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EU’s new regulation plans to scrap imports of conflict minerals by 2021!

The people back home wouldn’t buy a ring if they knew it cost someone else their hand”Maddy Brown (Blood Diamond, 2006).

The European Union are acting out of care and thinking of transparency for the industrial imports and mineral exporters. This is happening just a little month after the United States opened up their legislation for importing more from conflict zones. While the European Union plans to close the gate from areas and from sources that export Conflict minerals.

So the EU laws are becoming more stricter than the United States, even if the law they have enacted in the European Parliament and Council of the European Union, will be effective from 2021. So it is 4 years until it has giant effect and gives time to refinery and importers to change behavior. Something that is necessary, as well as the public have to grow concern of the affects of buying conflict minerals. Even as the conflict minerals still come into the market of Europe and into the refineries so the consumers doesn’t know and cannot follow where their products who contain minerals comes from war-zones.

That the European Union takes this serious and acts upon this Nobel, and proves that they does not want to support militias and guerrillas that keeps control of mineral rich areas and their exports to supply weapons and continue warfare in for instance the African Great Lakes Region. Take a look!

Background of new rule:

This Regulation, by controlling trade in minerals from conflict areas, is one of the ways of eliminating the financing of armed groups. The Union’s foreign and development policy action also contributes to fighting local corruption, to the strengthening of borders and to providing training for local populations and their representatives in order to help them highlight abuses” (EU, P: 8, 2017).

Conflict Minerals from Great Lakes Region:

The Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy should regularly review their financial assistance to and political commitments with regard to conflict-affected and high-risk areas where tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold are mined, in particular in the African Great Lakes Region, in order to ensure policy coherence, and in order to incentivise and strengthen the respect for good governance, the rule of law and ethical mining” (EU, P: 16, 2017).

Trade of Minerals funds armed conflicts:

Preventing the profits from the trade in minerals and metals being used to fund armed conflict through due diligence and transparency will promote good governance and sustainable economic development. Therefore, this Regulation incidentally covers areas falling within the Union policy in the field of development cooperation in addition to the predominant area covered which falls under the common commercial policy of the Union” (EU, P:17, 2017).

Important Article:

Article 3: Compliance of Union importers with supply chain due diligence obligations

1. Union importers of minerals or metals shall comply with the supply chain due diligence obligations set out in this Regulation and shall keep documentation demonstrating their respective compliance with those obligations, including the results of the independent third-party audits” (EU, P: 23, 2017).

Date of Application:

Articles 1(5), 3(1), 3(2), Articles 4 to 7, Articles 8(6), 8(7), 10(3), 11(1), 11(2), 11(3), 11(4), Articles 12 and 13, Article 16(3), and Article 17 shall apply from 1 January 2021” (EU, P: 51, 2017).

What the statements on the law:

The Commission will consider making additional legislative proposals targeted at EU companies with products containing tin, tantalum, and tungsten and gold in their supply chain should it conclude that the aggregate efforts of the EU market on the responsible global supply chain of minerals are insufficient to leverage responsible supply behaviour in producer countries, or should it assess that the buy-in of downstream operators that have in place supply chain due diligence systems in line with the OECD guidance is insufficient” (…) “In the exercise of its empowerment to adopt delegated acts pursuant to Article 1(5), the Commission will take due account of the objectives of this Regulation, notably as set out in recitals (1), (7), (10) and (17). In doing so, the Commission will, in particular, consider the specific risks associated with the operation of upstream gold supply chains in conflict affected and high-risk areas and taking into account the position of Union micro and small enterprises importing gold in the EU” (…) “In response to the request of the European Parliament for specific guidelines, the Commission is willing to develop performance indicators specific to the responsible sourcing of conflict minerals. By means of such guidelines, relevant companies with more than 500 employees that are required to disclose non-financial information in conformity with Directive 2014/95/EU would be encouraged to disclose specific information in relation to products containing tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold” (EU, P: 57-58, 2017).

The European Union is doing something positive with this. That they show effort and care for the imports and what affects the export has locally, so if the minerals export is shady, the export will cease. So if the due diligence regulation works and the industry complies, the effect can be enormous. The consumer will also know that there are not supporting by third party purchase to pay for ammunition rebels, warlords or guerrillas in far away lands. This should all be seen as step of making a better world and honorable society. Where the money is where the mouth is! Peace.

