Community. The partners behind the URTZ are led by the UK Department for International Development (DfID), the WB, and the government of Tanzania aimed at improving the country’s resilience to climate risk. According to a UN survey, more than half of humanity now lives in cities, and over the next 90 years 95 per cent of global urban growth will occur in developing and emerging countries. While this growth is bound to alleviate poverty, generate wealth, and fuel global prosperity, cities are struggling to keep up, dramatically increasing the concentration of people and assets exposed to risk. In East Africa, Dar es Salaam, in particular, is the largest and fastest growing East African metropolitan area. 

A street with flooded water that makes motor vehicles' drivers to negotiate their way in downtown Dar es Salaam. Lack of proper drainage system has exacerbated the  situation to become worse.

 The WB hoped that this technical meeting will facilitate discussion on opportunities that the programme will offer under its three priorities. The priorities are risk identification, risk reduction, and disaster preparedness and emergency management and will further forge connections between programme implementers for improved collaboration and sustainable mitigation of climate-related risk. In addition to technical meetings, the conference will include a high-level regional symposium on “Greening Africa’s Cities: Enhancing the relationship between Urbanisation, Environmental Assets, and Ecosystem Services.” The symposium will consider the impact of urbanisation on the environment in Africa and measures that can be undertaken to promote a more harmonious relationship between the built and natural environments to build a resilient future for African cities. Recent research and analysis undertaken on this crucial but under- examined area will be presented, and important initiatives which African cities have begun to take to put themselves on a more sustainable development trajectory will be discussed. UR is an open and global community of over 6,500 experts and practitioners interested and active in the field of disaster risk identification— risk assessment and risk communication.