Dar es Salaam — Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa yesterday imposed an indefinite ban on the harvesting of forest products in Rufiji District.
Mr Majaliwa also ordered the suspension of four officials accused of failing to properly manage forest resources in the district.
Those shown the door are the head of the Lands, Natural Resources and Environment Department, Dr Paul Ligonja, forestry officers Gaudence Tarimo and Yonas Nyambuya and Tanzania Forestry Services official Suleiman Bulenga.
Mr Majaliwa also directed the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to inspect the licences of all individuals and companies who had been harvesting forest products in the district to see if they were legally issued. He directed Rufiji District Commissioner Juma Njwayo to collect all logs harvested and auction them.
The Prime Minister said Rufiji one of the districts in the country where the harvesting of forest products was being conducted without following regulations.
“Forest products are being harvested in a haphazard and wanton manner in this district, and I have to intervene and order a halt to this trend. This directive also affects those with permits. We need to check and establish where they got those permits from and whether they were issued legally.
“We cannot allow this situation to continue and neither can we allow our officers to be part of the problem and get away with it,” Mr Majaliwa said.
Earlier, Rufiji MP Mohammed Mchengerwa told the Prime Minister that government officials in the district were “arrogant and uncooperative”, adding that local residents had lost faith in the government as a result of the conduct of its representatives in the area.