President John Magufuli came out strongly yesterday, condemning encroachment by herds of cattle from neighbouring countries into reserved forests.
He ordered the seizure of all the illegally grazed animals within the preserved lands as per the country's legislations. Dr Magufuli asked the neighbouring countries to replicate similar move against livestock from Tanzania grazing in their respective reserved forests.
"We are determined to enforce good land management and uses...we must create environment of respecting our re served forests," President Magufuli said as he launched Bukoba Airport in Kagera region.
He explained that Tanzania had been turned into a grazing land for animals from the neighbouring countries. "Let me tell you the truth... Tanzania has a huge area but not for feeding animals from outside the country," he insisted.
The president's statement came amid reports that livestock from the neighbouring country had entered Burigi game reserve in Kagera region. The government has been working on registration of all animals in the country to establish the needs for grazing land.
But, entry of animals from outside the country disrupts the government data, leading to excessive number of cattle against the size of allocated land for grazing. President Magufuli warned individual owners of formerly public ranches to use them productively instead of hiring the facilities out to other pastoralists, saying the government will take them back for reallocation to serious investors.
He thanked donors, especially the World Bank, for their appreciation of the good work by the government. The bank has provided 57 million US dollar for expansion works on three airports--Kigoma, Tabora and Bukoba. Bukoba airport had about 32bn/-.
"They have given us the loan because they believe in our ability to repay...they couldn't release the money knowing that will cannot repay," Dr Magufuli said.
The bank's Programme Leader, Mr Andre Bald, acknowledged that the country's economy is growing at a good pace, saying Tanzania is among the fast growing economies in East Africa.
"I want to tell you that our economy is among the three best economies in Africa," chipped in Dr Magufuli, adding: "I will be surprised hearing one coming out to criticise even the World Bank, which respects our economic growth." Bukoba Airport construction that covered 1.5 kilometre runway, with an imposing building has been completed.
The airport's passenger lounge is ranked third after Julius Nyerere International Airport and Kilimanjaro airport. Dr Magufuli directed the ministry of works to explore the possibility of extending the airport runway two kilometres to match the status of its building.