18 June 2017

Tanzania: Academicians Add Weight to JPM Sand Praise Crusade

Photo: The Citizen
President John Magufuli has met with Prof John Thornton, Chairman of Barrick Gold Canada, parent company of Acacia Mining to discuss the mineral sand saga at the State House on Wednesday.

Following the release of the second mineral sand report, the Tanzania Higher Learning Institutions Organisation (TAHLISO) has appealed to the government to carry out a review on the existing laws and policies governing the area to safeguard the country's natural resources.

Through a forum on the perception of higher learning students on the matter in Dar es Salaam yesterday and broadcast live through the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC), the academicians arrived at the conclusion that a special team of legal experts should be formed to handle the task.

In his contribution, a student from the Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT), Salum Maulid, was of the view that a review of the laws and policies on minerals be conducted, placing a special emphasis on reducing the powers of those mandated to enter into sensitive contracts.

"These stories that we have been hearing and kept going on for years that Tanzania is a poor country are false, based on the two issued reports ... with the lost revenues, by now, the country should be far," said Maulid.

Another student from Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy (MNMA), Geoffrey Malila expressed concern that once a team is going to be selected to handle the review process, then a large percentage should comprise legal experts.

Rostika Boniface from Open University of Tanzania (OUT) recommended that similar initiative to end the vices should not only touch the mineral sector, but areas such as gas and natural resources, among others.

"With proper supervision of our laws and policies, Tanzania would have gone a long way. The lost resources could impact on the lives of most Tanzanians who do not have a clear vision just because they did not go to school due to hardships," noted the student.

On the other hand, others were quick to conclude that the President should not settle for any cheap negotiations, since Barrick Gold's Executive Chairman decided to travel all the way to settle the matter, they should dish out a commitment fee before the discussions begin.

Among the views, include the involvement of local experts in the construction of a smelter and putting emphasis on the direct benefits to be granted to those living in areas where the mines exist.

Other recommendations consist of holding accountable the involved parties in the shoddy deals hindering the government to benefit from its natural resources.

One Omary Kitwala observed that the government should be on alert with investors claiming to be operating on loss and those leaders who swear to stand still to the leadership principles and turn to do the contrary.

TAHLISO Chairman, Peter Kadugalize warned their counterparts who are defending the evils to stop doing so because it's embarrassing.

"At times like these when the country is at stake, we should all stand as one and support the good efforts of the President," he said.

Dr Magufuli formed two committees in April to investigate the controversial export of mineral concentrates and tasked them to come up with proposals on the appropriate measures to pursue, to reverse the exploitative trend in the country.

Prof Abdulkarim Mruma chaired a committee that investigated the amount and types of minerals in the concentrates, while Prof Nehemiah Osoro led team conducted the profit-loss analysis in the mining sector since the exports started in 1998.

President Magufuli in response ordered swift measures against all the culprits linked to the atrocious deals, including an overhaul of the mining legislation and contracts.

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