Govt suspends harvesting of forest products in Rufiji

27Sep 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Govt suspends harvesting of forest products in Rufiji

PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa has banned indefinitely harvesting of forest products in Rufiji District, Coast Region.

PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa

The Premier also suspended four forest officers over poor performance, supervision and management of forests in the district.

The fired officials are the Head of Land, Environment and Natural Resources Department, Dr Paul Ligonja, District Forest Officer, Gaudens Tarimo, Forest Officer, Yonas Nyambuya and the Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) District Officer, Seleman Bulenga.

The PM’s decision was announced yesterday during his meeting with civil servants in Rufiji district held at the district council hall before addressing a rally at Jumba la Maendeleo grounds.

Majaliwa also directed the Rufiji District Commissioner, Juma Njwayo to organize for collection of all the logs in the forests. He said the illegally harvested logs should be sold.

“I am directing the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources to investigate all the harvest licenses issued in the district”, said Majaliwa adding that Rufiji is one of the districts that leads in illegal logging.

He blamed the district forest officers for random issuance of harvest licenses that have led into wananchi not to benefit with the resources.

“This situation is intolerable…there are no any remarkable achievement in sector due to laxity in the license issuance system”, he noted.

According to him, harvesting of logs has been suspendered until completion of investigations. He said the government would want to know who own the licenses and how they got them.

Majaliwa ordered the Rufiji District Executive Director, Rashid Salum to ensure implementation of his directives about the Ikwiriri check point in the district.

During his meeting with workers of the Tourism and Natural Resources Ministry on July 18 this year the MP insisted the government doesn’t want to keep some dishonest government officials who allow random harvesting and sale of forest products for to generate own extra profit.

He directed the minister responsible, Prof Jumanne Maghembe to establish a single agency which will be responsible in harvesting and selling of forest products in a competitive bidding arrangement.

He said there are two authorities working on forest products, the central government as well as the district councils thus creating loopholes for conflict of interests.