Tanzania: Laizer's Feat Epitomizes Wish to Create Local Billionaires

PRESIDENT John Magufuli's first five-year term is ending in style having registered great success in the mining sector, and increased revenue collections.

During his tenure, the country recorded 59.2 per cent revenue growth in the first half of the last financial year, witnessing his bold steps being implemented to ensure the natural resources are controlled locally.

Analysis shows that revenue collection in the sector soared to a record 470bn/- up from an annual average of 196bn/- on the past four years, thanks to the sweeping reforms in the lucrative sector initiated by Dr Magufuli.

The government has carefully laid out its plans to boost the mining sector in the country and has since become one of the sectors earning it most foreign currencies along with tourism.

Since he came to power in 2015, President Magufuli has been exceptional in the world in different initiatives, prompting some world leaders to commend him with some adopting his strategies for their own economic and social gains especially the recent way he handled the Covid-19 pandemic without lockdown.

In the course, the country has adopted robust measures, within legal and operational lines to ensure it gets optimum benefits from its natural resources that were being plundered by foreigners assisted by some few dishonest locals.

Some of measures he took included the construction of a 24.5-kilometre perimeter wall around Tanzanite mines in Mirerani Hills, Simanjiro District, Manyara region in Northern Tanzania.

The effort resulted in safeguarding mining centres in every mine-producing region and stepping up value addition efforts.

President JPM also initiated vital changes, necessary for a robust Tanzanian success story, where the government came up with One Stop Mineral Centres, where smuggling is kept off and government revenue is collected on the spot.

The Fifth Phase Government that is winding up paving ways for the coming general election in October, this year has overseen significant monitor of Tanzanite trafficking, in turn boosting production to rise from 145 kilograms in 2017 to 781 kilograms the following year.

Recently, an artisanal miner, Mr Saniniu Kurian Laizer, a Tanzanian fulfilled President Magufuli's promise of converting poor Tanzanians into billionaires after unearthing two Tanzanite stones weighing 14 kilogrammes, being the biggest in the world.

The Government bought both for 7,744,152,703.82/-, a record that has been set since establishment of the mines.

In response, the Minister for Minerals, Mr Dotto Biteko and his Natural Resources and Tourism counterpart, Dr Hamisi Kigwangalla with an advice from President Magufuli, announced that the two minerals, which weighed nine and five kilogrammes, respectively, would be preserved by the State as tourism attractions and earn the country more money.

However, government authorities report the growth of the mining industry to be 10 per cent from negative growth of 5.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2018, and attributing it to the production increase in gold, copper, and diamonds. Available data indicate, gold production rose to 8,656.16 kg in the first quarter of 2019.

There are about 28 operation trading centres located mostly within minerals rich regions of Mwanza, Geita, Arusha, Namanga, Kahama, Shinyanga, Mara, Singida, Mbeya, Tabora, Kigoma, Dodoma, Manyara, and Dar es Salaam.

To realize that President Magufuli' held a special meeting with mining industry stakeholders at State House in Dar es Salaam to receive their complaints, and advised that the ministries responsible work on them professionally.

In Geita, where potential gold lies, the region has gone up in contribution to the government, from $ 10.6 million in 2010/2011 to $ 49.8 million in 2018/2019. Local miners are now given priority.

The most recent amendments to Tanzania's mining sector include four key regulatory changes enacted in February last year, relating to the country's Local Content Regulations.

The Local Content Regulations follow the amendments of the Mining Act, 2010 through the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act, 2017 that brought in the local content requirements.

The company must be incorporated in Tanzania; Tanzanian citizens must hold at least 80 per cent of the company's executive and senior management positions and 100 percent of its non-managerial and other positions.

Equally, CCM Election Manifesto 2015 - 2020 pledged to initiate reforms in the mining sector to ensure that it contributes more to national income with the government taking the lead to control the system and curb thefts.

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