TZ trumpets home-grown Covid recovery solutions

TANZANIA has fronted a number of measures which can be adapted by the international community, particularly the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in the process to recover from the adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The measures include promotion of research and development for home-grown solutions like biotechnology, manufacturing of vaccines, medical equipment, reagents and other life-saving commodities.

The measures also consist of continuing to work in solidarity as well as strengthening the country’s surveillance capacities.

Vice-President Dr Philip Mpango suggested the solutions at the official opening of the Summit-level Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement Contact Group in response to Covid-19, which kicked off yesterday in Baku, Azerbaijan.

He noted that continuing to work together in solidarity to explore and promote international trade and investment, share best practices and promote economic cooperation is also considered as key to the recovery process.

“There is a need to strengthen our surveillance capacities to timely detect and prevent infectious diseases of public health concern, outlining initiatives such as building infrastructure, robust health systems and training the workforce for containment of outbreaks,” said Dr Mpango.

“It is evident that the pandemic has had serious adverse socio-economic impacts, including loss of lives, over-stretched health infrastructure and healthcare workers as well as subdued economic growth. Worse still, NAM Member States were exposed to inequitable distribution of essential vaccines and medical equipment necessary to fight the virus,” he added, noting that an important lesson for dealing with future pandemics is that a coordinated NAM voice calling for international solidarity is key to success.

The VP equally advocated for the promotion of proper nutrition and physical wellbeing of people, which are key to a healthy living and body resilience against diseases.

He stressed that Tanzania welcomed the establishment of the Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) for pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (PPR) under the G20 Indonesia’s Presidency, to address the current gaps in funding and to ensure the sustainability of its funding and WHO’s centrality in the governance framework.

The VP commended the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan for effectively steering the activities of NAM during the unprecedented circumstances brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to him, under his Chairmanship, member states were able to articulate the importance of international solidarity and concerted efforts needed to defeat the pandemic.

Dr Mpango also highlighted key initiatives that Tanzania undertook in addressing the impacts of Covid-19, including mobilising and distributing vaccines to the targeted population, which greatly helped to contain the pandemic.

“This package of interventions has paid off…Real GDP which had fallen from 6.9 per cent decadal growth at the pre-Covid to 4.8 per cent in 2021, is now at 5.2 per cent. Tourism and manufacturing are also on the recovery path,” asserted the VP, while extending appreciation to NAM for airing their voice that enabled Tanzania to receive the very much needed vaccines during those trying times.

Simultaneously, Tanzania adjusted development spending in favour of construction and equipping health facilities as well as increasing personnel and supply of essential medicines in order to revamp the health sector which was seriously hit by the pandemic.

The government also devised and implemented a comprehensive Covid-19 Socioeconomic Response Plan, aiming at mitigating the effects of the pandemic, stimulating growth and preserving macroeconomic stability.

Implementation of the plan was facilitated by a concessional loan under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) window from the IMF, to enhance infrastructure capacity in education, health and water to deal with contagious diseases and extending support to the most affected sectors including tourism, manufacturing, import/export business and SMEs.

The VP noted that the measures were also supported by monetary policy interventions including reducing the central bank discount rate and the statutory minimum reserve requirement so as to provide additional liquidity to banks.

The government also introduced a waiver on interest and charges to businesses so that banks and financial institutions could roll over, review or extend overdraft facilities; reduced the interest rates on treasury bills and bonds to increase liquidity of commercial banks; and containing inflation rate at single digit.

It also successfully negotiated with bilateral and multilateral creditors for debt relief and restructuring.

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