Speaking after swearing in Biteko and other new appointees at State House in Dar es Salaam, the president said Tanzania’s mineral resources had been left to Tanzanian miners and foreign investors “to do as they wish under the watchful eye of the ministry, which is supposed to ensure that the country benefits fully from its natural wealth”.
“We have allowed investors and small-scale miners to exploit our gold. Does our minerals ministry know where it is sold and how much we get?” he asked, more rhetorically than otherwise.
The president said it is the minerals ministry that should be “hands-on” when it comes to Tanzania’s natural resources and provide all the answers to questions regarding the volume and value of the resources exploited, where it is sold and the percentage of revenue ending up in the national coffers.
But as things stand, he said, officials in the ministry have no answers to such critical questions “just like everyone else”.
He elaborated: “I am sure our Mining Act provides for the establishment of centres for the sale of minerals. How many such centres have been established and where are they located? Because if they were there, we would have known the exact amount of gold exported and where it is sold. We would have had even weekly reports on the same, but we don’t have anything.”
Biteko served as deputy minister for minerals until he was promoted to full minister in the same docket in a cabinet reshuffle announced on Tuesday.
He becomes the third minister to serve in the docket since Dr Magufuli came to power three years ago, having been preceded by Angellah Kairuki and Prof Sospeter Muhongo.
In his remarks yesterday, the president commended Inspector General of Police Simon Sirro for a “job well done” following a recent incident in which eight officers who were allegedly escorting gold smugglers were arrested in Mwanza Region “as they solicited 1bn/- in bribes”.
The president revealed that he was keenly following the case involving gold bars weighing 323.6 kilogrammes that were allegedly being shipped outside the country illegally.
“The police officers in question were to be given 1bn/- (bribe) in total… They had already been given 300m/- and another 400m/. They were to be given another 300m/- upon reaching Sengerema, but they were detained at a roadblock,” President Magufuli said.
Apart from Biteko, appointees sworn in yesterday include Dr Zainabu Chaula as Permanent Secretary in the Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children ministry, Dorothy Mwaluko as Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy and Investment) and Elius Mwakalinga as Deputy Permanent Secretary (Health) in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government).
Others are Dr Dorothy Gwajima as Deputy Permanent Secretary in the President’s (Public Service Management and Good Governance) and Dr Francis Kasabubu Michael as deputy Permanent Secretary in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government).
Also sworn in yesterday were members of the Public Service Commission: Chairman Judge (rtd) Steven Bwana and commissioners George Daniel Yambesi, Yahaya Mbila, Hadija Mbaraka, Immaculate Ngwale, Daniel ole Njoolay and John Haule.