09 November 2013, Dar es Salaam – The Tanzania Chamber of Minerals and Energy (TCME) has reaffirmed its commitment to maintain cordial relationship between mining companies and the government to attract more investments in the industry and increase state revenue.
A statement released by TCME in Dar es Salaam on Friday and signed by the body’s Chairperson, Mr Joseph Kahama also noted that time had come for the government to take the necessary steps to solve the manifold problems afflicting the mining sector in general and the mining companies in particular.
He explained that a case in point is the issue of refunds of Value Added Tax which now runs into hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said, adding that all this is happening at a time when the price of gold has plummeted to US Dollars 1,300 per ounce from US Dollars 1,800 per ounce.
“This has created a huge strain in the cash flow of the companies,” Mr Kahama noted. The TCME also expressed its disappointment over a section of newspapers’ reports early this week purporting that some mining companies were planning to drag the government to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to seek arbitration.
“We would like to strongly refute the article and its contents as it smacks of speculation… it is inflammatory and perpetuates outright lies,” reads a part of the statement. In the article, it is alleged that major foreign mining firms operating in Tanzania including South African based Anglogold Ashanti are seeking arbitration at the ICC to recover 410m/- US dollars (about 676bn/-) tax refund.
He, however, admitted that the Chamber understands that there have been numerous disputes and disagreements between the mining companies and the various branches of the government over a number of issues that are important to their members and the mining industry in general, which have been time consuming, counterproductive and exorbitantly expensive for both sides and which remain unresolved.
“However, we believe that there can be no reason to propel our members to elect taking such drastic action without government’s prior information,” he said, adding that their motto has always been to promote cordial working relationship between the Chamber, its members and the Government.
He explained that any such decision if it has to be taken, is considered as very significant, needing deep analysis of the merits and demerits of the issues and that our TCME members unreservedly adhere to the best practices and uphold ethical conduct in their businesses when dealing with government on issues of such significance.
“The protocols will include holding discussions and negotiations before application of distress measures,” he said.
– Tanzania Daily News