By BILHAM KIMATI, 8th December 2010 @ 21:00, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 112 THE government is losing more than 65bn/- in revenue collected from permitted charcoal business but never reaches the government coffers. Out of the estimated 36 million bags of charcoal consumed in the country annually, official records show that hardly 6bn/- out of 72bn/- estimated revenue generated from the local trade annually lands into the government account. The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Ezekiel Maige, warned on day that the pilferage of natural proceeds would not be entertained and inquiry has begun against all corrupt suspects in his ministry. Simple as it might appear, charcoal business generates a lot of income. The 2,000/- revenue demanded for each bag amounts to huge sums of money when multiplied by 36 million bags used each year, Maige explained. No doubt the estimated 66bn/- revenue collected ended in individual pockets because before charcoal arrived at the market in urban centres, it has to go through several checkpoints to verify payment of revenue. Forestry officers stationed at the checkpoints endorsed ferrying of charcoal in large quantities that the minister revealed not tallying with the average 6bn/- revenue. The business itself generates nearly 1.08trn/- annually as a bag of charcoal sells at 30,000/ . No wonder retail prices of charcoal are high in urban areas due to the fact that the business has proved lucrative, attracting more players who should not evade tax, said the minister. Forests and woodlands play an important role in the livelihood of rural and urban population as approximately 90 per cent of the population depends directly on bio-energy for heating and cooking. Another avenue that siphoned the countrys resources, said the minister, were frequent trips abroad by directors and their assistants. Some go there simply to provide fliers to advertise the countrys tourism. I have directed responsible authorities to make sure that purposeful domestic field trips should be arranged to address related problems facing the society, Maige directed. With regard to the intended purchase of posh vehicles for the ministry, Maige announced cessation of the plan including that of the vehicle for his deputy. Appropriate fieldwork vehicles will now be used much more efficiently, he said. The minister questioned the legality for dumping road construction machinery at Selou Game Reserve, saying repair of the machines should be accomplished in the next two months. Commenting on illegal export of logs, the minister reaffirmed the government ban, saying the existing laws and regulations would be employed to bring to justice all wrong doers. It is estimated that forests now targeted for deforestation provide water catchment for over 80 per cent of Tanzanias water supplies and accounts for over 60 per cent of Tanzanias generated electricity through hydro-power. The Ministrys functions are assigned to five technical divisions namely; Wildlife, Forestry and Beekeeping, Fisheries, Tourism and Antiquities.