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Tanzania: JPM orders audit on mineral wealth

PRESIDENT John Magufuli has directed the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) to conduct an in depth audit of the mining sector to plug out loopholes that occasion massive losses from the country’s rich mineral reserves.

Dr Magufuli issued the directives when receiving the CAG’s report for the financial year ended June 30, 2016 at the State House yesterday in Dar es Salaam, where the head of state briefed the CAG to cast a critical focus on tax holidays, contracts and payments of government revenues.

“How is it possible that Tanzanians can go without medicine in hospitals, water, electricity … and endure poor roads while their gold is being taken away? I want you to conduct an in depth audit of the mineral sector so that Tanzanians will know what belongs to them … and if they’re getting it,” Dr Magufuli stressed.

The president also directed Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa to convene a joint meeting that will bring together all ministers, permanent secretaries of all ministries, Bank of Tanzania (BoT) Governor and heads of public institutions so that the CAG could tell each one of their (financial) audit status, so they could take steps to correct the mistakes. “Mr Majaliwa, you will chair the meeting … and CAG, you will tell each one of them the audit state of their respective areas …

I don’t want to see the same mistakes repeated over and over again,” he stressed. The report for the financial year ending 30th June, 2016 was presented to the president by CAG Prof Mussa Juma Assad at the ceremony also attended by Premier Majaliwa.

The CAG’s report touches on critical areas such as central government, tax holidays, revenues collection across the board, preparation and implementation of the National Budget, national debt, operations of public institutions including the utility firm, Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco).

Prof Assad noted that despite commendable strides by the government in adhering to financial regulations, measures still need to be undertaken to plugin loopholes that result in loss of public money in the mineral sector, mainly through tax holidays and purchase of electricity by state-run utility firm at high costs.

He noted the need to increase distribution of EFD machines. President Magufuli commended the CAG’s office for its sterling performance, promising that his government would work closely with the CAG, crowning receipt of the report in fulfilment of the law requiring the CAG to present the statement to the president before the end of March each year.

Irked by massive loss in government revenue from the mining sector, the president recently imposed a ban on mineral sand exports, claiming that the country was being grossly exploited through the export of its gold concentrate oversea.

In another development, the Parliament also intervened in the saga, with Speaker Job Ndugai promising to form a special team to look into the trade and value chain of the exported mineral sand.

©Alleastafrica and Daily News

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