Tanzania inches closer to new mining initiative By JOSEPH MWAMUNYANGE THE EAST AFRICAN Posted Saturday, February 7 2009 at 10:05 Tanzania is inching closer to a mining initiative that will ensure more transparency in the sector. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) could help reduce the negative publicity the sector has had. A recent meeting that attracted many sections of society decided that different sectors should choose members to comprise the EITI implementation committee, says World Bank Tanzania Country Office specialist Vedasto Rwechungura. Mr Rwechungura said Tanzania, with the assistance of the World Bank, had moved closer to realising this goal. Already, the Chamber of Energy and Minerals has elected three people to be on the 15-member committee. Others including civil society organisations and NGOs are in the process of doing so. "The Minister for Energy and Minerals will any time now submit the letter to join EITI. The secretariat will then recommend and submit it to the Board, but it takes time for the whole process to be completed," he said. Following the government's announcement last November that it was committed to implementing EITI, a workshop was organised this month to push forward Tanzania's application for EITI candidate country status. Participants were from faith-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, media workers' unions, the Government and its institutions, regional miners associations (from all regions), colleges and research organisations, and mining companies. Once the EITI is in place, mining companies will have to disclose what they pay in taxes, while the government will disclose what it earns from the sector. Dr Wilson Mutagwaba, a researcher, said the process of forming the implementation committee had been transparent. He said a series of meetings was held to get wider representation. The Minister for Energy and Minerals, William Ngeleja, said transparency in revenue accrued from the extractive industry would ensure that the country's minerals were beneficial, instead of being a curse. He said that in 10 years the sector had grown tremendously and contributed to the country's economic development. But though the sector grew from a mere 5 tonnes output in 1999 to 50 tonnes in 2007, its contribution to the GDP is still small, at about 3.5 per cent. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative was launched in 2002 to improve transparency and accountability in countries rich in oil, gas and mineral resources. Currently, 41 countries are full members of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.