POVERTY levels are steadily declining in Tanzania despite rapid population growth, thanks to a strong growing economy, Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning Dr Ashatu Kijaji has said.
She said in Parliament yesterday that Household Budget Surveys of 2011/12 and 2017/18 showed that basic need poverty declined from 28.2 per cent in 2012 to 26.4 per cent in 2018 and basic food poverty dropped from 9.7 per cent in 2016 to 8.0 per cent in 2018.
“So, it is not right to continue saying poverty is increasing. We need to debunk the growing poverty myth and focus on how to take advantages of gains of growing economy,” she said in a reply to a supplementary question from Boniface Getere (Bunda Rural, CCM) who wanted to know what government strategies to fight against poverty were.
She said the robust growing economy had positive impact in the levels of poverty.
Economic growth is described as the most powerful instrument for reducing poverty and improving the quality of life in developing countries.
Tanzania has enjoyed a robust growing economy to an average of seven percent per year for more than a decade.
The economy expanded by 7 percent last year and is projected to grow by 7.1 per cent in 2019. However the growth declined to 6.6 percent in the first quarter of 2019 from 7.5 percent in the same period a year earlier, according to official data by the National Bureau of Statistics.
The East African Community’s second largest economy of 55 million people has one of the world’s highest birth rates. Figures from UN population fun showed the population is growing by about 2.7 per cent annually.
The basic needs poverty declined from 28.2 percent in 2011/12 Household Budget Survey to 26.4 per cent in the 2017/18 Household Budget Survey. Similarly, the food poverty declined from 9.7 per cent in the 2011/12 Household Budget Survey to 8.0 percent in the 2017/18 Household Budget survey.
In Tanzania, poverty is measured by comparing a household’s consumption per adult equivalent to the national poverty line using Household Budget Survey (HBS) data.
The consumption aggregate comprises food, including food produced by the households themselves, and expenditures on a range of other goods and services; e.g., clothing, utilities, transportation, communication, health, and education.
It excludes rent and other housing-related expenditures as well as spending on exceptional events (e.g., marriages, funerals) and larger consumer durable items (cars, TVs, etc.).
In recent years, Tanzania’s approach to economic development has placed renewed emphasis upon the importance of economic transformation in driving poverty reduction and prosperity.
According to the 2012 Household Budget Survey, the Tanzania Mainland Poverty Assessment highlights the country’s first significant decline in poverty in 20 years.
Basic needs poverty, which refers to the minimum resources needed for physical wellbeing, declined from 34.4 per cent in 2006, to 28.2 per cent by 2012.
During the same time period, extreme poverty also decreased from 11.7 per cent to 9.7 per cent.