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National economic bolstering plan unveiled

FINANCE and Planning Minister Dr Philip Mpango yesterday unveiled the 2019/20 development plan, highlighting five major strategies that will spur economic growth during the coming fiscal year.

The government has allocated 12.2tri/- for the plan execution, with 9.7tri/- and 2.5tri/- of the funds sourced domestically and externally, respectively. The allotted money is equivalent to 37 percent of the total budget for the 2019/20 financial year.

The minister said the plan focuses on attaining 7.1 per cent growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019 compared to 7.0 percent of 2018 and maintain the price inflation at one digit—between three and 4.5 percent.The plan also aims at increasing national revenue collections to 13.1 in the 2019/20 fiscal year from this year’s 12.1 percent of GDP.

The minister further identified priority major projects and activities in the coming financial year, mentioning some of them as industrial projects. He said the government seeks to put emphasis on establishment and development of industries, especially those exploiting domestically produced raw materials.

He said the focus will be on development of industrial clusters, Tanzania Automobiles Manufacturing Company Ltd (TAMCO) in Kibaha, Coast region, hide industry in Dodoma and special investment zone in Bunda, Dodoma and Benjamin William Mkapa in Dar es Salaam.

The plan also focuses on development of technological researches and improvement of industrial products from Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation and Rural Tech (CAMARTEC), Tanzania Industrial Research and Development Organisation (TIRDO), Tanzania Engineering and Manufacturing Design Organisation (TEMDO) and Small Industries Development Organisation (SIDO).

On agriculture, the plan shows that the government will facilitate availability of seeds and other agricultural inputs, extension services, warehouses and markets. “The government will continue with construction and renovation of irrigation schemes and strengthen research on seeds and crop diseases,” noted Dr Mpango.

The plan also identifies other areas of focus as strengthening research in fishing and livestock sectors as well as promoting mining activities. Dr Mpango told Members of Parliament (MPs) that the plan, which envisages ensuring the country’s economic growth, reflects the actual ordinary Tanzanian situation. He said the government plans to continue supporting education in various levels.

“We are looking forward to educate Tanzanians to get more doctors and experts in various fields, improve education infrastructure and ensure free education,” he noted. The minister added that the government focuses on strengthening health sector by improving infrastructure at referral, zonal and national hospitals.

“We look forward to improve health services at Ocean Road Cancer Institute, Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) and Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI),” he said. He added that the government through the one year plan aims at strengthening water services by continually executing various water projects countrywide.

Some of the major projects include Makonde in Mtwara, Wanging’ombe in Njombe, Chalinze in Coast region, Mugango/Kiabakari in Mara and Lake Victoria for Nzega, Igunga, Sikonge and 89 villages along the water pipe.

The plan also focuses at improving the environment of doing business in the country and supporting investments. The minister said the project under improving business environment includes improvement of infrastructure, which covers construction of roads, standard gauge railway (SGR), generation of 2,115MW from Rufiji River and improvement of the national carrier—Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL).

On the national debt, the minister said as of April, 2019, the national debt was 51tri/- from 49.8tri/- recorded in April 2018, an increase of 2.4 percent. Dr Mpango said the debt remains manageable and the government will continue borrowing for execution of various development projects, noting that the domestic and foreign debts stand at 13.2tri/- and 38tri/-, respectively.

“The debt has slightly increased because the government received loans for the standard gauge railway, fly-over and other road projects,” he noted, hinting that the country’s foreign reserve reached 4.4 billion US dollars, equivalent to 4.3-month imports, as of April, 2019. The amount exceeds the government target of fourmonth imports, according to Dr Mpango.

“The foreign reserve at the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) is satisfactory. We have 4.4 billion US dollars, which are equivalent to 4.3 months of imports,” noted the minister, arguing that the strong reserve has increased confidence to investors and big traders in the country.

He said renovations of the 439-kilometre Tanga-Arusha railway have reached 80 percent, assuring that the renovation works on the railway are proceeding well. He said 11 locomotives have been purchased and 15 wagons renovated. The minister said the government has also purchased traction motor, excavator, dumper track and drill rig, elaborating that the drill rig was delivered in April, this year.

He explained that construction of the 300-kilometre SGR from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro has reached 48.9 percent and from Morogoro to Makutupora in Dodoma region, covering 422 kilometres, has reached 7.12 percent.

The minister said agriculture sector grew by 5.3 percent in 2018 compared to 4.8 percent in 2016. “The growth of agriculture sector means food security, which is the strong pillar in the country’s economic growth,” said the minister.

He said food price inflation remained at 2.7 percent in April, 2019 compared to 7.3 percent in April, 2016, attributing the price stability to agricultural sector growth.

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Author: By FLORENCE MUGARULA

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