Geita. The presidential candidate of the ruling CCM party (Chama Cha Mapinduzi), Dr John Pombe Magufuli - popular simply as ‘JPM’) - yesterday explained how the mining sector improved its performance and promised to allocate more areas for small-scale miners.
Dr Magufuli - who addressed a campaign rally at the Kalangalala Grounds in Geita town - said the mining sector was on track after increasing controls through laws and regulations. He also said that he would continue to ensure that Tanzanians benefit from their God-given natural resources.
“If I’m re-elected, I will allocate more areas for small-scale miners, provide them with licences and training as well as capital,” said Dr Magufuli.
Tanzania made reforms in the mining sector by amending the Mining Act, and enacted two new natural resources-related laws to ensure the country gets a fair share from the sector.
The reforms attracted criticism from the stakeholders who claimed that Tanzania might be nationalising mining. Dr Magufuli said the reforms paid off for the government and small miners and helped control minerals smuggling.
For instance, gold sales from small-scale mining increased from 337.48 kilogrammes worth Sh22.5 billion in 2016 to 4.66 tonnes worth Sh375.5 billion in 2019.
The government royalty from the artisanal miners also jumped from Sh1.2 billion to Sh22.5 billion during the same period. He said the sales of minerals for large-scale mining also increased from $607.3 million in 2016 to $949.8 million in the year to May 2020 while royalty from the large-scale mining doubled from $23.4 million to $56.8 million. Geita Region houses large-scale miners such as Geita Gold Mine and has a gold market.
Dr Magufuli also promised to make sure that every zone has tourism activities unlike the current situation where the sector is dominated by the northern zone. One of the newly-formed national parks in the last five years in Geita Region which is also Dr Magufuli’s home is Burigi-Chato.
“I want to see every zone has tourism activities. Get ready for it by building hotels that can accommodate visitors,” he said.
Tanzania has natural resources such as minerals including tanzanite, which is only found in the country, Kilimanjaro which is the tallest mountain in Africa as well as natural lakes like Victoria and Nyasa.
“This is why I always say that Tanzania is a rich country. After the reforms in the mining sector, it’s paying this much…you can imagine how much we lost since the colonial era. This is a question even candidates from the opposition should ask and explain how they bring about changes,” he said.
Dr Magufuli also explained that in his five years as the leader, the government implemented development projects worth Sh37 trillion.
These projects include the iconic projects such as the standard gauge railway (SGR) under construction, revival of the national airline which was supplied with eight new aircrafts, rural electrification where more than 6,000 villages were connected, free education as well as the Nyerere Hydropower project.
The gathering was coloured with green and yellow after residents flocked the Kalangalala grounds to cheer in Dr Magufuli.
The event was also entertained by artistes such as Chege Chigunda, Bob Haisa, Kala Jeremiah, Lina Sanga and others who performed on the stage.
Dr Magufuli was also one of the entertainers after beating drums and performing push-ups on the stage, one of the outstanding styles he used in 2015.
At the rally, Dr Magufuli also asked Geita parliamentary candidate and current deputy minister for Tourism, Mr Costantine Kanyasu to apologise to the audience of voters, explaining that there was plot to boo at him.
“I know someone who was not nominated during CCM primaries is not happy and was attempting to mobilise people to boo at Mr Kanyasu. I have taken note of that but for now, Kanyasu is our candidate,” said Dr Magufuli.
He called Mr Kanyasu and ask him to apologise to Geita residents if he erred anywhere in the last five years when he served as MP.
Mr Kanyasu apologised and asked for votes.
“When you, Mr President, appointed me deputy minister, I did not have enough time to meet my people in the constituency and some people were not happy for not frequently appearing and meeting them in my constituency. I apologise for that and please vote for CCM,” said Mr Kanyasu who is defending the parliamentary seat.
After his speech and introducing other CCM parliamentary and word councillorship candidates from the region, Dr Magufuli approached the stage where the party’s Tanzania One Thietre (TOT) band was performing.
He danced, bit the drums and thereafter, performing the push-ups that won claps.