SEVERAL members of Parliament yesterday expressed support for President John Magufuli’s actions to fix up the mining sector in the wake of the second report on mineral concentrate exports delivered yesterday by a probe team comprising economists and legal experts.
But those directly implicated in the report opted to remain tight-lipped when approached for comment at the National Assembly grounds here.
Bariadi West MP and former attorney general Andrew Chenge (CCM), who was among those named directly in the report, declined to talk to the media when approached a few minutes after the morning parliamentary session.
Chenge, who was chairing the House session when the report was being presented by State House in Dar es Salaam, looked as cool as ever as he addressed the group of journalists who surrounded him.
“I am not ready to say anything…I am not even ready to respond to your greetings,” he said shortly.
Former energy and minerals minister William Ngeleja, who is also mentioned in the report, chose to avoid the subject directly and instead blamed the current situation in the mining sector on poor implementation of the laws of the land.According to the Sengerema MP (CCM), the Mining Act of 2010 provided for periodic reviews of mining contracts, but implementation was the root problem.
“I prefer not to comment on the contents of the report or the actions of the president, but what I can say is that the law should have been implemented better,” Ngeleja said.
Igunga MP Dalaly Kafumu, also named in the report, said he had nothing to say for the time being “as I am among those waiting to be interrogated.”
“Maybe after I have been interrogated, I will respond on the issue,” Kafumu added.
Mufindi South MP Mendrad Kigola (CCM) saluted the president for the “bold step” that has unearthed how foreigners are ‘looting’ the nation’s mineral resources.
“We are here debating a 31 trillion/- budget while some people smuggle 60 trillion/- out of the country...this is unacceptable,” Kigola said.
He called on all Tanzanians to pray for Magufuli to win the battle.
Vunjo MP James Mbatia (NCCR-Mageuzi) also supported the president’s move, but added that a lot more action is needed to fix up the mining sector, instead of just complaining about the situation.Mbatia said parliament must share some of the blame for the situation since it is the legislators who passed the laws that have led to the current mess.
“It is bad laws and poorly negotiated mining contracts that have brought us to this point... and President Magufuli was part of the same parliament that passed the bad laws,” the NCCR-Mageuzi chairman asserted.
Special Seats MP Rhoda Kunchela (CHADEMA) also acknowledged that the president has taken a good step and called for the laws to be reviewed “for Tanzanians to benefit fully from the country’s natural resources.”
Msalala MP Ezekiel Maige (CCM) noted that the mineral concentrates issue touches his electorates directly since the Bulyanhulu mine is within his constituency.
He said Acacia owes the Kahama district council 2.4trn/- in taxes. “That money would help us push some key social projects,” he added.