‘Poverty amid rosy economic figures’

Mr Pinda
Economists have faulted the government figures on the economy, saying majority Tanzanians still live in abject poverty, surviving on below one US dollar a day.

Moving his office’s budget estimates for 2013/2014 in Dodoma on Wednesday, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda said the country’s economy was on right track, with per capita income having increased by 125,862/- from 869,436 in 2011 to 995,298/- last year.

But, despite the rosy figures, economists faulted the use of per capita income, describing it as a poor indicator of economic welfare of the people. They say the technique is too primitive to reflect the real picture on the ground.

The technique calculates the average wealthy of the population by dividing the total wealth of the nation to the total population, without considering the income disparity among the people. 

The University of Dar es Salaam Senior Economics Lecturer, Dr Haji Semboja, said it was unfortunate that per capita income remains the main indicator of individual wealth despite its obvious errors.

“The technique does not consider the inequality in income...though it’s true that we averagely earn that 1m/- a year but the reality is that only few people have billions with majority left penniless,” Dr Semboja told the Daily News in Dar es Salaam.

He said the best measures of people’s economic welfare are employment rates and real wage against inflation. The economist said in actual sense the majority of active labour force produces less than two US dollars a day, the amount he termed as subsistence earning.

The Enterprise Growth Market (EGMA) Economist, Dr Hildebrand Shayo had difficulties believing that individual wealth of Tanzanians has gone up that high. “People who lack access to clean water, health facilities, decent shelter and nutritious food can hardly be that rich,” said Dr Shayo.

Mr Leonard Mwanga of Tabata, asked whether he felt richer today that the previous years, he said: “I don’t feel as if am 100,000/- richer today than yesteryear...actual I am poorer today than the previous year.”

Another resident of Mbagala, Mr Kitia Mjema said one’s income should reflect the actual costs of living. “If the income has increased as we are told then the standard of living should have been high as well,” Mr Mjema said.
Source: The Daily News,www.dailynews.co.tz, reported by Abduel Elinaza in Dar es Salaam
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