MINING stakeholders have expressed satisfaction with reforms undertaken by the government in the mining sector which have seen challenges facing the industry being addressed by almost 80 per cent.
They said that changes instituted in the sector in a period of one year since the miners, mineral dealers and other stakeholders presented their challenges to President John Magufuli is a reflection of the government’s commitment in ensuring that all Tanzanians benefit from mineral wealth.
Federation of Miners Association of Tanzania (Femata) President Mr John Bina told delegates of the two- day Tanzania Mineral and Mining Investment Conference that started in Dar es Salaam yesterday that following the reforms, miners were currently conducting their activities in a smooth environment and contribute fairly to the country’s economy.
“All the challenges cannot be resolved at a go but the government has resolved most of the challenges in the mining sector …almost 80 per cent of the problems have been addressed,” he said.
In a meeting held last year between President John Magufuli and mining stakeholders, a section of miners raised several concerns, including multiple taxes which they said were a stumbling block in the mining business, and absence of mineral markets which encouraged smuggling of minerals and establishment of a mineral bank.
“We commend President Magufuli for his relentless efforts to ensure that Tanzanians reap better benefits from the mining sector by working on the challenges facing the stakeholders,” he said.
Mr Bina added that the Min ing Act which was amended in 2017 was currently friendly to mining stakeholders, making the country an ideal investment destination.
He called upon investors to come and invest in Tanzania’s extractive industry because the country had favorable laws and policies for investors.
Minerals Minister Mr Doto Biteko said that the government had addressed concerns raised by miners and mineral dealers, including waiving some taxes which they said were affecting the establishment of mineral trading centres as they requested.
“The government has worked on all your concerns but this does not mean that all challenges facing the sector have now been fixed because new ones are emerging, but our task is to ensure that we work on them,” he said.
He assured miners, mineral dealers and investors that the government was committed to address problems in the minerals sector to facilitate smooth operations in the mining business.
Mr Biteko said that it was the government’s expectations to see the mining business being conducted in a transparent manner, miners were no longer being frustrated and they pay taxes voluntarily to enhance the country’s development.
Ugandan State Minister of Minerals Development Ms Sarah Achieng said that Africa and East Africa in general was richly endowed with a variety of minerals that had not been explored.
She said there was a need to put in place strong policies and laws to regulate the sector so that it can benefit the public and the government in general.
“Without strong laws and regulations in place there can be a lot of exploitation and at the end of the day we may not be able to benefit as people and government,” she noted.
She stressed the need of working together as a regional bloc so as to have uniform regulations for the sector.
During his meeting with miners, businesspersons and other stakeholders at Julius Nyerere Convention Centre (JNCC) in Dar es Salaam on January 22, last year, President Magufuli said it was high time taxes imposed on the mining sector were removed in order to encourage miners to pay tax and reduce chances of tax evasion.
The Head of State noted that taxes imposed on miners were “unacceptably high” and would wish to see them revised in Parliament under the certificate of urgency.