New Tanzanian Minister: protection of environment is task of every citizen

New Minister of the State in the Vice-President’s Office, Mr George Simbachawene (centre), in  a happy moment with his Deputy Minister, Mr Mussa  Sima (right), while visiting the National Environment Management Council Headquarters in Dar es Salaam today. On the left is NEMC Director General, Dr Samuel Gwamaka.

Mr. George Simbachawene, the New Minister of State (for Union and Environment) in the Vice-President’s Office, today made a familiarization tour at the Environment Management Council Headquarters in Dar es Salaam.

Among other things, the minister was impressed with what he saw as outstanding teamwork at the NEMC.

“My expectations and trust in this council are quite high because of
this plain teamwork.  There is observable willingness of workers to
discharge their duties in order to ensure our country remains safe
environmentally. This explains my optimism,” Mr Simbachawene remarked when speaking to journalists shortly after the visit.

He was accompanied on his tour by Mr  Mussa Sima, the deputy minister in the ministry.

Mr. Simbachawene said he wanted to learn from NEMC workers how the council discharges its responsibilities. With such cooperation, he said, NEMC and the ministry will work smoothly. He ordered the immediate identification of operational problems hindering the work of NEMC, in order that they can be solved.

Mr. Simbachawene said that despite his long leadership experience, the
ministry he had been entrusted to lead has challenges emanating from
increased human activity. That situation, he added, further
complicates the task of protecting the environment for present and
future generations.

The minister also issued a reminder that Tanzania is working hard to become an industrialized country by next year, and a middle-income nation by 2025.

He also directed the NECM to submit to the ministry recommendations that will help to end complaints related to the issuance of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificates to investors. Doing so, he said, will allow many local and foreign investors to invest in the country.

On the other hand, the minister said that preservation and protection of the environment is the task of every citizen in Tanzania. He urged the council to continue educating the public on the need and the ways to safeguard the
environment, adding that such a strategy would in the long run reduce the work of the NEMC in protecting and conserving of environment.

The NEMC Director General, Dr. Samuel Gwamaka, thanked the minister for
his familiarization tour, pledging that the council will be giving the
ministry good cooperation.  

Dr. Gwamaka cited a critical shortage of staff as the biggest challenge facing the NECM: “Shortage of workers is one of the big challenges the council faces. One worker is entrusted with many projects and is expected to complete that work in the shortest time possible… I believe this is the source of complaints from investors…,” Dr. Gwamaka told the minister.

Dr. Gwamaka said that the council plans to send workers to projects and industries countrywide in order to make on-the-spot appraisals, solve problems and make regulatory registrations in order to increase the council’s revenue.

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