…Government reaction to an article in ‘The Economist’
DESPITE mudslinging propaganda by some Western media outlets, the government of Tanzania remains steadfast in executing flagship development projects to steer the country towards middle-income economy status by 2025.
The Director of Tanzania Information Services (Maelezo), who doubles as Chief Government Spokesperson, Dr Hassan Abbas, reiterated yesterday that the government was unswerving in implementing the projects.
Dr Abbas made the remarks in response to queries from ‘Daily News’ in regard to a recent article by ‘The Economist’ which cast doubts on viability of development initiatives being undertaken by the Fifth Phase government.
“In the first place, it is very clear that the author of the biased report lacks geographical, historical and social facts about Tanzania. This is a continuation of senseless propaganda by ‘The Economist’.
“It is also true that the author could have obtained facts but he/she chose to write the misleading information for the interests of the people who are using him/her,” Dr Abbas stated.
The Chief Government Spokesperson revealed that the government of Tanzania had several times written to the editors of ‘The Economist’ on the need to obtain facts and adherence to professionalism in their publications all in vain.
“Time and again The Economist magazine has had a strategy of tarnishing the image of Tanzania through its publications. We know what they are up to; we will never stop the transformation agenda for the benefit of Tanzanians,” he stated, matter-of-factly.
Through the article, the London based publication stated for instance that reputation of the national carrier Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) was ‘dismal’ and yet the company has been making a turn-around since rejuvenation spearheaded by the Fifth Phase government.
The state-owned airline has increased its market share in the domestic market from just 2.5 per cent when it embarked on the recovery plan in 2016 to 20 per cent at the end of last year.
Dr Abbas pointed to the fact that apart from domestic and regional flights, the airline is now focusing on extending wings to Johannesburg in South Africa, Mumbai in India as far as Guangzhou in China.
In one of the paragraphs however, the author points clearly that; “Such megaprojects go down well domestically. They foster pride and are taken as evidence that the president is serious about giving Tanzania a modern economy by 2025”.
In the publication, The Economist also tried to underrate the importance of Rufiji Hydroelectric project at Stiegler’s Gorge, claiming that the initiative will make “Tanzania’s power supply to depend on a single source vulnerable to droughts”.
“This is a total lie, apart from the Rufiji project which will generate 2,115 megawatts of electricity upon its completion, Tanzania has various sources of producing power namely natural gas, geo-thermal, wind and solar, among others,” Dr Abbas explained.
The Chief Government publicist also pointed to the fact that Tanzania currently generates 831MW from natural gas which represents 60 per cent of the country’s installed national grid of about 1,570MW.
“Many projects for gasfired power plants are lined up in different phases at Kinyerezi in Dar es Salaam in addition to other gas projects in Lindi and Mtwara,” he explained.