Ten journalists from both the private and state media on Friday embarked on a five-day duty tour to Tanzania.
The programme organised by the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) is being supported by GIZ Good Financial Governance Programme in Co-operation with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
The tour is a follow up of series of workshops organised by the IFEJ on the extractive industry of which the last workshop was facilitated by a team from the Deutsche Welle Akademie in Berlin.
According to a statement?signed by Mr Lloyd Evans President of the Institute and leader of the ?team, the group will also engage the media and other stakeholders in the industry on good governance and management of the extractive industry in Tanzania and to learn some best practices.
Tanzania is among the richly endowed mineral resource countries in Africa. Its mining industry since the mid-1990s has been the fastest-growing sector in its economy. This is as a result of the adoption of favorable investment policies with specific measures for the mineral sector.
The statement said the mineral sector in Tanzania includes both small?scale operations?and large-scale mechanized mining and dominated by nine major mines including gold ?diamonds and tanzanite. In 2012 gold alone accounted for 94 per cent of the value of Tanzania?s mineral exports.
The Tanzanian soil also contains iron ore, base metals, uranium and gemstones. Though not yet an oil producing country Tanzania has prospects for gas and oil along its coast.? Extractives revenue represented approximately 10 per cent of total government revenue in 2011/12.
Like Ghana, Tanzania has a mining policy – ?the Mining Act enacted in 2010 to repeal previous existing laws and incorporate new standards governing the industry, the statement said.
The new Act aims to strengthen links between the mineral sector and other sectors of the economy, improve investment climate and maximize benefits from mining. Tanzania is a member of the EITI and the platform has over the years been used to track revenues accrued from the industry, as well as projects and programmes it has been used to fund.
Similar to Ghana, Tanzania has vibrant media organizations that play significant role in the political, social and economic development of the country. Sharing borders with unstable countries such as DRC, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi mineral resources have played a key role in conflicts and civil unrest, Tanzania therefore clearly offers a lot for Ghana to learn from.
Tanzania also has its fair share of challenges in the industry. Apart from the chronic illegal mining and its environmental hazards there is also the impact of the industry on export revenue, employment, technology, skills and knowledge and development as a result of the low base from which the industry evolved.
In addition, the impact of the industry on local communities especially in the area of disproportionate distribution of revenues for development and most importantly the social cost of the environmental degradation associated with mining operations are huge setbacks affecting the growth of the industry in Tanzania.
Another significant issue is the challenge of policy failure to link the industry with the rest of the economy to ensure uniformity and across-board growth from other sectors (such as agriculture, services, manufacturing and infrastructure) as some of the resources are not renewable