Tanzania: PM's Sentiments On Mining Sector Issues Fundamental

ONE of the reasons why the memories of many Tanzanians on Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, the founding father of our nation, are consistently alive, is that, he was foresighted.

One of the things on which he was solidly opposed was segregation based on factors like race and tribe.

He periodically reminded us that, those who attached much premium on those factors were hollow-minded individuals, stressing that all human beings were essentially eq ual.

In everyday life situations, examples abound of the fact that, on positive aspects like academic brilliance and kindness, as well as negative ones like robbery and rape, it would be grossly wrong to relate them exclusively to Europeans, Asians, Arabs or Africans. So is the case with people belonging to different ethnic groups.

Foreign investments into Tanzania should partly be viewed against that background. Under the colonial set up, economic exploitation by foreigners was the order of the day.

Come independence, successive post-independence governments have been grappling with the challenge of how best a j udicious balance can be struck on the issue. Many lessons have been learnt to that end.

One of the lessons has been that, for a long time, a highly tricky foreign business class had been giving us a raw deal.

Factored into the picture had been the unpatriotic citizens who had been manipulating their positions to reap huge financial and associated benefits under the foreign investment umbrella.

The Fifth Phase government has earned credit locally, continentally and world-wide, for making positive reforms in the foreign investment sector, to address anomalies under which the nation was being grossly short-changed.

A win-win situation is now the much-sought ideal.

The mining sector, in which monkey tricks were glaringly manifest by way of the country being grossly short-changed, is one of the examples, via reforms, for which the government has earned much praise.

It is important, however, that, whenever problems that may spoil the show emerge, they should be swiftly addressed.

Onto that imperative fits the directive by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa to law enforcers (while closing a seminar on the protection of the country' s mineral resources in Dodoma at the weekend) to refrain from arbitrary arrests of mining sector investors.

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