PRESIDENT John Magufuli has poured out his heart, revealing why he doesn’t relish foreign trips, insisting that it was illogical for him to go ‘globe-trotting’ even as his own country reels in economic rot and grand scale fraud.
And, on the same footing, the President has vowed to continue turning down foreign invitations and, instead, dedicate his time to strengthening his grip on important issues facing the nation.
Dr Magufuli was speaking shortly before he officially inaugurated the 23bn/- Sengerema water project that will supply more than 90,000 members of the population here with clean water, thanks to the African Development Bank (AfDB), for donating more than 80 per cent of the project funds.
The president, who took the opportunity to elaborate on other national critical issues, said remaining in the country all the time had helped him tackle a number of issues – from graft in high places to acts of economic sabotage in a myriad ways.
He said he wouldn’t spend time travelling overseas while the country faced many challenges, such as smuggling. “I have turned down more than 60 invitations … I’m not interested. I would rather stay home and uncover the rot visiting upon our national resources and I will maintain this until the last ‘root’ is uprooted,” he said.
Dr Magufuli cited recent moves aimed at uncovering theft in the mining sector as one of the heavy tasks he was facing and was ready to undertake more such tasks, saying he wanted his successor to lead “a rich and prosperous country.”
With all other scams already being dealt with, the Head of State says his office has now come across massive theft in the supply of fertiliser vouchers to ‘ghost’ farmers receiving equally ‘ghost supplies.’
On the recent move to send three mining bills to Parliament under certificate of emergency, he said that was deliberately decided since he could not afford to keep on waiting while the country’s precious minerals were snuggled like nobody’s business.
Dr Magufuli said it was a shocking revelation coming into terms of how much the country had been losing all along with minerals worth more than 388tril/- being stolen already, enough to feed the nation for more than 12 good years.
It was on that fact that he decided to take the bills in the House as a matter of urgency in order to rectify the current situation and make sure the country benefits fully from its resources.
He asked security organs and local government leaders to remain firm and deal with theft of public resources and assured them of maximum guidance and support as the government extends war on economic enemies.
Earlier, one Hamis Mugwao, a member of Chadema who apparently announced to defect to CCM told the President on the sabotage in another water project in Sengerema District whose implementation delayed after 2.4bn/- was siphoned.
The President gave an instant directive for the money swindlers to return the money immediately while security organs hold them accountable.
The Mwanza Regional Commissioner, Mr John Mongela, said as he presented brief report on development projects that apart from the implementation of water projects, the region was also doing well with industrialization agenda with at least 12 facilities already in different stages.
“The water project at Nansio, Ukerewe is now working and people are getting clean and adequate water. We are busy with other campaigns including setting up industries and farming where at least 22 million kg will be harvested this season up from 5m kg last season,” he said.
However, Dr Magufuli was irked by poor performance in implementing the privatization of industries that left 197 such privatized ones white elephants citing the Mwanza based Tanneries Company.