The Guardian on Sunday has published a detailed analysis of the lucrative hunting industry following moves to implement the Wildlife Conservation Act of 2009 which, amongst other things, limits the number of hunters and forces foreign firms to give 25% of their shareholdings to Tanzanians. Foreign-owned companies allocated hunting blocs should not exceed 15% of the total hunting companies at any particular time. Thus only nine foreign hunting firms out of 27 will be allocated hunting blocs for the period 2013 to 2018, out of the 65 which applied.
Some observers fear that if 18 major firms are forced to leave Tanzania, over 5,000 Tanzanians might lose their jobs, with the Treasury likely to suffer a loss of nearly $15 million in tourism-related taxes annually.
A Tumaini University lecturer in Wildlife, Corporate, and Land Laws, Nyaga Mawalla, said the WC Act was contravening the investment guarantees offered to investors under the Tanzania Investment Act of 1997 and the Constitution of the United Republic. “The Constitution’s Bill of Rights provides that all persons are equal before the law and are entitled, without any discrimination, to protection and equality before the law,” Mawalla stated and added, “The Wildlife Conservation Act No. 5 of 2009, favouring hunting firms owned by a majority of Tanzanians, was discriminating against those Tanzanians who had purchased 25% of the shares from the foreign firms”.
The spokesperson of the Natural Resources and Tourism Ministry Matiko Mwita, said that arguments with regard to a bad law were supposed to be raised during the enactment of that law and not now. “Why [are] these people criticising the Wildlife Conservation Act this time around when we are in the process of allocating hunting blocks?” he asked. His ministry was not responsible for making laws. A ministry spokesman said that he was only implementing the laws, regardless of whether they were good or bad.
Under new tourist hunting rules, Tanzania is increasing the cost of licence fees for prime hunting blocks from $27,000 to $60,000 a year. The revised guidelines also categorize the hunting blocks into five depending on the type and number of animals to be hunted.