Mirerani — As the government gears to establish a tanzanite processing zone, the move has been proved essential as most of the jewel is smuggled, resulting in revenue losses.
Local leaders here have volunteered information that out of about 2,000 companies engaging in tanzanite mining, a mineral that is only available in Tanzania, do not pay taxes to the Simanjiro District Council as required by the law.
Endiamtu Councillor, Mr Phillemon Oyogo and Tanesco Street Chairman, Mr Justin Sarakikya, 'Ngumee' said the investors are getting the precious jewel without being accountable in terms of taxes.
Mr Oyogo (Chadema) said if all respective dues were paid to the district council, Simanjiro would be much developed, providing social services and tak ing people out of poverty.
Addressing reporters who toured the mining area, the councillor said there are more than 1,960 registered companies operating at Mirerani in Manyara Region, but only 10 out of them pay the required dues.
Mr Oyogo said that the non-compliance has resulted in poor service delivery by Simanjiro District Council, questioning why such a situation is tolerated while in other areas, companies were shouldering their responsibilities by making local towns prosper.
He said that he was armed with documents from the council of companies that pay the levies as passed by Simanjiro councillors. He added that it did not ring into the mind why only 10 companies pay taxes, calling upon district authorities to take swift action so that the government gets its fair share.
He hinted that the matter will be tabled before a full council meeting here so that new and urgent directives are issued to contain the situation sooner than later. "The Simanjiro District Council is having tough time in carrying out its daily duties to the community due to lack of sufficient funds, while we have one of the wealthiest mines in Tanzania. It is time to act to redress the situation," said Mr Oyogo.
Commenting on the same, Mr Sarakikya said it was absurd that day-to-day calls by the central government on traders to pay taxes was ignored by the small-scale investors. "What we hear from these people are only complaints against huge scale investors and their quest to cover more areas.
But, they make money through their mines and do not bother to pay the required taxes," said the chairman.Mr Ngumee said if the situation is not properly addressed it would count to double standards, something he said is not the picture that the district and Tanzania as a country has to show.
He noted that as days unfold, names of companies and people engaged in such shoddy deals, making millions of shillings but pay none, should be unveiled so that everybody shoulders the responsibility as envisaged by the laws and rules of the country and local government authorities.
Manyara Regional Commissioner (RC), Dr Joel Bendera said recently that 500 acres have been set aside at Mirerani for a processing zone of the gemstones and all tanzanite will have to pass through the place.
The centre dubbed 'Umambe' will operate along the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) so as to improve economy of the district, region and country as a whole.