Tanzanian parliament forms probe team on diamond mining

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-06 02:14:12|Editor: yan
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DAR ES SALAAM, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian National Assembly on Wednesday formed a nine-man investigative team to assess how the East African nation was benefiting from diamond mining.

"The investigative team will look at regulation, ownership and diamond mining," the Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai told the House in the political capital Dodoma.

He said the team drawing Members of Parliament from the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and the opposition camp will work for 30 days before submitting its report.

Adjourning the marathon House budget session, Ndugai said the report to be compiled by the team will be submitted to him for further action.

On Tuesday, Tanzanian President John Magufuli suspended issuance of new mining licenses to investors until after the government reorganizes itself.

"At the same time all mining licenses issued by the government should be reviewed to see how the government is benefiting," said the President shortly before he travelled to his home district of Chato in Kagera region for a short vacation.

He said minerals, including gold, that were being mined in the country were natural resources that belonged to Tanzanians and that his administration would never tolerate seeing a few individuals benefiting from the country's natural resources, leaving majority Tanzanians swimming in poverty.

Last week, the government tabled in Parliament bills designed to review and amend mining laws following a recent directive by President Magufuli.

President Magufuli last month received findings of a probe that found out that Tanzania might have lost millions of dollars in revenue from mining operations during the past two decades.

Nehemiah Osoro, the chairman of a special committee that compiled the second mineral concentrates report, said the report revealed massive cheating by mining companies on the amount of gold exports and tax evasion.

For example, said Osoro, the report showed that between 1998 and March 2017, between 44,000 and 61,000 containers of mineral concentrates worth 49.12 billion to 83.32 billion U.S. dollars were exported outside the country without the country getting a single cent from taxes.