Promote competitive economy to curb poverty, MPs urge govt

DODOMA: WHILE embarking on its 2024/2025 development plans, the government ought to take into consideration the country’s Development Vision 2025, to further strengthen its drive of alleviating poverty and promoting a competitive economy.

Musoma Rural Member of Parliament Prof Sospeter Muhongo extended the call when the National Assembly sat as a committee yesterday, to debate the guidelines proposal for the National Development Plan and Budget for the 2024/2025 financial year.

He pointed out that by 2025, Tanzania envisions to reach a GDP per capita of 3,000 US dollars, this being the case, the fruits obtained through the country’s plans and investments should be realised within two to three years.

“For a longtime, the country’s economy has been growing at between 5 to 6 per cent, however it has been confirmed that within 20 and 30 years, the recorded growth has not helped the country to take big steps in the fight against poverty,” said Prof Muhongo.

In this regard, the country’s plans need to direct its focus by growing beyond 6 per cent, noting that global standards require a trajectory growth ranging between 8 to 10 per cent.

Equally, by the end of this year, the GDP per capita is estimated to be 1,115 US dollars, far below the anticipated goal of 3000 US dollars, noting that the country’s plans need to redirect its focus on poverty eradication.

Prof Muhongo observed that current statistics on poverty in Tanzania show that 18.7 per cent of Tanzanians live below the food poverty line while basic needs (poverty line) accounts for 35.7 per cent.

Generally, 13 per cent of urban dwellers do not fall under the category of poor people while 87 per cent of people living in the rural areas live under abject poverty.

“Our plans should be directed in specific projects geared towards eradicating poverty within the country,” he said.

He suggested that the economic growth rate in the country should range between 8 per cent and 10 per cent, identifying key areas which could be prioritised in fast-tracking the process including the investment of three types of gas including natural gas, helium and carbon dioxide along with others.

Prof Muhongo noted that the project should place emphasis on quick money which could be obtained from the natural gas economy.

According to him, aside from gold there has been a much higher demand for other minerals, saying Tanzania can also tap in into that area.

Among other areas in which the country can obtain quick revenues is the area of agriculture, livestock, fisheries and tourism.

For successful implementation of the above, he underscored the need to impart quality education at all levels.

The Lawmaker was skeptical on whether councils and Ward Councils have been capacitated in executing the new Education Policy slated to kick start in 2027.

He said quality education refers to teachers and tutors with right standards, teaching tools and amenities like libraries and laboratories.

He noted that the country needs to borrow a leaf from other countries that have recorded milestones in the area of education citing the example of South Korea, Finland and the United Kingdom.

Within the African Continent, Tanzania can borrow from the best practices of countries like South Africa, Kenya and Botswana.

“Let’s not confine ourselves in ordinary comfort zones, we should dig deeper to know what these countries have done to be considered with the highest education standards” he stated.

The Lawmaker revealed that no country has recorded major development without investing in research, development and innovation, pinpointing that specific focus areas should be highlighted while suggesting areas like agriculture, seed development, science and technology, space science, life sciences (medical treatment) and nuclear science.

Similarly, the plans should underscore the number of researchers available in the country taking into consideration the international standards requirements.

And, the budget designated for research and development needs to be vivid, pointing out that in the previous year Tanzania had spent 870 million US dollars while neighbouring Kenya used 2 billion US dollars and over 2.5 trillion US dollars globally.

Above all, he said the focus should be directed to the needs of Tanzania including food, water, energy and medical care, noting that the quantity of food should specify the needed capacity for the next 10 to 20 years to come.

As for water, he said the country should do away with quantifying the precious liquid into percentage but rather specify the individual needs of a person per year employing the water stress indicator.

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