INVESTORS URGED TO REGISTER THEIR PROJECTS WITH NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT COUNCIL WITHIN TWO MONTHS OR FACE STERN MEASURES

Published by Anwaar Katakweba

In a move to enhance protection of the environment and compliance with environmental conservation, the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) on the 19th of May 2021 issued a public notice to all investors that have acquired land for designated projects in Tanzania. The notice stated that investors should ensure that their projects are registered by NEMC and that the projects are issued with Environmental Impact Assessment certificates before implementation.

The council also issued a warning to all investors who have established projects and acquired land for designated purposes without acquiring the necessary registration to ensure they process registration of their projects as per the law and attain environmental impact assessment certificates as per regulation 46 of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Audit Regulations, 2005 as amended in 2018.

To enable investors to comply with the said regulations, the Council has granted a grace period of two months effective from the 19th of May so that all investors who have not complied with the said regulations do so and obtain the required environmental certificates for their projects without any penalty. It should be noted however, failure to comply with the same after the expiry of the grace period shall be counted as an offence and the council shall conduct a countrywide inspection and monitoring of compliance to identify all projects that do not have environmental certificates and penalize the defaulting parties with stern measures including hefty penalties and being charged in courts of law.

The Council also issued a reminder to all developers whose projects have been granted certificates to ensure that they submit their annual environmental audit reports as per regulation 50 (1) of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, (2004) within one month from the 19th of May 2021. The audit reports are to be submitted to the NEMC zonal offices located in Dar es salaam, Arusha, Mwanza, Kigoma, Mtwara and Dodoma.

Failure to submit the said environmental audit reports shall constitute an offence as per regulation 60 (2) of the EIA regulations, 2005 as amended in 2018 and on conviction, the offender shall be liable to a fine not less than fifty thousand shillings and not more than Ten Billion Shillings or to face imprisonment for a term of not less than three months and not exceeding seven years or both as stipulated under section 191 of the Environmental Management Act (2004) as amended by Written Laws Miscellaneous Amendment No 3 of 2016.  

The Council’s announcement is a welcome move considering the sensitivity of the environment and the growing need to protect Tanzania’s natural resources in the midst of industrial expansion and technology development. However, most investors face difficulties in registering their projects due to lengthy and complicated procedures that make the investment atmosphere rigid and difficult. It is important that the council analyze the difficulties investors face in registration and ensure the same is improved so as to encourage more investment and growth of the economy over the next few years.

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