Reference:

Council of the European Union – ‘Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council setting up a Union system for supply chain due diligence self-certification of responsible importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating in conflict-affected and high-risk areas – Outcome of the European Parliament’s first reading (Strasbourg, 13 to 16 March 2017) – (20.03.2017).

Worrying that many lacks food in Tanzania as the Staple food prices are increasing!

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.”
Orson Welles

There are worrying signs of higher prices on staple foods, as reports of the added price for Maize and Sorghum. With the likes of Maize that has skyrocketed over the last few months, the same has happen to Sorghum. The Central Government needs to stop the inflation of prices as this is key in the staple and adds strains to many of citizens.

Maize prices per 100 kg was 65,103.5 Tanzanian Shillings in December 2015 and by December 2016 it cost 85,159.8 Tanzanian Shillings. In a years time the prices on maizes has gone up 30 %. That is a worrying sign!

Sorghum prices per 100 kg was 81,638.1 Tanzanian Shillings in December 2015 and by December 2016 it cost 104,545.1 Tanzanian Shillings. In a years time the prices on Sorghum has gone up 28 %. That is not something anyone wants to see.

Just as the prices are rising, the dwindling levels of foods that has no been confirmed by the Minister:

Reports of food shortages were initially denied by top levels of government, but were later accepted. At the end of January 2017, the Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Charles Tizeba, told parliament that a study conducted by the Ministry, in collaboration with various partners, had found that 55 districts (out of 169 in Tanzania including Zanzibar) were facing food shortages, and

that “35,491 tonnes of food are required for supply between February and April 2017 to combat a shortage facing 1,186,028 people’’ in these districts” Sauti za Wananchi, 2017).

What is more worrying is the stats from the survey done by Sauti za Wananchi:

The key findings are:

Eight in ten households report that their income does not cover their daily needs

Eight in ten households usually keep a stock of food in reserve in case a food shortage

arises

A huge majority of Sauti za Wananchi respondents (78%) report food shortages in

their locations

The price of maize has doubled in the past two years, even accounting for general

price inflation

Seven in ten households worried about running short of food in the past three months

The household food security situation has worsened between September 2016 and

February 2017” (Sauti za Wananchi, 2017).

When you have rising staple food prices, little or no reserves in the homes, as well as lacking income to combat the running prices on food. Set the citizens and the inflation into a devastating spiral that no republic want to go through. The United Republic of Tanzania Government needs to act swift and clear on the important issue and lack of safeguard, as the running expenses and lack of food security that is rising. Not only the prices, but this has all happen in the term of President John Magufuli, who needs to take charge and make sure his citizens can eat and earn enough to have a healthy living. The households needs a revamp and the structure with agriculture and food imports needs to change to significantly, these sort of number and amount of people lacking food is a dire situation. Peace.

Reference:

Tanzania – ‘Sauti za Wananchi – Brief No. 39’ (March 2017)

Press Release: EU aid for African Great Lakes region getting through, but may be to expensive say auditor (04.07.2016)

EU Audits 04.07.2016 P1EU Audits 04.07.2016 P2

MCC suspends United States Aid to the Tanzanian Gov. on the grounds of the recent Zanzibar election and a draconian law; while the US. Gov. and USAID have no troubles continuing to aide the Ugandan Gov. with their draconian laws and fraudulent election; Double Standard or just me?

Citizen Front Page March 2016

A strange action happened from an Agency that is a part of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). They have all of sudden suspended projects in Tanzania after both a so-called draconian law and the recent election on the Island of Zanzibar. Take a quick look!

“A US international development agency has suspended its partnership with Tanzania, citing flawed Zanzibar elections and the draconian Cybercrime Act. The move by the board of directors of Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) means that Tanzania will not be receiving an envisioned $472 million in funding for electricity projects” (…)”The US suspension-of-aid notification cites “arrests made during the elections” in Zanzibar as an indication of the Tanzania government having “engaged in a pattern of actions inconsistent with MCC’s eligibility criteria.” (…) “MCC’s model has a partner country’s commitment to democracy and free and fair elections at its core,” the directors’ statement said” (Kelley, 2016).

Why I will discuss this move and the motivation for it. Is because the USAID and MCC have not done anything after the recent election and all of the laws that have enhanced the powers of the Executive and possibility to move around the Parliament for the Government and certain ministries, therefore easily get funding and short-term loans from the Bank of Uganda without permission of the Parliament, Police laws that monitors the Opposition and controls them even more, also the well-known rigging of the General Election, Parliamentary Election and the Presidential Election in February and early March in 2016.

