Growth must focus on farms

Economic empowerment is an uphill task engulfed with community and economic development challenges which are intertwined.

The intertwined challenges, according to Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) discussion paper release recently, cannot be implemented overnight.

The report discussed at the 7th TNBC meeting Chaired by President Kikwete, centred on ‘economic growth with inclusiveness’ shows that in the last decade efforts to empower locals attained merely 5.6 per cent.

“The country is very poor, some say, ‘artificially poor’ and is engulfed with societal and economic development challenges that are intertwined,” the report says. The need for untying the reported challenges compelled the TNBC to scale down the ten key pillars of empowering policy to six actionable strategies.

The decision came as since 2004 effort to empowers citizens were sluggish and managed to accomplish less than 6.0 per cent of the targeted key pillars. The status of implementation of economic strategies targeting ten pillars shows that out of 89 strategies only five were implemented fully representing 5.6 per cent success.

The data shows that each year the government manages to empower roughly 0.6 per cent, which is a clear indication that the current 7.0 per cent growth managed to eradicate 2.0 per cent poverty.

“Assuming that the strategies were incorrect, inadequate or inappropriate, (and) then this would have been reviewed and reported,” TNBC said in a report quoting data from Prime Minister’s Office.

The report adds: “if they were too many to be implemented (mouthful), prioritisation could have been done and implementation carried step by step.”

The areas of focus are building of human capital; growing equity ownership in the corporate sector; enable locals to own non-financial assets; entrepreneurship and commerce skills; empowerment boards and commitment to fundamental factors.

This came up after the National Economic Empowerment Council (NEEC) earmarked ten pillars of which mostly 56 out of 89 were not implemented at all in the last ten years. While partially implemented were 28 strategies.

The highest percentage of implementation was 22.2 per cent of accelerating economic growth and creating enabling investment environment, followed by 14.3 per cent of institution arrangement. The third on line was economic infrastructure that scored 8.3 per cent, fourth is investment capital which bank home 5.9 per cent.

The rest pillars legal and regulatory framework and public service delivery, raising skills and knowledge levels, privatisation, markets, cooperatives and land scored less than zero per cent.

The document suggests: “in order to facilitate indigenous Tanzanians participate in mainstream economic activities, own and manage the economy, economic empowerment strategies have to be prioritised and focused.”

That way the 7th TNBC meeting resolved to draw up strategies to create better business environment and how best the private sector can productively take part in the government’s ‘Big Results Now’ initiative. It was agreed that a secretariat under the Chief Secretary, Ambassador Ombeni Sefue will come up with comprehensive report.

Other members of the secretariat include the Permanent Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office, Dr Florens Turuka and representatives from TNBC, Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) and the National Empowerment Council.

The Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Investment and Empowerment, Dr Mary Nagu, said the decision to form the secretariat sought to make sure that matters discussed in the meeting were implemented. “It will be decided who will do what with time bound to make sure the results are achieved,” she said.

The bridge the gap, Mr Kikwete trumped inclusion of the majority of the population into the national economic growth strategy to boost their economic and social wellbeing.

The President clearly said the growth rate of 7.0 per cent has failed to trickle down to the wananchi as poverty eradication inroad is 2.0 per cent a phenomenal showing each initiative driving at the same direction but at a different speed.

Due to this discrepancy, 75 per cent of the population has been left out in the economic growth benefit cake, increasing the gap of inequality. And he pointed out that without agriculture, economic inclusiveness is a dream; the president observed that the sector remained a major challenge to-date.

“The challenge is agriculture... other sectors are almost growing by 20 per cent, but not agriculture that grew mere by 4.3 per cent,” Mr President said. Mr Kikwete noted that failure to uplift agricultural sector growth, fishing, farming and cattle keeping thwarted all efforts to bring home decent GDP growth of 10 plus per cent.

“If we will manage to include the agricultural sector into the economy by at least six per cent, our (GDP) growth will shoot up to 10 per cent or more; and we’ll see the trickle-down effect,” the President, who is the TNBC chair, said.

With GDP growing at 10 per cent, it could be easily translated to the well-being of individuals hence accelerating poverty eradication initiatives to realise the 2025 vision of attaining a middle class country.
Source: Daily News, reported by Abduel Elinaza from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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