Lawsuit threatening TZ elephants revived
A US federal court revived a lawsuit brought by big game hunters who challenged the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s ban on the import of elephant hunting trophies from Tanzania.
The determination of the case could have a significant impact on elephant poaching in the country. A poaching crisis saw Tanzanian elephant population decline to 43,521 in 2013 from 142,788 in 2006 representing a decline of more than 60 per cent.
In the Selous-Mikumi ecosystems the situation was worse with the population dropping from 70,406 in 2006 to 13,084 in 2013. It is this worrying poaching trend that prompted the US Fish and Wildlife Service to issue a temporary ban on elephant hunting trophies in 2014, which is the subject of the legal wrangle.
The legal challenge of the ban first brought by the Safari Club and the National Rifle Association was dismissed in 2014 on grounds that no member of either group actually had applied for and been denied a permit to import elephant trophies and therefore lacked standing to bring a case. But the hunters’ advocacy groups appealed, arguing that the Fish and Wildlife Service’s ban was final and that their members had no obligation to exhaust administrative remedies.
In a 15-page opinion issued this month, a three-judge panel from the US District Court for the DC Circuit agreed and remanded the case to the lower court.
“For its part, Safari Club insists that seeking a permit would have been futile given that the Service had determined and publicly announced that no permits would be issue for Tanzanian elephants killed in 2014,” Judge David Tatel wrote in the opinion.
The Fish and Wildlife Service previously had allowed trophy imports after making determinations that repatriation of such items “would not be detrimental to the survival of the species.”
Forum fails to strike deal on Dar work permit fee
Kenyans will have to wait longer for easier immigration rules in Tanzania after a meeting between officials from the two countries resolved to tackle the problem by next March.
The meeting under the Joint Commission for Co-operation (JCC) had been expected to resolve the persistent reluctance by Tanzania to scrap residence and work permit fees as is expected by the East African Community. But Tanzania argued it needed more time to realign the demands within the provisions of the new laws, which require foreign nationals to pay fees for work permits.
Kenya’s Foreign Affairs secretary Amina Mohamed and her Tanzanian counterpart, Augustine Mahiga, endorsed the decision to extend discussions until March 2017, saying it will allow time to iron out the issues.
“Arising from this, the meeting advised the relevant authorities from the two sides to meet by March, 2017 with a view to address the issues,” said a dispatch from the meeting.
The JCC between Tanzania and Kenya had been dormant for six years, stalling discussions on immigration and other issues affecting relations. When President John Magufuli visited Nairobi in November, he authorised his team to restart the talks.
Illegal fishing – government mulls tougher laws
The government is planning to amend laws governing the fisheries sector by changing some offences to economic sabotage, which attracts stiffer penalties.The Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Charles Tizeba, stated that current fisheries laws and regulations have loopholes that hamper effective prosecution of people caught practising illegal fishing.
The fisheries sector is managed mainly by two laws, namely the Fisheries Act, 2003 and the Deep Sea Fishing Authority, Act 2009. Dr Tizeba said ministry officials were preparing amendments which were expected to be tabled in Parliament at its next sitting in February under a certificate of urgency.
The government’s decision, he said, followed failure of the current penalties to curb illegal fishing, which is threatening the fishing industry in Tanzania.
“We have lost almost all cases of illegal fishing by using dynamite because of the definition of explosives and proof required… this is why we need to change the law,” Dr Tizeba said.
He said 1.5 tonnes of fish killed with explosives were recently seized in Dar es Salaam, but the suspects managed to escape arrest. “Even if these people are caught and charged, the penalty is either a six-months prison sentence or a fine of only TSH 200,000. This paltry fine is akin to a government levy. Imposing such a fine on people who have illegally caught fish worth tens of millions of shillings is a joke.”
Dr Tizeba said there was a need to make laws tougher by changing some offences to economic sabotage. “If someone is aware that if they are arrested and charged they could be jailed for 15 years they will think twice before engaging in illegal fishing. Public sensitisation is also needed on the impact of illegal fishing.”
Data protection law coming
The government is planning to enact a personal data protection law that will require all local firms and people to keep their data.Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication Faustine Kamuzora said that once enacted the law would guard the country against data hacking.
“We need to draw a line between people who collect data and those who own it,” he told Tanzanian and Chinese journalists who toured the Dar es Salaam Internet Centre (DIC) at the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) offices.
Prof Kamuzora said the bill was in early stages of preparation. He hopes that when it is ready and passed into a law it will spur investment. He called upon information and communication technology companies to increase investments to meet the growing local market and those in neighbouring countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique. He said the DIC was built with a USD 35M (about TSH 77.9B) concessional loan from the Chinese government. The loan will be paid in 25 years.
Experts say hackers may be motivated by a multitude of reasons, such as profit, protest, challenge, recreation, or to evaluate system weaknesses to assist in formulating defences against potential hackers.
Tough conditions for foreigners eyeing land for business in Tanzania
Tanzania is working on a new land policy that will reduce leases of land owned by foreigners from 99 years to 33 years.The Draft National Land Policy, which has been subjected to public scrutiny by the Ministry of Lands and Settlement Development, is expected to be adopted early next year. If passed into law, foreign investors in Tanzania will be allocated land for a maximum period of 33 years. In addition, foreigners will only hold land for investment.
The policy defines a foreign investor as a person who is not a citizen of Tanzania or a body corporate whose controlling interest is in the hands of non-citizens.There have been many instances of foreigners applying for land and not utilising it for the stated purpose. To curb such cases, foreign investors will be required to register with the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) to acquire land.
“To purchase a parcel of land from individuals or companies, once the buyer and seller have agreed upon the price, the seller is required to surrender the land title to the Commissioner of Lands in order to re-issue it in the name of TIC, which will eventually prepare a derivative right for an investor,” reads the draft. This however is also the case at the present.
The government intends to protect the rights of Tanzanians and will also ensure the land occupied is being used for the purpose attained.
State to ban raw product exports
Export of raw materials may soon be outlawed as a strategy to encourage investors to process all products domestically, the Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa has hinted.
The PM, speaking during his tour of Arusha-based Mount Meru Millers, said the government was determined to encourage processing of especially agricultural produce domestically to create more jobs and accelerate economic growth.
“We are mulling over the ban of raw product exports and encourage domestic industries to invest in factories that will consume the available raw materials…investors should now improve their production capacities to meet the domestic demand for finished goods,” said Mr Majaliwa.
“We don’t see any need to export sunflower seeds and other agricultural produce… we need industries that can consume all the raw materials and create more jobs for our people,” Mr Majaliwa said, urging the investor however to improve and maintain good relations with farmers.
Italy accredits envoy to EAC bloc
The Italian Government has appointed Counsellor Roberto Mengoni as Italy’s Permanent Representative to the East African Community.
The Envoy (Roberto Mengoni), who is also the Italian Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania, presented his letter of accreditation signed by the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hon. Paolo Gentiloni, to the EAC Secretary General, Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko, this month at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
Welcoming Ambassador Mengoni to the EAC Headquarters, the Secretary General commended the Italian Government and people for showing interest in furthering the existing cooperation between Italy and the Community.
Ambassador Mfumukeko briefed the Envoy on the key millstones recorded in integration process and pledged to link up the envoy with the the East African Business Council through which Italian investors could explore available opportunities.
On his part, Amb. Mengoni commended the EAC Secretariat for spearheading the integration agenda and highlighted a few areas that the Italian Government was interested in supporting the EAC, especially the Renewable Energy sector. He disclosed that his government was pushing for a policy change on Africa that will see a more robust engagement with the continent and the EAC.