How President John Magufuli Opened Eyes of Academicians And Legislators in Tanzania

Academicians and legislators have described the probe report on copper concentrate exports presented to President John Magufuli as an eye-opener, on how Tanzania has been losing billions of shillings in the mining sector, calling for transparency in contracts between the government and investors.

Soon after findings of the scathing report were unveiled yesterday, share prices of Acacia Mining Plc at the Lon-don Stock Exchange (LSE) and Dar es Salaam Stock Ex-change (DSE) fell by 17.3 and 15.91 per cent, respectively.

And in a quick response, Acacia Mining, the major player in gold mining in Tan-zania, claimed in a statement that, “We declare everything of commercial value that we produce and pay all appropri-ate royalties and taxes on all of the payable minerals that we produce.

“Nevertheless, speaking in separate interviews, acade-micians pointed an accusing finger at foreign investors of cheating and exploitation.”

Had it not been for cheating Tanzania could have made it to the middle income economy and significantly cut donor dependency,” according to a don at the University of Dar es Salaam, Prof Humphrey Moshi.

Prof Moshi, who once worked at the World Bank as an economist, proposed for joint ventures between either the government or local investors with foreigners to re-tain part of profits posted by mining companies.

The report was presented to President Magufuli yes-terday by the eight-member team led by the Chief Ex-ecutive Officer (CEO) of the Geological Survey of Tanzania (GST), Prof Abdulkarim Mruma.

Prof Mruma’s team is one among two probe teams formed by Dr Magufuli last month to investigate the amount of minerals present in the concentrate and its value.In a telephone interview with the ‘Daily News,’ Prof Moshi said it was high time the contracts were made public to avoid cheating by conglomerates.

“It is also healthy if we put it as a requirement for foreign mining companies to form joint ventures with either the government or local investors, it is the best practice which is being implemented in Botswana,” he proposed.

The don as well suggested capacity building at the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) to enable the tax collector to conduct audits of revenues generated by multinational companies.

Reached for comment, the Chairman of the Tanzania Chamber of Minerals and Energy, Ambassador Ami Mpungwe, said he will comment after reading the full report.

“I have not seen the whole report and neither has our member Acacia. I, therefore, cannot make an intelligent comment at this moment,” he stated.

For his part, a political commentator at UDSM, Dr Benson Bana, said the study is an eyeopener of how “unscrupulous investors and public officials,” have been colluding to cheat the government of revenues.

“The report provides us with an empirical point of view; we are now aware of how we have been cheated and exploited in unfair play game,” he remarked.

Dr Bana hailed President Magufuli for forming the probe teams, noting that; “The President has taken a bold move.

It is not something we have been used to since many African countries have had a tendency of stooping low on foreign investors.”

In a statement yesterday, Acacia Mining, formerly Barrick Gold, said they will provide a further update to the market as soon as practical.

“Acacia has not yet seen the full copy of the report, which states that the value of minerals within the concentrates in the containers currently at the Dar es Salaam Port is more than 10 times the declared amount.

“We are seeking a full copy of the report and further clarification,” the company Manager for Investor Relations Giles Blackham, remarked.

From the designated capital of Dodoma, parliamentarians across the political divide unani- mously expressed their support to President Magufuli on the report.

The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Minerals, Mr Dotto Biteko (Bukombe-CCM) said his Committee has been getting a different government report on the matter.

“Ministry of Energy and Minerals officials were feeding us with false information depict- ing that all was well. Today, we have seen a very different report presented to the President,” he said.

Mr Biteko said that govern ment officials should take a les- son from the report that Dr Ma- gufuli is not taking things lightly and they will one day become accountable for their actions.

“I believe that all officials involved will be dealt with accordingly and as the presidential committee suggested,” he ex- plained.

The Chairperson of the Par liamentary Committee on In- dustry, Trade and Environment, Mr Stanslaus Nyongo (Maswa East-CCM) described the dos- sier as a shocker.

“It is hard to imagine the amount of wealth that we have been losing all these years.

It is a huge loss. Our leaders for years made us believe that there was nothing shoddy in the export of copper concentrate for smelting, but today we have found out that it is a big lie,” he said.

Kibamba legislator John Mnyika (CHADEMA) said the decision came late, propos- ing immediate review of the Minerals Act, 2010, and others which permitted exporting of mineral concentrate.

Mr Mnyika, who is also the Shadow Minister for Energy and Minerals, said the syndi- cate behind the cheating should also involve former ministers from the previous government.

Dr Faustine Ndugulile (Kigamboni-CCM) said that the presidential probe commit- tee has sealed the debate on the content of copper concentrate.

“Losing almost 1.4trl/- per month is not something small”.

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Source: Tanzania Daily News

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