THE Tanzanian government has issued an order prohibiting customary lands from being sold on long lease to individuals or institutions, as a large portion of land belonging to villages had turned targets of various local and foreign investors.

Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlement William Lukuvi announced this during a live broadcast programme aired by the state broadcaster, TBC.

"From this time forth, no villager or village will be allowed to send proposals for transfer, sale or alienation of any land either for any routine public purpose or for the purpose of giving it to a private party,'' stressed the minister.

Instead, Lukuvi said all village (customary) land shoppers should alternatively apply for land pieces through his office or the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC).

"No local or foreign investor is allowed to buy customary land from a village," Lukuvi said on a live telecast "Tumetekeleza'', a programme that focuses on highlighting progress and performance of various ministries in implementing development projects.

The minister, who expressed disappointment over the prolonged land disputes in various parts of the country, said the decision is also meant to scale down conflicts.

Lukuvi announced that his office was still evaluating investors who had acquired large land chunks from villages and abandoned the farms without developing them. "We will seize all the land pieces, which were legally acquired but had never been developed or are now used other than the prime-purpose," he said some investors acquired the land portion and used the land as collaterals for their own benefits.

"We cannot allow our people to continue to suffer on the expense of investors," he said, calling on the general public to help the ministry identifying such shortfalls in their respective areas. He, however, said the ministry will release directives to help investors acquire land pieces regarding to the demands and purposes.

He assured investors of protection, especially when they abide by governing laws. "There are few people who are not supporting what am doing since I annulled their lands.

This will not make me stop; I will continue freezing all the land, which have been abandoned by investors regardless of their status and nationality," he noted. He urged the TIC to cooperate with his ministry to help investors, adding that such collaboration will enable profitable investments for the country's economic growth.

"My ministry still owns large land portions for investment. But we want to end land disputes that have been giving sleepless nights to the people," he emphasized.