Monday, September 25, 2017

Mererani mining site is now under police control

One week after President John Magufuli had ordered a wall building surrounding the fence of a mining site at Mererani in Arusha, the Police Force has with immediate effect positioned its officers in and around the site with a view to control the entire activities taking place.  and restrain any acts of theft of tanzanite gemstones that can only be found around that northern Tanzanian area. Manyara Regional Police Commander Francis Massawe said the police took action just as President John Magufuli gave orders to ensure the vital gemstones were not stolen, as it has proved to be the case in the past. RPC Massawe said they had since positioned themselves well, and that they could now observe meticulously all activities taking place within the mines from Block A to D in terms of mining as well as storage of the tanzanite gems. “As you are aware the president ordered the TPDF (Tanzania People’s Defense Forces) … through National Service to build a fence around the area. “A squad has already toured the area … and we have taken action to reinforce security in the area so as to control theft and any unlawful deals,” the RPC said.

A section of the Mererani mining site in Arusha-Tanzania.

The police were also observing security and defense over the whole area, making a close watch over all activities within the mining area and storage facilities to ensure everything was done “in accordance with the law and directives of the government,” Massawe added. On Tanzanite One directors that were arrested recently, the RPC said they were sent to Dar es Salaam for further interrogations – soon after local interrogations. A parliamentary select committee had found that while the global tanzanite trade for the last 12 years indicate that over 8.2trn/- worth Tanzanite had been traded, TRA documents show only 454bn/-, meaning over 80 per cent of the gemstones were exported illegally. During his tour here, President Magufuli ordered TPDF through National Service, to build a wall fence around Tanzanite blocks A to D at Mirerani tanzanite mines and install high-tech equipment to monitor mining activities, so the government can earn proper revenue. He also directed that trading in tanzanite gemstone should now be conducted in Simanjiro only, so as to promote trade and development within the area.

NASACO’s revival hailed by marine stakeholders

Key players in the shipping industry in Tanzania have welcomed the revival of National Shipping Agencies Corporation (NASACO), which was disbanded over two decades ago. They have also believed that it will play a crucial role to improve efficiency, reduce costs and curb cheating by some unscrupulous ship liners. Speaking in separate interviews some stakeholders accused ship owners of operating own in-house agencies, contrary to the law, expressing hopes that NASACO, as industry regulator, will address the malpractices. The Shipping Agency Act restricts ownership of shipping agents to 51 per cent by Tanzanians but many multinational shipping lines have established their own agencies, elbowing out local players from the lucrative industry. The Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa, on September 15, this year tabled for first reading in the National Assembly, the National Shipping Agencies Bill 2017, which seeks to establish the industry regulator.

Containers at Dar es Salaam Port in Tanzania.

The bill proposes transfer of all maritime regulatory functions from the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) to the new watchdog.  According to Prof Mbarawa, NASACO, formerly known as National Shipping Agency Corporation (NASACO), will act as regulator for the shipping industry and conduct business as an agent but only for mining consignments. “NASACO will act as an agent for all mining shipments and this aims at curbing cheating in the industry. The regulator is on the other hand designed to create fair competition in the industry,” the minister explained in a telephone interview. Former Secretary General of Tanzania Shipping Agents Association (TASAA), Mr Peter Kirigini, raised concerns over the industry failure to benefit indigenous Tanzanians over ten years since it was liberalized. “Most liners have their own agencies with offices in Tanzania but their operations are overseen from abroad,” Mr Kirigini, who is an expert in the industry revealed. The Secretary General of Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA), Mr Tony Swai, said the establishment of the regulator was long overdue.

China to provide Tanzania’s maiden Geopark

Tanzania is expected to receive help from the Republic of China which will provide Tanzania’s maiden Geopark with 10 million US dollars (over 22bn/-) financial support. The Ngorongoro-Lengai Geopark is earmarked to cover 12,000 square kilometres of rocky hills, lengthy underground caves, lake basins, hominid discovery sites and the active Oldonyo L’engai, Volcano. The Geopark will be the second in Africa, after the one in Morocco and the first South of the Sahara. Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) Conservator Dr Freddy Manongi says of the Geopark, “While tourists from America and Europe prefer game driving into National Parks to view wildlife; the Chinese and other Asians are different.” According to Dr Manongi, tourists from China, Korea, Japan and other Asian countries prefer seeing landscapes, mountains, caves, gorges and other geological features. He believes that the country will use the Geopark to attract visitors from Asia, with China alone offering a huge market of 1.4 billion people for Tanzania’s geology based tourism. “We are striving to expand the country’s tourism potentials by introducing attractions based on land formations, geology, history and geographical features, all packaged in singly as Ngorongoro-Lengai Geopark,” Olduvai Gorge Deputy Conservator Orgoo Mauyai explains. Olduvai is part of the proposed Geopark. The main economic activities in the envisaged Ngorongoro- Lengai Geopark is pastoralism especially along Maasai and Datoga, agriculture, tourism and small scale trading. 

