Dar es Salaam — President John Magufuli yesterday commissioned the Mirerani wall and pledged to employ 2,000 volunteers, currently serving in the National Service, who built the 24.5km long wall in record time of three months in Simanjiro District, Manyara Region.
The Head of State also promised to recognise 321 army officers for their outstanding service during the implementation of the project.
Speaking at the event yesterday, Minerals minister Angellah Kairuki revealed that the government collected a total of Sh714 million in taxes from small tanzanite miners just between January and March, 2018.
In comparison, she said, this collection was several times higher than Sh169.5 million recorded in 2015 and Sh71.8 million collected in 2016.
President Magufuli said he was satisfied with the outstanding performance of the army in implementing the project, spending only a half of the allocated time.
"For the youth; operation Jakaya Kikwete and operation John Pombe Magufuli who were all smiles when the CDF [Chief of Defence Forces] was speaking here, I will discuss with the CDF and Inspector General of Police (IGP) to ensure that you are recruited in our security organs," he told them, adding, "I have nothing to give you, employment is the only reward I can give you for your outstanding performance."
The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces ordered the army to man the wall 24 hours even after completion of the project, warning that no private security company should be handed the task. He said a study conducted in 2015 in Block C showed that the area had 1.759 million tonnes of tanzanite, as per the current rate of exploiting 54,000 tonnes annually, the extraction of the gemstone was expected to run for 27 years up until 2042.
Giving the project background, the head of the National Service, Major Gen Martin Busungu said 20 national service companies were deployed to implement the project between November 2017 and January 2018. He said the whole project cost a total of Sh5.645 billion, Sh784 million more compared to Sh4.862 billion estimated by the Ministry of Minerals.
During the survey, it was found that the wall had a total length of 24.5 kilometres, that is, 3.4 kilometres more than the 21.1 kilometres estimated by the ministry, hence explaining the difference in cost of construction.
At the same event, President Magufuli issued Sh100 million to Jumanne Ngoma in recognition of the man who discovered tanzanite gemstones.
The Head of State described Mr Ngoma as "a hero of the nation who has for long been forgotten and neglected."
Some of the Sh100 million, President Magufuli said, should help in the treatment of Mzee Ngoma who is now half paralysed.
"Mzee Ngoma is a veritable Tanzanian hero. But what did he get after discovering tanzanite about 50 years ago? Nothing. Nothing at all. In fact it is people from other countries who have benefited more from this unique gemstone," President Magufuli said.