For example, the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) monthly economic review for the year ending in October 2011, has seen three commodities including gold, cloves and tobacco taking a lead in the country’s exports.
Likewise, increase in exports of various commodities to the neighbouring countries such as cement, textile apparels, edible oil, plastic items, iron and steel products, wheat flour and paper goods contributed largely to the external sector’s performance.
Such outstanding performances can be realized in the increased value of exports of goods and services for the year ending October last year that appreciated by 21.7 per cent. Also, the sector’s positive performance is reflected in increased earnings. “Viewed for the whole year through, the world market prices of all commodities recorded notable increases, in the year ending October 2011,” stated the bank report.
The value of export of goods and services increased to 6,733.8 million US dollars (about 10,7tr/-) in October last year compared to 5,532 dollars (about 8,8tr/-) of the corresponding period in 2010, showed the report. The price of cloves increased by 88.5 per cent on account of decline in supply particularly from Indonesia.
Cotton, sisal and coffee also experienced substantial price increases in the world market. Notable price increases were also registered in maize and wheat, stated the bank report. In the month under review, services receipt were 2,365.1 million US dollars compared to 2,024.7 million dollars recorded during the year to October 2010, with much of the increase emanating from travel and transportation receipts.
According to the 2010 International Visitors’ Exit Survey Report, Italy, United Kingdom, and the US were identified as the major tourist source markets for Tanzania. The survey observed that number of international visitors, the average length of stay and average expenditure per person per night increased, contributing to the improvement in tourism earnings. The findings show further that that wildlife tourism is the main activity, followed by beach tourism and mountain climbing.
Meanwhile, good performance in transportation receipts was mainly attributed to the increase in volumes of transit goods to and from neighbouring landlocked countries. However, economists are suggesting that there should be more efforts in boosting traditional agricultural products such as tobacco, coffee, cotton, cashew nut, tea and cloves which constitute the biggest part of the country’s exports.
They propose that the export structure needs to be liberalized to respond to the market forces instead of intervening through trade bans. Poor policing strategy, in turn has been a major factor in contributing to the progressive deterioration of the balance of payments position and more generally to the overall severe economic and social crisis. For example, the bank report for the month under review witnessed a widened current account deficit by 65.4 per cent to 4,073.5 million US dollars (about 6.5tr/-) compared to the previous year.
According to the report, the development was attributed by the widening gap in goods account and delay in disbursement of funds by development partners. Import of goods and services was 11,270.3 million US dollars (about 18,03tr/-) last year compared to 8,641.4 US dollars (13,83tr/-) recorded in the previous period as all categories of goods increased, stated the report.