Author: FLORENCE MUGARULA
AfricaPress-Tanzania: Tanzania will tomorrow receive 100bn/- from Barrick Gold as the second tranche of 300 million US dollars, the Canadian mining firm agreed with the East African nation to resolve the disputes it inherited from Acacia Mining.
President John Magufuli will lead the nation to receive the sum, born out of the successes of his government’s bold measures to review mining contracts and enact laws that protect the country’s natural resources.
According to the statement released yesterday by CCM Secretary for Ideology and Publicity, Humphrey Polepole, the Head of State will receive the money, which will be channelled to various development projects for the benefits of all Tanzanians.
On May 26th, this year, the government received 250bn/- from Barrick Gold which was the first tranche of 300 million dollars (about 695,561,461,961/-) agreed as a goodwill gesture to end the dispute that had existed between the two parties.
Finance and Planning Minister, Dr Philip Mpango received the payment, on behalf of the Tanzanian government, from Mr Hilaire Diarra, the Barrick Gold Corporation, country Manager.
Upon receiving the initial payment, Dr Mpango, revealed that the parties had also agreed on the payment schedule for the remaining 200 million US dollars balance.
According to the schedule, the initial payment would be followed by five annual payments of 40 million US dollars each.
The Barrick inherited a dispute from its subsidiary Acacia Mining, which the Tanzanian government in 2017 accused of operating illegally and understating gold exports.
Last year, the two sides signed a deal to settle a long-running tax dispute, including the 300 million US dollars payment.
As part of the historic agreement, the two sides also formed a jointly owned Twiga Minerals Corporation in which the government of Tanzania has 16 per cent free-carried equity.
The dispute originally involved Acacia Mining, which was taken over by Barrick last year. The Tanzanian government imposed a ban on exporting mineral concentrates in 2017 after accusing Acacia of tax evasion.
Recently, the government refuted a report that was aired by a foreign media outlet that there is a breach of agreements with Barrick Gold Corporation, insisting that the report was baseless.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) claimed during the ‘Dira ya Dunia’ programme that there was a breach of agreement between the Tanzanian government and Barrick Gold Corporation.
The report suggested that in 2017, the Barrick and Tanzania government signed an agreement, where the former committed itself to pay a lump sum of US dollars 300 million, as compensation for the dispute that had existed.
The report further claimed that the terms are now being violated by the agreements signed in 2019.
Responding to the report, Government Chief Spokesperson, Dr Hassan Abbasi said that the government and Barrick Gold Corporation didn’t sign the said agreement in 2017 because by then, even the negotiations had not started.
He said in 2017 they signed a statement of undertaking that paved a way for the two parts to begin the negotiations, so it is not true that they agreed on the money to be paid.
Dr Abbasi, who also presides as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, said the statement of undertaking was signed just after the government raised issues on accountability, and that is when the President of Barrick Gold Corporation came to Tanzania for which the document was signed.
“It was not true that Barrick committed to pay a lump sum of 300 million US dollars, the truth is when Barrick pledged to release the money, it didn’t indicate the modality of payment, which is why, to begin with, the firms deposited 100 million US dollars.
According to him, the money would be paid in three phases and not seven phases as it was reported by BBC.
Dr Abbasi also clarified that all transactions of Barrick are operated in Tanzanian’s local banks contrary to what it was reported during the ‘Dira ya Dunia’ programme that the firm is no longer forced to use local banks in its transactions.
“As we all know that Barrick Gold Corporation together with the government of Tanzania formed a joint venture company known as Twiga Minerals Corporation. All the accounts transactions are done within the country and not otherwise,” he noted.
According to a statement released yesterday, Mr Polepole said that President Magufuli, who seeks reelection for his second term, will proceed with campaign rallies this week in Dar es Salaam.
He said today, Dr Magufuli will hold an historical campaign rally at Kinyerezi Mwisho in Segerea Constituency. The rally is scheduled to commence at 9am.
“We invite all residents to attend the campaign rally so that they can hear the ruling party policies and understand what the fifth-phase government has done in the past five years and the plans for the coming five years as highlighted in the 303-page manifesto,” he said.
He added that tomorrow, Dr Magufuli will continue with his campaigns at Mburahati Barafu grounds in Ubungo District. The meeting is scheduled to start at 8am. Moreover, Mr Polepole said that on Wednesday, Dr Magufuli will conduct a campaign rally at Tanganyika Packers grounds in Kawe constituency in the city.
“We invite all people to attend these rallies so that we can listen to the plans for transforming our city and bring about development for all,” he explained.