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Monday, 15 October 2012

NAIBU WAZIRI WA NISHATI NA MADINI MASELE ATEMBELEA MGODI WA BULYANHULU NA KUWAHAKIKISHIA WAFANYAKAZI PENSHENI ZAO


The Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals, Stephen Masele (centre), chats with African Barrick Gold's (ABG) Director of Government Relations, Emmanuel Ole Naiko (left) and the General Manager of ABG's Bulyanhulu gold mine, Dennis Hoof (right), shortly after the minister addressed employees of the mine in Kahama district, Shinyanga region, during his tour of the ABG mine recently.
The Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals, Stephen Masele (right), and African Barrick Gold's (ABG) Director of Government Relations, Emmanuel Ole Naiko, prepare to enter the underground tunnel at Bulyanhulu Gold Mine in Shinyanga region during the minister's tour of the ABG mine recently.   
 The Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals, Stephen Masele (second left), and African Barrick Gold's (ABG) Vice-President for Corporate Affairs, Deo Mwanyika (left), visit the Bugarama Secondary School (foreground) in Kahama district, Shinyanga region, which was built thanks to support from ABG's Bulyanhulu Gold Mine. The minister visited the school as part of his familiarisation tour of the mine.


KAHAMA

 THE Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals, Stephen Masele, has urged workers in the mining sector to be patient while the government is working to address widespread complaints over social security benefits. Masele hinted that members of parliament could likely make much-awaited legislation amendments next month to restore employment withdrawal pensions benefits. 

 "The government recently moved a legislation in Parliament on pensions benefits that wasn't popular with many people. There were boycotts here and there and the government has responded to these complaints," he said last week when addressing workers of Bulyanhulu mine owned by African Barrick Gold (ABG).

 "I am happy to inform you today that the Ministry of Labour is working on this issue to ensure regulations are changed to allow flexibility in pensions benefits so that a person can claim benefits after ceasing employment," he said to applause from employees of Bulyanhulu mine. He said workers had exercised their rights in opposing the legislation and urged them to remain calm while the process of changing the necessary regulations and laws was ongoing. 

 "I would like to assure you that you have valid arguments. You cant have a legislation that forces people to wait until they reach retirement age to claim their benefits while they need that money now to build a house, pay tuition fees for their children or invest in development projects," he said. "We are working on thus and we might perhaps see amendments made in the upcoming session of Parliament in November." 

Masele said he had also received complaints that workers in the mining sector lacked Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TIN) despite paying taxes through their salaries. "Workers in the mining sector pay taxes through their salaries, but donÕt have TIN numbers.

 We have already written to the TRA (Tanzania Revenue Authority) Commissioner General, (Harry) Kitilya, and he has in principle agreed that workers in the mining sector should be given TIN numbers," he said. Masele said the Ministry of Energy and Minerals had now been overhauled to remove networks of corruption and embezzlement of public funds that previously existed at the ministry. "Our ministry has changed, there was too much rot there. 

The Ministry of Energy and Minerals is the heart of the nationÕs economy, if the ministry doesnÕt work properly it will paralyse all other ministries and lead to the collapse of the nationÕs economy," he said. 

The deputy minister also assured African Barrick Gold employees that the government was closely monitoring talks between Barrick Gold Corp. and a Chinese firm for a possible take-over of ABG. He said the government would ensure national interests as well as the interests of ABG employees are safeguarded if any take over deal takes place.

 Masele visited various community investment projects implemented by Bulyanhulu mine, including in education sector and a housing scheme for employees. The minister directed mining companies in Tanzania to help turn surrounding communities into modern satellite towns by investing in the areas.

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