By Abdul Rahman Bangura–
NEW AFRICA DAILY NEWS (NADN) Freetown, Sierra Leone- The Mining Sector in the Eastern Africa nation is among the vital areas that have been felt by reforms and have participated to the development of Tanzania’s thriftiness during the first phase of the government of President John Pombe Magufuli.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicates that mining provided 15.3% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter (from January to March 2020), appreciation to the reforms that have been made. Also, the reforms have boosted small-scale miners, as the government through the Ministry of Minerals has been bringing mining silences to small-scale miners and put in place policies and policies for their empowerment.
Thus, the administration has legislated a law formulated to alleviate small-scale miners of the burden of paying the withholding tax of 5% and 18% value added tax. The motion enticed more small-miners to the business with the government publishing at least 78 mining licenses last year independently.
According to NBS, the mining sector reported the development rate of 15.3% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the growth rate of 10.0% taped during the related quarter of 2019.
“The growth was mainly attributed to an increase in the production of gold and silver. During the period under review, gold production increased to 12,404kg in the first quarter of 2020 from 8,656kg in the corresponding quarter of 2019,” reads part of the report.
Besides, production of silver increased to 3,128kg in the first quarter of 2020 from 2,856kg in the similar quarter of 2019. Salt production increased by 17% to 35,497 tones in the first quarter 2020 from 31,321 tones in the similar quarter of 2019. When tabling the ministry’s budget estimates for 2020/21, Minister for Minerals Doto Biteko said the government had also continued educating small-scale miners on better ways that they could play in the mining sector.
While global artisanal and small-scale miners have often not accorded with the attention they deserve as governments embrace large-scale mining firms at least in Tanzania the focus is shifting in their favor.
In doing so, the government also withdrew licenses belonging to the country’s two biggest mining companies, Barrick Gold Corp and London-listed Glencore Plc from the gold-rich areas in north-western to allow more than 5,000 small-scale miners to gain access to fields.
President Magufuli authorized the cancellation of big investors’ licenses in Mwanza Region to pave the way for small-scale miners.
This was done following the fact that for years, Tanzanians were not benefiting from the country’s natural resources, especially minerals due to dubious investors supported by corrupt government officials.
During the campaign for 2015 general election, Dr. Magufuli pledged to empower small-scale miners, revoke licenses for firms and individuals who breached the law and identified more special areas for small-scale miners.
He did the same after he was elected. As a result, more small-scale miners have been empowered.
One of the Mirerani-based artisanal miner, Mr. Saniniu Laizer, recently extracted about 15km of Tanzanite gemstone which he sold to the government at 7.7bn/-.
The new billionaire, who is now the talk of the town, commended the government for its efforts to help small-scale miners through which the 24km perimeter wall along Mererani mine was constructed.
“Unearthing the gemstone was one thing, but getting it safe until the point of sale is quite another. I attribute the successful sale of it to the security which is an innovation of President Magufuli,” said Laizer.
Laizer announced, there were people who were chuckling at the notion of establishing the 24km perimeter wall, mostly those outside the mine, but as for him and other miners, they found it to be a significant step towards their insurance and confirm what they got prevailed theirs to the end.
For New Africa Daily News Abdul Rahman Bangura Reports, Africa Correspondent