Tanzanian President John Magafuli.
By Sauli Giliard
PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday placed the Ministry of Minerals in the line of fire, tasking its top leaders and Constitution and Legal Affairs Minister, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, to ensure they sign the mining regulations by this Friday–specifically so that the newly enacted Mining Act takes full effect.
The president also replaced Mr Benjamin Mchwampaka, the commissioner of Minerals with Prof Shukrani Manya from University of Dar es Salaam’s Geology Department, revealing that the former had failed to do the job.
The newly appointed commissioner (Prof Manya) would also be the acting Chief Executive Officer of the Mineral Commission. Without mincing words, the Head of State affirmed that he was shocked to learn that the executives at the ministry were ‘just sitting’ on the regulations, seven months after he endorsed the law.
Dr Magufuli instructed top leaders at the ministry to ‘shape up or else ship out’ and that he wasn’t impressed with their performance. The Head of State pointed out the failure by the ministry’s executives to sign the regulations was thwarting the country’s efforts to protect its natural resources.
Speaking at State House shortly after swearing-in Mr Dotto Biteko as a Deputy Minister of Minerals yesterday, the president said he thought things would work out fine after the changes he recently made but it was soon ‘back to business as usual.’
“This law was passed by Parliament and I signed it since July, last year… until now, seven months have passed, you have not signed its regulations to pave the way for its implementation. “There is a minister, deputy minister, commissioner who is a key advisor, directors…… all are there… we, in the government, have got big problems,” the enraged president stated.
According to him, it seems that some appointees do not understand what he, Bunge and wananchi want and reminded the public officials to reject appointments if they think they cannot deliver.
“… I stopped auctioning of Tanzanite of half a tonne in the midnight … you can’t auction the whole gemstones since would have not get deserved royalties in absence of regulations. The auctioned part enabled the country to generate 1.8bn/-. No more gemstone auction until regulations are signed,” he insisted.
The President concurred with Speaker of Parliament Job Ndugai that government has been implementing Bunge’s recommendations including establishing Ministry of Minerals to separate it from energy sector but his executives are letting his government down.
Meanwhile, President Magufuli directed the Ministry of Agriculture officials to make sure that all regions identified as food basket of the country including Rukwa get fertilisers by Friday, this week.
Furthermore, he directed Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa to make a follow-up on the matter saying that if the directive will not be executed, the responsible officials would have no option other than resigning.
“Farmers want fertilisers and this is a right time. It is sad that fund has been set aside but until now farmers haven’t received fertilisers, especially from Rukwa, where we depend on food… how would they produce?” he queried. He reminded government officials to work accordingly, reiterating he would not hesitate to sack whoever fails to deliver for the interests of Tanzanians.