THE government has been asked to spend half of the 9.5bn/- allocated for small miners in the country this financial year to construct a miners building that will be used for both local and international gemstone and mineral shows.
Chairman of the Eastern Zone of Tanzania Small Gemstone Dealers Organisation (TASGEDO), Mr Paulo Mbwambo, said at the weekend that the proposed building would promote trade in gemstones and industrial minerals in the country.
Speaking at the annual meeting of TASGEDO held at the Destafano Hotel in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, Mr Mbwambo said the proposed building, should have a conference hall that will be used to showcase Tanzanite, sapphires, ruby, diamonds and industrial minerals such as copper, iron, nickel and uranium.
"All Tanzanians with gemstone or industrial minerals would be able to bring to the show for foreigners to purchase easily and consequently enable the government to increase its revenue," Mr Mbwambo explained. On the recent announcement by the Ministry for Energy and Minerals on changes for fees by miners, the TASGEDO chairman said the idea has been floated and implemented without consulting them.
"Worse, the changes were just too high for small scale miners and gemstone dealers", he argued. The ministry has increased Primary Mining Licence (PML) from 50,000/- to 100,000/-. Broker's licence had been raised from 320,000/- to 800,000/-, export licence from 550,000/- to 1,200 US dollars (about.1, 800,000/-) and export permit from 25,000/- to 100 US dollars (about 150,000/-) per annum.
"This is not fair to local gemstones dealers but it could be ideal to foreigners who have big capital. We advise the Ministry for Energy and Minerals to reduce the fees," TASGEDO chairman appealed. He requested the ministry to call for a joint meeting between the ministry and minerals' stakeholders so as to get their views and opinions on the new fees with the express hope of reducing them.
Mr Mbwambo noted that even the previous licence fees were beyond the reach of some gemstone and minerals dealers, leading them to lose their mineral plots. Furthermore, he added, there is too much delays in issuance of mineral licences leading to many mineral plot conflicts, he added.
TASGEDO, he suggested that application for licence should take between one and three months and that broker licence regulations should be uniform, from one zone to another and allow two brokers to get one broker licence.
"Currently, two brokers can get a licence in Arusha, three brokers can get one in Mtwara but four brokers seeking a licence in Dar es Salaam can't get it. We do not want this disparity. The law is the same for all the regions, why should there be a rough playing field? We want equal service under the law," Mr Mbwambo said.