Opposition unveils 15tri/- budget, target rural growth

Mr Zitto
The opposition camp in Parliament on Monday unveiled its 15trn/- alternative budget for 2012/13 financial year, with the aim of attaining between six and eight per cent in rural economic growth for the benefits of about 30 million rural population.

The opposition shadow minister for finance and economic affairs, Mr Kabwe Zitto, said the budget dwells on creating friendly environment for rural economic growth through improvement of road, electricity, water and irrigation infrastructure.

The alternative budget, which targets 11.9trn/- revenues from domestic sources, has 6trn/- directed to development projects, with the remaining 9trn/- left for recurrent expenditures. 

The government has allocated 10.6trn/- and 4.5trn/- to recurrent and development expenditures, respectively.

Mr Zitto faulted the government for routinely borrowing money to finance allowances, seminars, workshops, foreign trips and purchase of posh vehicles for government officials, saying the trend has increased the national debt unnecessarily. 

“The opposition camp is saddened by the government’s creation of excessive debt for the nation through borrowing for recurrent spending,” Mr Zitto said, charging that the issue was not sustainability as the government claims but the reasons behind the debt.

He said the parliament is responsible for controlling the government against indiscriminate borrowing, charging, “We cannot allow our elders (those in powers) to live their lives, live our lives and borrow our children’s lives.”

The legislator warned the government against its plan to borrow about 3trn/- from domestic and foreign sources under commercial rates, saying commercial loans by the government have adverse impact on the economy as they limit the capacity of small entrepreneurs to compete with the government.

He challenged the government to increase domestic revenue collections instead of going for commercial loans. The Kigoma North MP on Chadema ticket touted heavy investment in production of food crops as the lasting solution to inflation, dismissing proposals by the finance minister, Dr William Mgimwa, as ineffective. 

In his budget speech to the august House here last Thursday, Dr Mgimwa announced the government plans to issue permits for sugar and rice duty-free imports to strengthen the national food reserve.

But, Mr Zitto criticised the strategy that the government applied last financial year, with the results being increased prices that saw sugar prices escalating to as high as 2,800/- per kilogramme. 

“The government wants to give the same solution to the same problem and expects to get different outcome,” he said.

Shadow Minister in the President's Office, Planning, Christina Mughwai said it was high time the government, through the central bank, started to keep the national reserve in gold to mitigate the effects of the shilling depreciation. She further proposed that the central bank start buying gold from small-scale miners and charge royalty on pure gold.
Source: The Daily News,http://www.dailynews.co.tz 

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