APPOINTMENT of seven board members of the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) was revoked yesterday, with four senior officials suspended over sluggish performance and bribery allegations.
Minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office, Union Affairs and Environment, January Makamba, announced the revocation and suspension in Dar es Salaam, accusing some of the culprits of producing fake certificates of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for projects being undertaken.
The suspended officials are Manchare Heche, Deus Katwale, Andrew Kalua and Benjamin Dotto, with more others still under investigations.
“Others will follow as we continue receiving additional reports on their accusations,” Mr Makamba told reporters, hinting that he had appointed Dr Elikana Kalumanga from the University of Dar es Salaam, the acting Director General of the NEMC, pending President John Magufuli’s appointment.
Dr Kalumanga replaces Vedasto Makota who was also acting on the council’s top position. Mr Makamba stated that he has selected new zonal directors and shifted others to new workstations to improve performance and enable NEMC to cope with the speed of the government to realise the envisaged industrial economy by 2025.
“We had seen several weaknesses that deterred the speed of implementing the industrialisation agenda…but, instead of coming with solutions, NEMC has only been giving unfulfilled promises,” said the minister, citing delays in issuance of EIA certificates to the investors seeking to invest in the industrial sector as one of the council’s serious weaknesses.
He declared that from now onward the permission to set up the industry will be issued within three days as investor waits for the release of the EIA certificate. “We have noticed that it takes too long for investor to wait for the certificate before starting construction of the industry.
But, from now on, investors will continue constructing the industry as the EIA continues to remove delays,” he said. However, he cautioned that the investors should set up industries in areas allocated by the regional and district authorities for the purpose.
Under the new arrangement, investors in small and medium industries have been exempted from the EIA certificates, but they will only seek permission from the minister and NEMC to establish the structures.
Mr Makamba directed NEMC to deregister consultants who were operating unethically, following claims that some of them overcharged investors. The consultants offered services and produced write-ups that could enable the investor to acquire the EIA certificate, but it is alleged that they took advantage to overcharge the needy investors.
The minister said the government will introduce indicative fees for the consultants’ services to control investment costs in the country. NEMC’s Director of Finance and Administration Charles Wangwe has been recalled back to the Ministry of Finance and Planning, replaced by Adam Minja from the VicePresident Office.
Mr Makamba has appointed Ms Risper Koyi from the Office of the Vice President as acting Head of Legal Department in NEMC.