The Government has begun issuing certificates to investors wishing to invest in wildlife conservation, a move which is expected to motivate investments and enhance local content in the country's wildlife conservation. Yesterday the Government handed over the certificate to Bushman Hunting Safaris Limited to invest in Special Wildlife Investment Concession Areas (SWICA).
In the same vein, the Government has issued 60-day ultimatum to hunting blocks that didn't curb poaching and livestock grazing in conservation areas. Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources, Dr. Damian Ndumbaro said SWICA arrangement was a new area of investment, but through the government negotiation team, the exercise was successful. "The Tanzanian company will invest in Maswa North hunting block as per SWICA new Regulations of 2021," he said.
He added: "There was a philosophy that SWICA is only for foreign investors but through this historic step we hope that other local investors will be encouraged because we have set friendly rules for local investors." Elaborating, Dr. Ndumbaro said as per new regulations a minimum investment capital must be 20 million US Dollars (about 46bn/-) for joint-venture companies but for a company that is fully owned by Tanzanians the minimum investment capital shall be 10 million US Dollars (about 23bn/-).
He said for a foreign company the minimum investment capital is pegged at 50 million US Dollars (about 116bn/-). According to the Minister, Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) is a smaller institution than the other 17 institutions under the Ministry but has set an example by drafting SWICA regulations and implementing them. He called on Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA), Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) to learn from them to increase government revenue.
About hunting blocks, he said, there were 127 blocks in Tanzania, directing relevant authorities to give names of companies that have failed to conserve them. "We will revoke licences of those who didn't conserve the hunting blocks as per regulations," he noted. On his part TAWA Conservation Commissioner, Mabula Misungwi, said SWICA programme was more focused on high-end customers so the process of finding an investor was conducted under its regulations which allowed the conservation commissioner to form a government negotiation team between the government and the investor.
He said TAWA has continued to receive applications from investors in the SWICA programme in solicited and unsolicited areas wherein the 14 months from 17 April 2020 to 30 June this year 10 applications were received and processed under regulations of 2020 and its amendments of 2021. "Of the 10 applicants, only one of whom we have given a certificate today met all the criteria to be given the SWICA area of Maswa North, two applicants withdrew for various reasons, two did not meet the criteria and two of their applications are awaiting completion of tax procedures and various government claims to proceed with other procedures," said the Commissioner.
Bushman Hunting Safaris Managing Director, Mr. Talal Abood said their company submitted the application after seeing the SWICA process as good and giving them the opportunity to come up with a long-term investment plan that will help both parties benefit.