16 February 2013

Tanzania: State Mulls Using Army in Fighting Poaching

Arusha — THE government mulls using the military and heavy weaponry to fight poaching in the country, the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism has said.

Addressing a press conference shortly after meeting with stakeholders in the hunting industry on Thursday, Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki said different ideas and suggestions cropped up during the meeting on how to address the issue of poaching.

He said some of the stakeholders proposed that the government use the military to fight poaching of wild animals, noting that the idea will be taken on board for consideration and looked at in a broader sense to ensure such a move present long lasting solutions.

Other issues discussed include challenges stakeholders in the industries face, which include bureaucratic red tape by state officials that make investment difficult in the country. "We had a fruitful meeting with stakeholders in the hunting industry, we discussed extensively and brainstormed on ideas that will help address poaching and challenges they face as investors," he explained.

Lengthy paperwork and a horde of licences is also another challenge that was raised in the said will be looked into to make investing in the country easier. "They explained that it's much harder to invest here than our neighbouring countries, without mentioning any names, because of a lot of bureaucratic red tape and a lot of licences needed before establishing a venture," he added.

He concurred with the stakeholders that such lengthy processes and documentation that investors must go through is not healthy for business in the country, noting that his ministry will work to make investment environment more favourable.

The minister urged the stakeholders to help the government fight poaching in their areas of investment, adding that leaving the fight to the government alone will not achieve the goal of curbing poaching. He said poachers have extensive networks within and outside the country and use sophisticated weapons com- pared to local authorities fighting them.

"We are seriously considering using more advanced weap- ons in the fight to counter the poachers who use sophisticated weapons," he noted. The minister also said that his ministry has started reviewing existing laws governing wildlife and before the end of the year, recommendations will be presented to the Attorney General.

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