THE second probe team led by Professor Nehemiah Osoro presented its report to President John Magufuli on Monday, throwing away any shadow of doubt that all is not well in the mining sector.
The report drove the final nail onto the coffin of mining firms that quickly dismissed the first report in a bid to save face.
The second report by an eight-member team revealed that Tanzania lost between 68.6 trillion and 108.5 trillion/- in revenues from exporting mineral concentrates from 1998 to March 2017. It also established that the missing earnings were a result of mining companies evading paying income tax, withholding tax, royalties and costs for vessels to load and offload at the ports.
This comes after the first probe team recommended that the government reinforces a ban on mineral sand exports until the right royalties are paid to the State, while investigations and legal steps are taken against employees involved.
The first probe committee revealed that all minerals found in the 277 containers, including gold, silver, sulfur, copper and strategic minerals, are worth between 829.4bn/ and 1.438trl/-. The report went on to unearth massive misrepresentation of figures and mineral content in containers that were being exported by mining countries.
What is clear up to now is that all the reports from the two committees set up by the President reveal gross thievery and misrepresentation to an extent that we have been taken for a ride for a long time. Judging from the revenue that was lost, the country could have migrated to a middle economy by now.
What is painful is that the ordinary person is wallowing in poverty while very few individuals are benefiting from the country’s natural resources. So many development programmes could have been undertaken using these funds had they ended up in government coffers. The move by President Magufuli is the right step towards taking the country to the next level; hence he needs support.
It is a battle that he cannot win alone but with the help of all Tanzanians. This is the time for opposition camp politicians to be, for once, patriotic and desist from opposing everything. They are Tanzanians first and opposition legislators second, so they should put on jackets of patriotism and stand for the country.
They should not repeat what they did last time after the first report when they suddenly turned devil’s advocate as they blasted the government for demanding what rightfully belongs to Tanzanians. It is high time every Tanzanian plays his or her role to support President Magufuli in this fight. We have been robbed enough and the time is now for demanding what rightfully belongs to us. Together we will conquer.