Zanzibar Election 2016

While the United Republic of Tanzania might have stepped on some toes and had issues during the Zanzibar elections, they have not been close to the systematical oppression the Police and Army have had in Uganda. And the USAID and their agencies have not acted upon it or reissue any of the aid initiatives or anything in the Republic of Uganda, but the United Republic of Tanzania get punished straight away for the similar actions. I wonder if the the Public Order Management Act of 2013 is sweeter and nicer; then the Cybercrime Act and that the Cybercrime act is the official Bad-Act of the Tanzanian Government in the opinion of the United States.

I also wonder if the Tanzanian Government had armies in the wars that the United States does not want to touch, not even with the filthy lying lips of Donald Trump. Because the Tanzanian could have oppressed their opposition, made draconian laws and laws who applies in ways that the ministries and the Executive does not need to take the decision through Parliament before acting. That is Uganda and they have no issues with the USAID and the MCC. Only UNRA have had issues with World Bank and the progression of the World Bank funded Infrastructure and road-building have been suspended because of embezzlement and bad management in the Uganda National Roads Authority; who due the diligence on the development projects. Still the Ugandan Government have had no trouble with the government funds and army exercises from the United States, even the American Fire-Helicopter training together with U.S. Army happened in a month time after the Election Day.

EC 22.02.2015 Guarded Heavy

The Double-Standard is too obvious, what is okay for the Ugandan Government is not apparently okay for the Tanzanian Government. That is openly displayed by the United States this time as well.

So I feel there is a theory behind the actions against the Tanzanian government and their actions during the Zanzibar elections, while the Ugandan could walk skootch free with some disregard of the actions in country, but nothing that affects the relationship between Uganda and the Americans. While today the Tanzanian has lost their extra funding for the Projects through the MCC and the USAID operational company. So there is a political factor behind this and the main factor in why the USAID and MCC suspends, but not do the same in Uganda.

UPDF Lira NRM 14.02.2016

The Tanzanian Government does not have army operations or have the close military relationship that Ugandan Government has at the moment. The American are even training in Uganda and the Ugandan army fights wars for them and are likely in the Peacekeepers missions together with buying and getting military equipment from the U.S. even if the Ugandan once in a while buys Anti-Riot Equipment from China and Military equipment from the Russian Federation. Still, the Ugandan has a clearer mission for the American Foreign Affairs and because of that a close ally of Uganda. Something the Tanzanian is not.

Police 29.02.2016 Kasangati

Therefore it is easy for the American Government to suspend and punish the Tanzanian. That is why the Ugandan Government have not gotten punished for their lax activity with the former M23 rebels and the allegations of them to be on the payroll of the State House of Uganda, even then the American Government does not questions or punish that behavior. But a few arrests on Zanzibar and the Tanzanian Government get slapped. This while many of the opposition officials have lingered in jail without charges, gone missing and even been in house-arrest for over 40 days in Uganda, without any consequences. That is the double-standard and makes President Museveni Teflon, because he is a necessity for their role in the area. I am not sure why the Americans does this and support him with only remarks in the United Nations and letting go of the European Union comments after the Presidential Elections in the country.

But we have all rights to question the reasons from the Americans as they are supposed to be a moral stature and moral authority; something they cannot be seen in this instance. The Double Moral is staggering. Uganda gets a pass, while Tanzania get suspended its aid. That is the case and cannot be hidden under a rug or be not blasted; especially when we know it happens in such a short time span and under the same administrations in all countries and board-rooms. There are no reasons why Tanzania gets the harsh treatment while the Ugandan walks away with no scratches on their arms. Peace.  

Reference:

Kelley, Keven J. – ‘US donor agency suspends $472m aid to Tanzania over Zanzibar elections’ (29.03.2016) link: http://www.nation.co.ke/news/africa/US-donor-agency-suspends-aid-to-Tanzania/-/1066/3138264/-/1144o38/-/index.html

Joint Communique: 17th Ordinary Summity of the East African Community Heads of State

17 EAC Joint Communique P117 EAC Joint Communique P217 EAC Joint Communique P317 EAC Joint Communique P417 EAC Joint Communique P5

British High Commission Press Statement: British charity, UK Police Aid Convoys, gifts Tanzania medical equipment (09.01.2015)

BHCTAN

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