MPs fault govt over neglected industries

Members of Parliament yesterday took a swipe at the government, accusing it of for neglecting the industrial sector, citing it as the main cause for economic woes which the country has been experiencing.

Debating a report by the Economic Affairs, Industries and Trade Committee, MPs noted that even the agriculture sector, which is regarded as the mainstay of the national economy, needed the backing of strong manufacturing industries for it to perform better.

Dr Dalaly Peter Kafumu (Igunga-CCM), Ms Asumpta Mshama (Nkenge-CCM) and Ms Pindi Chana (Special Seats-CCM) said separately that the government had neglected industries at its own peril.

Dr Kafumu noted, for instance, that all the economic bases of developed countries were built through strong industries, which helped to reinvigorate other sectors.

“We started well during Mwalimu (Julius Nyerere) era when we constructed a lot of industries but we messed up when we decided to privatise them. Those who acquired the factories abandoned them,” he said.

He noted, for instance, that in China industries contributed 45 per cent of its national gross domestic product (GDP), which was higher than what the services sector brought in.

“Industrialisation is very important if we want to stimulate our economy. We need a special strategy to revive industries. If we revive industries we will assist other sectors such as agriculture to grow,” he said.

The Igunga MP noted that the 25 per cent contribution to GDP from industries was not enough as it needed to reach at least 50 per cent for it to have meaningful impact.

For her part, Ms Mshama noted that the agriculture sector would not grow if not for support from the industrial sector.

“When you talk of a sugar factory you talk of agriculture, when you talk of cotton factories you talk of agriculture. Therefore, even though the backbone of our economy is agriculture, the sector needs the support of industries. Without strong industries, agriculture will be nothing,” she said.

Ms Mshama asked the government to take into account all people and institutions that acquired factories during privatisation and then  failed to develop them in accordance with the set proposals.

She expressed worry over the government’s failure to effectively implement its policies of safeguarding local manufacturers, warning that the situation might create big problems.

“Kagera Sugar is planning to lay off 3,000 people by the end of this month. What are these people going to do?” she asked.  For her part, Ms Chana proposed that each year, during the budget session, the ministry responsible for industries should bring a progress report showing how many new factories have been built in the country.

She noted that she was not satisfied with the pace of development at the Liganga and Mchuchuma iron ore deposits.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Peter Nyanje from Dodoma, Tanzania
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