Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa yesterday directed mining companies in the country to honour Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) obligations as per new Mining Act.
He said the amended Mining Act of 2017 stipulates that companies with mining and exploration licences should pay 0.07 percent of their gross revenues as CSR to councils and municipalities where they operate.
“This is the government money and should be spent as intended per agreements signed between the municipalities and mining firm,” Mr Majaliwa said when officially closing the Geita Mineral Fair.
The premier however extended the event for three more days to allow stakeholders, especially small miners, to grab the opportunity and learn more on technology and how to access capital.
He said before the new law was passed some medium and big miners were discretionally deciding on the use of CSR money.
“In some cases, they (mining firms) built a dispensary or class room but at inflated costs many times,” Mr Majaliwa said, asking the audience, “Haven’t you seen such dispensaries.”
He said before the new law that also insists on the use of force account, the dispensary was constructed at 1.7bn/- but with the new arrangement, the similar structure costs a mere 500m/-.
The PM said the government will often conduct audits on the use of CSR, warning that embezzlers will face the music.
“Because of good CSR accountability, Geita region has increased dispensaries at villages from 23 percent eleven months ago to 93 percent and next year the region will have dispensaries in each village,” said the premier.
Mr Majaliwa said he will make a six-day tour of Geita this month, visiting every district.
Mining Minister Angellah Kairuki said she has directed the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) to audit CSR funds issued previously to establish if the money was correctly used.
“I have already directed the CAG to audit the funds and once the report is produced, I will submit it to President (John) Magufuli and you for further action,” she told the PM before welcoming him to address the gathering.
Geita Regional Commissioner Engineer Raphael Gabriel said the region had a team to oversee the CSR funds but it colluded with miners to misuse the funds.
“We have investigated and we will soon prosecute those found to have misused the fund… I want people of Geita to know the era of corruption at any regional administration level is gone… we all want to benefit from our God given gold,” he told the cheering crowd.
The premier also asked banks to extend loans to small miners whose contribution to individual wellbeing, society and national development he highly appreciated.
But, he as well challenged the artisanal miners to pay taxes, arguing that the government needs money to bring fund development projects like roads, hospitals and schools. He said through the fair small miners have learnt a lot on availability of technology, capital and health issues, the critical components for increased efficiency and output.
The premier directed Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TANTRADE) to continue organising the annual fair in Geita region. The event attracted 250 participants and next year, the authority said will invite exhibitors from outside the country as well.