NATIONAL Environmental Trust Fund Board (NETFB) aims at collecting at least 200bn/- a year to fund a wide range of ambitious environmental conservation programmes and projects.
NETFB Chairman Ali Mufuruki, speaking in an exclusive interview with the ‘Daily News’ here over the weekend, described environmental conservation as a national task that needs sustainable financial arrangements and flows.
He said all preparations were in top gear for the board to officially take off, saying NETFB already has a number of objectives for implementation as soon as it receives its first budget and other financial contributions.
“We anticipate to kick off with at least 200bn/- annual funding that will be allocated in strategic programmes whose successes will largely contribute in sustainable conservation of our valuable environment and natural resources,” he said.
He mentioned some of the areas that the fund will benefit as forest researches, scholarly publications on forests and conservations topics, scholarships for present and future environmental scientists and national committees on environments, among others.
According to the chairman, heavy investments in environmental researches and conservation programmes were of paramount importance, with the fund targeting to ensure higher learning institutions play the key role in the agenda.
He said the board is determined to remain well revitalised and motivated taking into account that since it was initially established in 2004, it had remained idle all the time mainly due to lack of reliable resources apart from the political will.
Expressing his concerns on the issue of resources, Mr Mufuruki said there were quite a number of levies charged from some goods and services but allocated in avenues not associated with the environment.
“These levies should now be channeled through this fund to enable it implement its objectives fully,” he said, thanking President John Magufuli for reviving the crucial board and giving it the mandate to execute its legal functions.
One of the challenges that the board, state and non-state actors need to work on aggressively is the change of public mindset on who to blameand what to do- when the environment is destructed beyond repair. Mr Mufuruki dismissed as baseless the common perception that industrial activities were the main contributors to severe environmental pollution nationally and globally.
Environmental pollution by industries was one of the main topics at the two-day national forum on environment, with almost all speakers, citing human activities and individual recklessness as the factors behind alarming environmental pollution.
One of the speakers, Dr Felician Kilahama, a retired Director with the Forest and Bee said sadly for many years, forest conservation was neglected. “We had the conservation wardens who were tasked to guard the forests but the cadre was gradually phased out. It could be appreciated if this important cadre is reinstated and funded to execute its duties,” said Dr Kilahama.