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Samia orders facelift of stadia

Samia orders facelift of stadia

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has ordered for the improvement of CCM owned stadia, as well as establishment of sports academies in all regions.

President Samia issued the directives when addressing youth at the Nyamagana Stadium in Mwanza Region.

“I’m aware that most stadiums in the country are owned by my party CCM but they are in in good condition due to poor maintenance,” she said, adding that this is why the government proposed in the coming 2021/2022 fiscal budget to remove Value Added Tax (VAT) on imported artificial turf to encourage improvement of the venues.

President Samia said that the exemption of VAT should provide an opportunity for improvement of pitches owned by CCM as well as others.

To ensure that the order is effectively fulfilled, President Samia directed the party Deputy Secretary General (Mainland) Christina Mndeme, who was present at the occasion, to prepare a programme that would help raise funds to improve the venues.

She said that if the party will find it difficult to raise the funds, they should search for investors who will help them in fixing the stadiums.

Last week, during the tabling of 2021/2022 budget estimates, Finance and Planning Minister Mwigulu Nchemba proposed exemption of VAT on artificial grass with HS Code 5703.30.00 and 5703.20.00 for football pitches in city councils.

According to the proposal, the city councils which qualify for the artificial turf VAT exemption are Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Mbeya, Arusha, Tanga and Dodoma.

However, Dar es Salaam has three big stadia which are Benjamin Mkapa, Uhuru and Azam Complex. Here, only Benjamin Mkapa Stadium has natural grass while the remaining two venues -- Uhuru and Azam Complex have artificial turf.

The stadia in other five cities likely to benefit from the proposal are Mkwakwani (Tanga), Sheikh Amri Abeid Kalut (Arusha), CCM Kirumba (Mwanza), Sokoine (Mbeya) and Jamhuri (Dodoma) all of them are owned by ruling party CCM.

However, in the capital city Dodoma, the construction of the state-of-the-art stadium, which will accommodate 100,000 fans, is in the pipeline.

If this proposal will be given a green light, it means the country will enjoy contemporary sport venues, which will enable the country to be in a good position to bid for hosting major continental and world sport events.

Other than ordering on the improvement of stadia, President Samia instructed Minister for information, Culture, Arts and Sports Innocent Bashungwa to consider establishing sports academies in various regions to aid sports growth in the country.

“I take this chance to instruct the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports to put thoughts into establishing sports academies in the regions to help promote sports at all levels,” she said.

Also President Samia noted that the government has established a sports development fund that would support national teams in preparations for numerous competitions.

Other than highlighting issues regarding the sports sector, President Samia also said that from December this year, artists will begin being paid royalties for their works played on television, radio or online.

“Among the steps taken to strengthen the sports and arts sector is through strengthening protection of artists’ intellectual property rights and in that, I want to inform youth that from December this year, artists will begin being paid royalties for their works played on television, radio or online,” she said.

Meanwhile, the government has also put plans to merge the National Arts Council, BASATA and Tanzania Film Board (TFB) to ensure that artists get the best environment in fulfilling their creativity to the world. This was noted by Minister Bashungwa, at the same occasion.

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Author: ELKANA KUHENGA

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