Dar es Salaam. An autonomous National Environment Management Council (NEMC) will be able to effectively address challenges facing Tanzania’s environment, experts said at the weekend, calling on the government to give the body more powers.
This entails changing the law so NEMC could be turned into the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) to ostensibly turn it into a regulatory body.
But the government believes the goal, which was proposed by experts during a meeting with the deputy minister of State in the Vice President’s Office (Union and Environment), Mr Musa Sima, at the weekend would also require that experts to start working as a team in the advancement of Tanzania’s development plans.
“If we turn NEMC into an authority, we will be giving it the powers to deal with a lot of challenges including the number of days that one spends in government offices before an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Certificate is obtained,” said the chairman for the Tanzania Environmental Experts Association (TEET), Mr Anael Macha.
Mr Macha, whose association has a total of 800 members from across the country, said currently one takes at least 140 days to acquire an EIA Certificate.
“If NEMC becomes an authority, it will also become a one stop shop for all the activities and thus reduce the number of days required,” he said.
His views were shared by a number of experts who took part in the meeting which was held at Millennium Towers in Dar es Salaam the weekend.
Responding to the issue, Mr Sima called upon the experts to build a strong unity that would make it easy for them to advance their views and entice the government to enact a legislative piece that would culminate into changing the law to legally change NEMC into NEMA [the National Environment Management Authority].
“If they cultivate unity and work as patriots as required by President John Magufuli, it will be easy for us to work out a legislative piece that will change NEMC into NEMA….By changing, the body will no longer
work like an advisor on environmental issues. It will work like any other regulatory authority,” he said.