Legislators criticise govt on economy

Prof Ndullu
MPs have accused the government of alleged poor economic management, which they say has made life unbearable for most ordinary Tanzanians.

Speaking in Dodoma yesterday, the legislators, alarmed that   inflation had hit 19.8 per cent, volunteered various tips for relief, including  a ban on raw exports and rehabilitation of the central railway line.

They were reacting to a presentation on the state of the economy given by the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) Governor, Prof Beno Ndulu, during a seminar the Central Bank had  organised for the MPs. 

The lawmakers  blamed  BoT, charging that most of its economic policies had not helped to propel the country’s economy. In his presentation, Prof Ndulu explained  the reasons  behind spiralling inflation and the current, much-criticised  dollarisation trend,  whereby most services  were charged in US dollars.

Mr Kabwe
Mr Zitto Kabwe (Kigoma North-Chadema) said it was high time the government banned exports of raw cashew nuts, as well as hides and skins.He cited 125,000 tonnes of the crop that were exported in 2010, from which  Tanzania earned $97million.

He cited 125,000 tonnes of the crop that were exported in 2010, from which  Tanzania earned US $97million.

Elaborating that this was tanta-mount to being short-changed, Mr Kabwe said: “We lost $250million that could have been earned we had exported processed cashew nuts,”  explaining  further, that exports of the raw cash crop resulted in loss of 84,000 direct jobs. He said exports of raw hides and skins during the period under review cost the country $100million and 34,000 lost jobs.

“The shilling is becoming weak because we are not exporting processed products to add value. And by exporting raw cashewnuts and other cash crops, it means we are also exporting jobs,” said Mr Kabwe. 

The minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Prof Anna Tibaijuka (Muleba South-CCM), said the revival of the central railway line could inject fresh air into the country’s economic growth.

“Railways all over the world are the lifeline of the economy,” she said, adding that most of  the agricultural produce in the country was rotting in rural areas due to lack of means to transport them to markets. 

Dr Festus Limbu (Magu Urban-CCM) said since the government’s fuel import bill was very huge, it was advisable that it switched to the use of natural gas.

The former deputy minister for Finance and Economic Affairs also called for tighter monitoring and control of bureaux de change, saying they might be used as conduits for transacting money to overseas.

Mr Freeman Mbowe (Hai-Chadema) urged the government to establish a real estate regulatory authority, saying the government was losing a lot of foreign exchange through the unregulated construction industry which was growing at 14 per cent a year.

Mr John Mnyika (Ubungo-Chadema) appealed to the government to make concerted efforts aimed at arresting the spiralling inflation, noting  that it not only affected the country’s economic growth but  could also cause political unrest.

Prof Ndulu also asked Tanzanians to report to relevant authorities any people or institutions that demanded payments in US dollars.The minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr Mustafa Mkulo,  gave a catalogue of measures that he said the government was taking to curb inflation and resolve other economic problems.

Source: The Citizen,www.thecitizen.co.tz, reported by Lucas Liganga in Dodoma

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