President John Magufuli yesterday placed the Ministry of Minerals in the line of fire, tasking its top leaders and Constitution and Legal Affairs Minister, Professor Palamagamba Kabudi, to sign the mining regulations by Friday.

The deadline will allow the newly enacted Mining Act to take full effect.

The president also replaced the commissioner of Minerals, Benjamin Mchwampaka, with Professor Shukrani Manya from University of Dar es Salaam’s Geology Department, revealing that Mchwampaka failed to do his job. Manya will also be the acting Chief Executive Officer of the Mineral Commission.

Magufuli affirmed that he was shocked to learn that the executives at the ministry were ‘just sitting’ on the regulations, seven months after he had endorsed the law.

He pointed out that the failure by the ministry’s executives to sign the regulations was thwarting the country’s efforts to protect its natural resources. He expressed that he was not impresed with with the ministry leaders’ performance and instructed top leaders at the ministry to ‘shape up or ship out’.

Speaking at State House shortly after swearing-in Dotto Biteko as a Deputy Minister of Minerals yesterday, the president said he thought things would work out fine after the changes he recently made.

“This law was passed by Parliament and I signed it July last year… until now, seven months have passed, you have not signed its regulations to pave the way for its implementation. There is a minister, deputy minister, commissioner who is a key advisor, directors… all are there… we, in the government, have got big problems,” he stated.

According to President Magufuli, it seems that some appointees do not understand what he, Bunge Limited and the Wananchi Group want and reminded the public officials to reject appointments if they thought they could not deliver.

“I stopped auctioning of Tanzanite of half a tonne … you can’t auction the whole gemstones since we would not get the deserved royalties, in the absence of the necessary regulations. The auctioned part enabled the country to generate approximately 1.8 billion. There will be no more gemstone auction until regulations are signed,” he insisted.

The President concurred with Speaker of Parliament Job Ndugai that government has been implementing Bunge’s recommendations including establishing Ministry of Minerals to separate it from energy sector but his executives are letting his government down.