Tanzania loses 400bn/- in mining over last decade
Findings of a new study on gold mining operations in the country launched yesterday have revealed that the government lost an estimated USD400m (more than 400bn/-) over the last ten years in low royalties, unpaid corporation tax and tax evasion.
The study, entitled: “A Golden Opportunity – How Tanzania is failing to benefit from gold mining,“ was jointly undertaken by an independent association called Reference Group formed by researchers, legislators, religious leaders, and civil society organisations.
The research was carried out over the last three months, and members of the Reference Group went through all gold mining sites, before compiling the report.
The study reveals that over the last five years, Tanzania exported gold worth more than USD2.5bn (approximately 2.5tn/-), but received only USD21.7m (21bn/-) a year in royalties and taxes while the expectation was to get USD100m (over 100bn/-) annually.
Speaking during the launch of the report that documents the findings, some members of the Group said Tanzanians were not benefiting from gold resources because tax laws were favouring multinational mining companies.
They advised the government to review mining policies and amend laws governing mining activities in the country to ensure that the sector benefits the majority and boosts the national economy.
A member of the presidential commission formed to probe mining contracts, Zitto Kabwe said more efforts were needed to ensure that mining sector supports the development of other sectors.
“The government is lacking a development strategy which results into Tanzanians continuing to be poorer despite their country being among the largest gold producer in Africa,“ said Kabwe.
A Dar es Salaam lawyer cum researcher, Tundu Lissu, said the country`s economy was liberalised under the auspices of international multinationals whereby investment and tax laws were revised so that they favour foreign companies.
Another member of the Reference Group, from the National Muslim Council of Tanzania, Salum Fereji, said authorities in the country were not doing enough to stop thieves from plundering the country`s natural resources and wealth, leaving the majority to languish in abject poverty.
Tarime legislator, Chacha Wangwe, called for transparency and democracy in mining operations in the country, insisting on activists and all Tanzanians to play an active role in pushing for change.
“It`s now time for both of us to disclose anything wrong within the mining sector because we are the sources of change,“ said Wangwe.
Bishop Peter Mtura from the Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT) said that most of the villagers and the environment in some areas where mining sites were located had been adversely affected by chemicals, as dirty water was left to enter rivers and streams.