Q&A – 24 June 2024

Use of founder of the nation’s name

We are in plans to open a medium sized logistics business based in Mwanza. We have worked hard to come up with a unique and memorable name for the business. Eventually, we chose the name Julius Nyerere Logistics for the company’s brand. Nyerere’s legacy as the first president of Tanzania and influential leader in the Africa independence movement was truly inspiring. To us, using Nyerere’s name is a fitting tribute to the founder of our nation. Are there any restrictions on the use of this name?
SB, Mwanza

The use of Founders of the Nation’s name or names is governed by the Founders of the Nation (Honouring Procedures) Act, (Act No. 18 of 2004) (Founders of the Nations Act). Section 17(1) of the founders of the Nations Act provides that subject to the Trade and Service Marks Act, no person other than a member of the family of the Founders of the Nation shall use the name or names of the Founders of the Nation-(a) as a trade or service mark or copyright for any article sold or offered for sale; (b) in furtherance of or as an advertisement for any trade, business, industry, selling or profession; (c) on any article which is sold, offered for sale or intended to be sold; (d) on any article which is used by any person otherwise than for a purpose approved by the Minister responsible for public records and archives.

The Trade and Service Marks Regulations (G.N No. 40 of 2000) (the Trade and Service Marks Regulations) made under the Trade and Service Marks Act [Cap. 236 R.E 2002] require one to obtain consent when using a personal name as a business mark. Regulation 15 provides where the name or representation of any person appears on a mark, the Registrar shall, if he so require, before proceeding to register the mark be furnished with consent from him or, in the case of a person recently dead, from his legal representatives, and in default of such consent he may refuse to register the mark. In that regard, any person or entity intending to use the Founders of the Nations name as a brand has to ensure they comply with the requirement under the Founders of the Nations Act as well as the Trade and Service Mark Regulations. Your lawyer can guide you further.

Compulsory community social responsibility

We are a large mining company with operations worldwide, including Tanzania and we are required to invest in local infrastructure as part of our community social responsibility (CSR). However, we are frustrated with the additional costs and resources required to invest in infrastructure. Why does Tanzania make CSR mandatory? Other countries do not have similar requirements. What is the rationale behind compulsory CSR and how can we avoid this? Kindly guide us.
PS, Dar es Salaam

It is true that in many countries, CSR is a voluntary undertaking. In Tanzania, however, investment in the communities impacted by the mining activities is critical to the mining operations. In 2017, the Government through the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments), 2017 (Act No. 7 of  2017), among others, amended the Mining Act, [Cap. 123 R.E. 2019] (the Mining Act) by introducing a requirement that mineral rights holders must prepare and submit CSR plans on the basis of guidelines prepared by the local government authorities. Section 105 of the Mining Act requires every mineral right holder to prepare a credible annual CSR plan jointly agreed by the relevant local government authority or local government authorities in consultation with the Minister responsible for local government authorities and the Minister responsible for finance. The CSR plan must take into account environmental, social, economic and cultural activities based on priorities of the host community as identified by the local government authority. After preparing the corporate social responsibility plan, the company will submit it to the respective local government authority for consideration and approval. Further, guidance on CSR is provided in the Mining (Corporate Social Responsibility) Regulations, 2023 (G.N. No. 409 of 2023) including the procedures for approval of CSR plans, dispute settlement mechanisms and offences.

As clearly seen from the law, an obligation is placed on the company to prepare and implement the community development programmes under the supervision and guidance of the Government and its agencies. In that case, the Government may identify areas of priorities for CSR which in your case is local infrastructure. Unfortunately, there is no other way to avoid this obligation other than exploring ways to balance CSR responsibilities and the company’s economic interest by engaging the local government in the planning process.

The rationale behind mandatory CSR is that mining companies are extracting resources in the midst of communities. It is of critical importance that the company secures a social licence from the communities in whose environment mining operations are carried out. This follows the fact that without securing the social licence, mining becomes an impossible venture because some of the local communities around the area where mining is done have lost their farming land because of the mine. One of the most important ways to secure the social license is to invest in the communities impacted by the mining operation. The investment in the communities can take the form of investments in education, health, water and sanitation, road construction, etc. These investments secure the support and cooperation to enable the company carry on its mining operations without interference or agitations from the community. Your lawyer can guide you further.