Tanzania puts tourism, farming and forestry in spot light

Today we witness particularly hard times for the entire world because no country — poor and rich — has been spared of inflation.  The argument by experts is that effects of COVD-19 — let alone other adverse economic conditions that prevailed before the pandemic broke out — have spared no country and that these effects have smash the US economy and shattered the Chinese economy.  And what does this mean? It means when the economies of the two countries are in deep trouble, the growth of the world economy is lethargic or sluggish.

These are two are the world’s leading economies. If one wishes, one can add another big ‘economy’ of the European Union bloc.

The Chinese economy is the second biggest economy after that of the United States of America.  This month, inflation in the US is reported to have reached 6 percent and it will probably rise in the next few days.  COVD-19 started in Asia and quickly engulfed the world.

 Ruining world economies

What is important for the Tanzania government and Tanzanian key institutions is to remain on the guard and uphold the wisdom contained in the popular adage which says when the US sneezes, small economies — without exception — catch cold.  The truth is that all countries catch cold.  But this time US keeps sneezing and China is not only sneezing but it also coughing. So all world small economies have caught bad cold and the entire world is groaning under inflation.

Inflation is not a simple or laughing matter.  Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines inflation as a general rise in the prices of services and goods in a country, resulting in a fall in the value of money.

Global inflation has made life difficult in Tanzania

Fortunately the sixth phase government, led by President Samia Hassan, remains on the guard by identifying areas to emphasise on.  The Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC), too, remains active by coordinating ministerial public private consultation meetings that keeps ministry officials on their toes.  In this regard, two ministerial meetings ended in Arusha on January 6.

The government, on its part, has declared that in these particularly difficult times it will emphasise on tourism. Tourism is one of the pillars of Tanzanian economy. Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning Lawrence Mafuru said in Dar es Salaam on January 16, by November 2022,  earnings from tourism had risen up to 2.44 billion US dollars or 5.67 trillion/-.

Tanzania is gifted with tourism values.  Consider four of them.  Tanzanians are very hospitable, tourist like the warmth with which they are received

Tanzania is a very safe country. Tourists do not worry about their safety and their belongings. Tanzania has best and many tourist attractions in the world, after Brazil.

With seriousness, Tanzania can do wonders in tourism.   The World Bank, Africa Tourism Reports says nice words about Tanzania’s tourism.  In Africa, the World Bank says, Tanzania is one of the five countries with the highest potential for tourism fast growth.  Others are Namibia, Botswana, Cape Verde and South Africa.

When on reads records of the World Economic Forum, (Tourism and Natural Resources) one realises that Tanzania is in the list of the top four globally.

The Arusha meeting on tourism adopted 25 resolutions. One of them called for conceiving and development of virtual tourism in order “to promote digital tourism economy.”  The resolution says  it is important   to build “tourism ecosystem using start-ups, skill development, surveillance systems, telecommunication systems and digital entrepreneurship.”

Mr Mafuru also said the government will also emphasise on mining: development of the sector and increasing exports.  Tanzania has many mineral deposits dotting the country.

Tanzania has to import capital goods — the things it needs in order to promote development — using foreign currency. Spending the meagre foreign earnings is not healthy for national survival and dignity.  Therefore, Tanzania has to export in order to increase foreign currency with which to import the necessary capital goods.

After mining, Mr Mafuru said the government will emphasise on transportation. Roads, good roads, must be built in every district, in every region.  Goods must move, and move easily and safely from points of production to points of consumption. Farm inputs must quickly reach farmers and before farming seasons start.  Fertilisers, more so subsidised fertilisers, must reach all peasants, who need them.   In return farm produce must reach markets so that farmers can repay debts and increase disposable income.

There is a lot of sense in emphasising on farming.  Tanzania has to maintain national food security and even export surplus food and cash crops. Agriculture contributes 26.9 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP).

Agriculture Minister Hussein Bashe, who trots the country listening to peasants, says agriculture must modernise and grow by 10 percent by 2030.  During the current budget, money to the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) has been increased to enable the bank to serve with some ease the farming community. TADB has to serve agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors because they are somehow related and employ millions of Tanzanians.

Agriculture is one of the seven key elements of the Tanzania Development Vision 2025.  Others are water, energy, transport, education, resource mobilisatIion and healthcare.  Retired President Jakaya Kikwete once said that agriculture means everything to Tanzania.

Forestry is another important sector in promoting national development. Deserving attention has to pay to forestry.  Fortunately, Tanzania already has the National Engineered Wood Sector Development Framework 2021-2031 and the Action Plan for the National Engineered Wood Sector Development Framework 2021-2031.   But few people probably know that this good national work is a product of the efforts of the TNBC.  The framework was produced by the TNBC Forest Working Group.  The group says in its acknowledgement page that the framework “is a product of the Public Private Dialogues (PPDs) undertake by the TNBC, Forest Working Group between 2019 and 2021.”  The action plan was produced by the Forestry and Beekeeping Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

Again the Arusha ministerial consultative meeting on forestry reviewed the distance covered in implementing past resolutions on forestry. The meeting endorsed 13 resolutions of its own.

One resolution called on the central government to ensure district councils do not continue to impose timber sales cess of their own choices.  Instead district councils must adhere to central government’s declared cess of three percent.  Another resolution called for review of GN 59 in order to reduce royalty in relation to buying trees and streamline costs currently enforced.

In another resolution, the meeting threw its weight behind the idea of having an annual week fair on forestry products.  The first 7-day fair will be held in the national capital Dodoma later this year.

The TNBC, one can rightly argue, that it is playing its part in battling inflation currently troubling the entire world.

About the Author: Keasi is a professional journalist working as a media consultant and researcher based in Dar es Salaam. He can also be reached at keasi1971@gmail.com or +255 713466661.

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