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Monday, October 19, 2020

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Tanzania authorities overhauls environmental watchdog over graft allegations

Tanzanian authorities on Monday announced leadership changes in the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) following corruption allegations facing the body.

January Makamba, the Minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office responsible for Environment, also dissolved NEMC’s seven-member Board of Directors saying the institution had been facing allegations of corruption in the issuance of environmental impact assessment (EIA) certificates and unnecessary delays in the course of undertaking the EIAs.

“Some NEMC staff even dared to use their personal consultancy companies or companies belonging to their relatives to undertake EIAs so that at the end of the day they pocket payments for the EIAs,” said Makamba.

The minister said the changes were also aimed at making the body vibrant towards protection of the east African country’s environment.

“The changes will open a new chapter in the management of NEMC especially in pushing the country’s industrial economy,” he said.

Makamba dissolved the seven-member NEMC Board of Directors, leaving only its chairman who is a presidential appointee, and appointed Elikana Kalumanga, a lecture with the Institute of Resource Assessment at the University of Dar es Salaam, acting NEMC Director General.

Makamba also announced the suspension, appointment, transfer and reallocation of other top NEMC officials saying those suspended were implicated in various allegations.

He said following parliamentary decisions and directives by President John Magufuli on the issuance of EIA certificates to prospective investors in industries, permits for the construction of the industries will be given within three days pending the EIA certificate.

“If there will be some environmental challenges in the course of undertaking the EIA, the industries will continue being built while the challenges are sorted out,” said the minister.

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