Liberating poor people

…It is what economists stress should be the thrust of the new budget

AS today Tanzanians eagerly await presentation of the country’s next budget for the 2019/2020 Financial Year, economists say it should address the challenges facing ordinary citizens, at least for now.

In an interview with the ‘Daily News’, economic pundits suggested yesterday that the next budget needs to focus on the lives of poor Tanzanians who need to improve their lives, especially on economic benefits.

University of Dodoma (UDOM) lecturer, Dr Joel Mmasa, said during an interview that on agriculture, the government needs to consider the Maputo and Malabo Protocols which are clear that the governments in African countries need to allocate at least 10 percent of their budget for the sector.

The UDOM don further touted for the government to allocate funds for Research and Development (R&D), which he said was key in realizing the country’s agenda and development.

Another Lecturer at UDOM, Dr Paul Loisulie, suggested that in the next budget, the government needs to consider how best the lives of poor Tanzanians can be improved.

“Apart from levies and taxes imposed on people, workers need to get something promising from the budget to be tabled by the minister tomorrow (today),’’ said the don.

Many Tanzanians are eager to know if the budget will suit their normal lives in making their ends meet, bearing in mind that their President, Dr John Magufuli, has repeatedly insisted that the government would do whatever it can to bring fortune for all.

The Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Philip Mpango, will table his 33tri/- budget, which is the fourth since President John Magufuli took over from his predecessor, Jakaya Kikwete in 2015.

Among the key priorities, the government says it targets big development projects which will help the country to boost the economy. In March 2019, Dr Mpango told Members of Parliament that the government expects to spend 33.1tri/- in the 2019/2020 Financial Year, against 32.5tri/- it targeted to spend in the current (2018/2019) Fiscal Year.

This means that in the next Fiscal Year, there will be an increment of over 600bn/-, an equivalent of 1.9per cent.

The money, according to the minister, is expected to be sourced from tax and non-tax revenues, Local Government Authorities (LGAs), aid and grants from Development Partners (DPs) as well as local and external concessional loans.

Dr Mpango said at that time in the next financial year, the government plans to spend 20.9tri/- in recurrent expenditure, which will include financing of the 2019 civic polls and preparations for the General Election next year.

He added that development expenditure for the 2019/2020 budget is expected to be 12.2tri/- while 9.7tri/- will be from internal revenue collection and 2.5tri/- will be from external revenue sources.

Dr Mpango, who was presenting the National Development Plan and the budget ceiling for 2019/2020, told Members of Parliament that the focus of the next budget would remain on building an industrial economy that was expected to stimulate employment and social welfare.

According to him, by considering the 2019/2020 Budget Policy, in order to properly execute the 33.1tri/- budget, 23tri/- was supposed to be obtained from internal revenue sources, loans from local financial institutions (5tri/-), foreign loans with business conditions (2.3tri/) and development partners (2.8tri/-).

At the meeting which was chaired by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa and attended by National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai, the finance minister said the government would continue sealing loopholes for tax evasion.

“We shall insist on proper utilisation of the government’s money by investing in public infrastructure and social services in our bid to expedite development,’’ he said.

He added that the government was similarly committed to intensifying the war against graft and embezzlement of public funds as well as improving the investment environment in the country.

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Author: KATARE MBASHIRU in Dodoma

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