Govt warns forest conservationists

THE government warned forest conservationists, who are not ready to uphold values and ethics of the profession to ensure that the country’s forests are protected, to find another job.

The warning was sounded by the Permanent Secretary in the, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Hassan Abbasi, who insisted that  days are numbered for conservationists embracing business-as-usual attitude

Speaking over the weekend, when he met with the Tanzania Forest Services Agency (TFS) management, Dr Abbasi said the government is not ready to see anyone obstructing conservation efforts in the country.

“Forestry sector is crucial for economic growth as it generates billions of money and today, I want to let you know that you are serving the sacred sector. The source of life is found in forests,” said Dr Abbasi.

“If we mess up with our forests we will all perish and this tells us that we need to stand vigilant to protect our forest resources,” he said.

On his part, TFS Conservation Commissioner Professor Dos Santos Silayo spoke of numerous strategies they plan to use to make sure they effectively carry out their responsibilities.

He said the conservation agency remains committed to expose its staff to paramilitary training, with a view to improving efficiency in the protection of forest resources.

Prof Silayo further disclosed that the conservation agency is mulling over plans of equipping its officers with firearms in the quest of protecting forest resources.

This is the second time Dr Abbasi meets with the management of TFS since his appointment with the aim of providing guidance, including laying emphasis on the directives issued by the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Mohamed Mchengerwa, a few weeks ago when they visited the agency together.

So far, Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA) and Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) are the conservation agencies that have since embraced the paramilitary system.

The departure from civilian to paramilitary system by the conservation agencies not only seeks to protect natural resources, but also to instil discipline in the institutions, which falls under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

Launching the paramilitary unit at Fort Ikoma, in November 2018, President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who was then the Vice-President, expressed her optimism that combating of poaching would boost tourism sector by attracting more visitors.

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