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Tanzania on full alert against terror attacks
says Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said on Saturday that the country is on full alert against acts of terrorism.

Adjourning a two-week parliamentary session in the capital Dodoma, Majaliwa said security organs in the country are vigilant all the time to ensure that terrorism acts do not happen.

"All people entering the country are thoroughly scrutinized to make sure that they meet all the security standards," he told the House.

Majaliwa said Tanzania will continue to collaborate with all countries in the East African Community (EAC) and the international community in the war against terrorism.

On Feb. 2, Rwandan President Paul Kagame urged EAC partner states to join hands in fighting terrorism.

Kagame, who took over as the new chairman of the EAC, said terrorism is an emerging challenge in the region that must be tamed by all means.

"We have to work together to fight terrorism," he told the 20th summit of the regional body in Tanzania’s northern city of Arusha.

Total 29 suspects arrested in Tanzania over brutal killings of children

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Twenty-nine suspects have been arrested in Tanzania’s southern highlands region of Njombe in connection with brutal killings of children, Minister for Home Affairs Kangi Lugola said on Wednesday.

"We are holding 29 people for interrogations as we continue with investigations. We are going to take stringent legal measures against the assailants regardless of their positions and social status," Lugola told the National Assembly.

Lugola told the House in the capital Dodoma that the number of confirmed murdered children has so far reached seven.

He added that two children were abducted and recovered while one was injured by the killers.

Lugola said the police force in collaboration with Njombe regional defense and security committee have taken a number of measures to address the situation, including assigning a team of police detectives.

On Monday, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Job Ndugai, said Tanzanian police have arrested 10 businessmen in Njombe and Makambako towns in connection with the recent killings of the children.

Last week, Lugola associated the killings of children in Njombe with superstitious beliefs.

The United Nations in Tanzania last week condemned the attack and murder of the children, saying children have a fundamental right to be safe and be protected from violence so that they can enjoy their childhood and reach their full potential.

Tanzanian rime Minister Kassim Majaliwa warns
against using killings of children to cause panic

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa on Saturday warned those using a recent spate of killings of children to cause panic and uproar in the public.

"The government is condemning the killings of our children and equally warning those who are using the incidents to create unnecessary panic to the public," Majaliwa said when adjourning the 14th parliamentary session in the capital Dodoma.

He made the remarks after some lawmakers said there were people who were posting videos and pictures of murdered children and associating them with the Njombe attacks.

Majaliwa said the government shall not tolerate more killings orchestrated by criminal groups in the southern highlands region.

"The government has already directed security officials to seek, arrest, interrogate and prosecute all those who are found to have been involved in killing the innocent children in that region," he added.

Majaliwa said 29 people had been arrested in connection with the killings.

On Thursday, Home Affairs Minister Kangi Lugola told the National Assembly that the government had dispatched a team of experienced detectives to help security organs in Njombe region to beef up investigation that will lead to the arrest, interrogation and prosecution of perpetrators.

He said those who post outdated pictures of bodies of children and linking them with Njombe killings would be arrested and prosecuted under the country’s Cyber Crime Act.

UN refugee agency appeals for global support to Tanzania

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, on Friday appealed to international donors to double their support to Tanzania in sheltering over 330,000 refugees.

Speaking at the end of his four-day visit to Tanzania, Grandi said Tanzania was in dire need of greater investment in north-west regions where the refugees were hosted, including environmental protection and economic development.

Citing Tanzania as "one of the most important refugee asylum countries in Africa," Grandi expressed his satisfaction with government assurances that the country would continue to be hospitable to refugees.

In his meeting with President John Magufuli on Tuesday, Grandi commended Tanzania for its long tradition of welcoming refugees fleeing conflict and persecution in neighboring countries, including naturalizing 162,000 Burundian refugees from 1972.

Citing Tanzania’s hospitality over decades to people in need of refuge, he said that the country and the people deserved greater international recognition.

Grandi pledged to mobilize more support for humanitarian efforts and also for host community development, enhanced camp security and environmental projects, such as energy sources that provide an alternative to firewood.

In his meetings with government officials, Grandi said sustainable refugee return happened when refugees felt confident it was safe to go back home and receive the necessary support to do so.

In the last two years, 57,865 refugees from Burundi have been assisted to voluntarily return from Tanzania.

Grandi said that the UN refugee agency was prepared to work with the government to assist all those who indicated a desire to go home.

"Conditions are still uncertain in both Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi," said Grandi, adding that nevertheless some refugees were volunteering to go back and were supported by the UN refugee agency.

"It is important that nobody is forced back, that repatriation remains a voluntary exercise," said Grandi.

He called for more international support to ensure refugees who return voluntarily are able to successfully reintegrate in their countries of origin, noting the current return packages are insufficient.

Seventy-four percent of Tanzania’s refugees and asylum seekers are from Burundi, and the other 26 percent are from the DRC.

Tanzanian government pledges to improve business environment

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa on Thursday pledged the government’s commitment to continue improving business environment and facilitate local and foreign investments.

Majaliwa told the National Assembly in the capital Dodoma that various interventions which were currently being undertaken by the government were aimed at inviting investors in available investment opportunities in different economic sectors.

Majaliwa said Tanzania has enough land to facilitate any kind of investment whereas municipal councils have been directed to set aside special land plots for investment activities.

He said President John Magufuli has been conducting meetings with the Tanzania Business Council as part of efforts to ensure better business environment.

He said measures have been taken to improve infrastructure, including roads and ports, and the construction of standard gauge railway (SGR).

Majaliwa told the House that the SGR will also help ease the flow of goods and people in the neighboring landlocked countries of Uganda, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and Rwanda.

He said the construction of tarmac roads connecting regions as well as Tanzania with neighboring countries will enable traders to easily transport their goods across the country.

"We recognize the contribution of trade and investment in our economy.

"We shall continue to improve business environment as well as meet with them to discuss the various challenges they are facing," said Majaliwa.

Tanzanian parliament approves bill designed to
remove withholding tax for small-scale miners

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian Parliament on Saturday endorsed a bill designed to remove payment of withholding tax of 5 percent by small-scale miners in the nation.

The bill was tabled in the National Assembly by Attorney General Adelardus Kilangi following a recent directive by President John Magufuli to waive nuisance taxes imposed on small-scale miners.

Minister for Minerals Dotto Biteko said the amendments came as an outcome of a meeting last month between Magufuli and small-scale miners in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

"This is a clear indication that our government is prioritizing the voices of its people," Biteko told the House in the capital, Dodoma, when debating the bill.

During his meeting with miners, businesspeople and other stakeholders on Jan. 22, Magufuli said it was high time tax regimes imposed on the mining sector were relaxed in order to encourage miners to pay tax and reduce chances of tax evasion.

The current taxes imposed on miners are "unacceptably high," the president said, adding that he would wish to see the taxes revised down in Parliament.

John Bina, president of the Federation of Miners Association of Tanzania, said miners were forced to shoulder the burden of taxes, including 18 percent of their annual turnovers as value added tax, a royalty of 6 percent, a 5 percent withholding tax, inspection and clearance fee of 1 percent and service levy.


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