THE government will not review allocation of hunting blocks nor does it intend to do so since the exercise concluded in September 2011 was carried out in accordance with the Wildlife Conservation Act Number 5 of 2009.
According to a statement issued on Thursday in Dar es Salaam by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, an official list of 60 successful tourist hunting companies was made public in September last year, out of the number, 51 firms are owned by the indigenous operators and the remaining nine firms under foreign companies.
"Nonetheless, there has been conflicting reports that the ministry had received instructions from the State House. Such reports intend to undermine the reliability of professional hunting sector. The process will not be reviewed and the amendments that came to effect in 2008 are binding and will benefit the nation," reads part of the statement, signed by the ministry's spokesperson, Mr George Matiko.
A serious review of the governing regulations within the Wildlife Conservation Act was carried out resulting in 21 changes that allowed serious control of the discretionary powers of decision makers. The statement strongly refuted allegations published in a Kiswahili daily early this week that anonymous business personalities based in Dallas, Texas in the United States of America under the support of the State House, were pressing for immediate return of hunting blocks to all foreign tourist hunting companies that missed the allocation.
"Such claims are unfounded and Ikulu has never issued instructions to the ministry with regard to allocation of hunting blocks. All approved applicants have been certified by the concerned minister and letters of endorsement received from the ministry are legal documents," says part of the statement.
For example, before review of the Wildlife Conservation Act, professional hunting was carried out with numerous loopholes. These include unspecified size of hunting blocks judging from the abundance of the resources, lack of grades of hunting blocks, the uniform value of all blocks irrespective of the available resources and the director of Wildlife had all the powers to decide who should get and who should not without being obliged to take advice from anyone.
Another ambiguity that surrounded the sector included isolation of the indigenous professional hunters, as foreign firms were not obliged to form alliance. The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism will form blocks utilization monitoring committee whose members would undertake regular inspection of leased hunting blocks to assess the degree of adherence to the established laws and regulations for appropriate measures to be taken by the minister against any defaulters.