Deputy Minister in Vice President’s Office (Union and Environment), Mussa Sima, said on Tuesday in Dar es Salaam during a familiarisation tour at NEMC offices by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Industry, Trade and Environment.
The deputy minister said government appreciates that protection of environment is cross-cutting and complex, adding that it was against that backdrop it plans to convert the council into an authority.
“There is every reason to transform NEMC into an authority because of importance of environment and its protection is of huge significance,” he told the committee, adding that since NEMC is the only institution tasked with protection of environment it needed more powers to discharge its duties properly.
The chairman of the committee, Suleiman Saddiq, said it was the first time the committee heard of the government’s position on the issue.
“We have received this suggestion; we shall discuss it within the committee and present our suggestions to Parliament,” he responded.
Saddiq said the committee was pleased with NEMC’s work, explaining that it was now aware of the challenges the council faces and pledged the committee’s continued support to the council.
On the question of insufficient technical workforce, the chairman said the committee will make recommendations to the government on how to work on such problems.
“The council deserves to have the enough workers it needs to perform its duties properly because environment touches on aspects of national life. We shall take this up with the government,” he pledged.
The committee had earlier been informed that because of shortage of technical workers, NEMC had been unable to carry our audit or monitoring of more than 10,000 registered projects.
NEMC director general, Dr Samuel Gwamaka, said that the council will ensure the Environmental Management Act of 2004 and other laws are strictly observed.
He also assured the committee that the council will implement all the committee’s instructions.
The committee also visited the Kihansi Spray Toad located at the University of Dar es Salaam where it was briefed on the frog’s history and the uniqueness.