“The Geopark theme is how local residents earn a living from these geological features without interfering with their natural settings,” stated Mr Nickson Nyange, one of the Public Relations Officers at NCAA. Ngorongoro Lengai is tipped to become a popular tourist destination for tourists visiting the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Natron and Eyasi as well as tourists to other national parks like Lake Manyara and Serengeti. The first ever sub-Saharan Geopark project was initiated by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) under the European Union (EU) funding. NCAA Cultural Heritage Department acting Manager Engineer Joshua Mwankunda says the EU has already floated 1.8 million Euros (over 4bn/-) as initial funding to the project. Identification and establishment of geo-sites are a result of territorial analysis by the Promotion of Earth and Human Heritage of Ngorongoro by valorisation of the Oldupai and from reserve Geologique of Haute de France with support and collaboration from local residents. The analysis produced a database of geo-sites mapped within the Ngorongoro-Lengai and Laetoli ‘Geopark.’ It also involved members from the district councils, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) and the National Museum. Antonym to National Parks, Geoparks are unified geographical areas that address the protection and use of geological heritage in a sustainable way while promoting social and economic well-being of the people within the earmarked locations.

Investments in Tanzania needs prior environmental impact assessment

NATIONAL Environment Management Council (NEMC) has started issuing provisional permits in three-day period in an ambitious drive to attract investments. According to NEMC acting Director General Dr Vedast Makota, provisional permits will enable investors to continue mobilizing materials prior to the project commencement. “Issuance of provisional permits aims at helping investors to avoid unnecessary bureaucracies in initial investment procedures as the council continues with Environment Impact Assessment (EIA),” Dr Makota explained. Dr Makota said the issuance of provisional permits in three days time will play a vital role in stimulating the industrial growth and development. “The provisional permit is critical to investors, it avails them with an opportunity to continue with preliminary works, pending other environmental evaluations,” he said. Dr Makota emphasized that the council will continue with its role of educating the public and investors on the importance of protecting environment. “Before production commences, an investor will be required to present to NEMC the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) as a requirement to meet environmental protection standards,” he stressed. Earlier, the Manager from the Science and Environment Institute of India, Mr Sujit Kumar Singh, who facilitated the programme said the training sought to enhance the capacity of participants to promote investments and yet preserve the environment. “The training will build capacity of NEMC employees in inspection and other related activities in real estates and mining,” he said. The training attracted 70 experts who received training on various techniques of inspecting without affecting investments and economic development activities. NEMC has introduced the technique hardly a week after Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) announced that investment climate in Tanzania has improved, with Direct Foreign Investments (DFIs) soaring as well. TIC Executive Director Godfrey Mwambe said in Dar es Salaam last week that the centre has simplified investment procedures by putting all the services under one-stop centre, with the goal of getting rid of bureaucracy and corruption. According to TIC data, in 2016/17 fiscal year alone, Tanzania registered investments worth 4.259 billion US dollars, topping in the FDI flow ranking in the Eastern African region.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Oil and gas local content to be out by November 2017

It is almost a decade now as Tanzanians have been waiting with much enthusiasm to see that Oil and Gas local content regulations is issued to the general public, but it is amazing to see that nothing comes out. At last the long awaited document will come into effect in November this year, the government has reliably said. The National Economic Empowerment Council (NEEC) acting Director of Local Content Esther Mmbaga said in Dar es Salaam on Monday this week that both the policy and law are in place and the government is only finalising the regulations. Speaking to the ‘Daily News’ on the sidelines of the first oil and gas annual congress, Ms Mmbaga said a lot of work will be needed to build local capacity skills for effective participation in the new oil and gas sector. The government will work closely with investors to ensure successful implementation of local content in the country,” she said. Ms Mmbaga explained that investors will need to provide information on what they need in terms of skills, products and services and, NEEC in collaboration with training institutions, will provide Tanzanians with the required training to attain the needed international standards. Currently, the government is conducting a baseline study to identify the competence of Tanzanians to participate to the oil and gas sector before coming up with short and long-term plans to bridge the gap of capacity and skills.

The on-going exploration in Tanzania Indian Ocean sea

“The law requires that Tanzanians be given priority in employment opportunities in the sector, in terms of providing services and direct jobs. But, this will only be achieved if we have skilled and capable Tanzanians,” she explained. The director noted that in case of skill deficiency in the country, the contracted foreign companies would be required to get into joint venture with Tanzanian companies, “the idea is to transfer technology and skills to local Tanzanians.” During discussions, the Country Chairman of Pan African Energy Tanzania Ltd, Mr Patrick Rutabanzibwa said the local content regulations are in the interest of Tanzania and investors, offering a viable way to maximize profits from the industry. “Consultation with all stakeholders on the issue of local content is key to successful implementation and maximizing profit,” he explained.  Ponticelli Group Business Development Director Vicent Ladougne said local content is beneficial for both the country and investors in terms of increasing local employment and maximizing profits. Mr Ladougne whose group is in construction across Africa said employment of citizens from the countries in which construction works are executed is inevitable. “The local content has always been our priority in all the countries we work in. Our aim is to minimise costs of bringing in experts, we maximise local employees through training,” he explained. He added: “Our biggest achievement is training thousands of locals in areas that we need, this way we cut down on costs of bringing in foreign experts.” Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) Gas distribution manager, Mr Thobias Rwelamila assured investors that whatever is done, the government will collaborate with all stakeholders.