Saturday, August 21, 2010

NGO Spends over 4bn/- on development projects

A NON-GOVERMENTAL Organisation Ibuga ADP which operates at Kamachumu Division, in Muleba District has spent over 4bn/- on implementation of various development projects. Ibuga ADP Co-ordinator, Mr Prosper Mujungu disclosed that the funds improved the agricultural sector, infrastructure, including construction of classrooms and paid school fees for orphans. He said emphasis would be on enabling Kamachumu residents to have access to safe and clean water and good sanitation, through constructing improved latrines and planting more trees for environmental conservation. Mr Mujungu noted that almost 80 per cent of Kamachumu Division was densely populated and tree planting would enhance both environmental conservation and domestic use. According to Mr Mujungu, the project was also focusing on rural transformation through assisting women groups, giving them technical skills and soft loans to undertake small but viable projects, including dairy goats and chicken rearing. He urged people to ensure the project is sustained and the infrastructure is well kept. Meanwhile, the Bukoba Municipal Council is planning to construct a modern parking complex at Kagondo Village, some five kilometres from Bukoba town. The project is estimated to cost 2bn/- upon completion and would accommodate buses and lorries. The Bukoba Municipal Director Mr Khamis Kaputa told reporters that implementation of the project had been delayed due to a court order following an injunction filed by a Dar es Salaam resident identified as Mr Amicus Rukamba. According to Mr Kaputa, Mr Rukamba filed a court injunction at the Bukoba Lands and Housing Tribunal seeking an order to stop the Bukoba Municipal Council from further development until the matter was settled. He said the council had contacted the Lands Tribunal asking for permission to settle the matter out of court and that the prayer had been granted. ''We have received the court's permission allowing us to consult with Mr Rukamba and settle the matter out of court. But, we are still at an early negotiation stage'', he said. Mr Kaputa also explained that the council was planning to carry out another project through upgrading the old bus stand. It will be replaced by a modern commercial premises with parking space for buses only. He noted that the council was negotiating with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to forge a joint partnership in the project. Mr Kaputa said at this stage, the council was looking for a consultant to write a financial proposal. He was hesitant to reveal the amount of funds involved or when the project would take off. He, however, said during 2009/2010 the council had set aside a total of 67m/- for improvement of parking space at the Bukoba bus stand.

Mwinyi receives dates friom Arabia

Tanzania's Defence and National Service Minister Dr Hussein Mwinyi (second right) receives a consignment of dates from Saudi Arabia in Dar es Salaam on Friday from Saudi Arabia Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Ali Abdallah Suleiman Al Jarbou. The dates have been donated by the Middle East nation to Muslims in Tanzania who are presently observing the Holy Month of Ramadhan. (Photo by Daily News website)

Mineral cutting centre inaugurated

THE government, through the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, has established a gemstone cutting and polishing centre which also doubles as mineral processing training institution in Arusha. Tanzania Gemological Centre (TGC) was officially opened on Friday with 14 trainees. It is set to expand in the near future to increase intake, more courses as well as undertake gemstone cutting and polishing. The Assistant Commissioner for Minerals, Mr Benjamin Mchwampaka, said a good number of local investors were setting up mineral processing firms in major towns such as Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Mwanza and the TGC training department intends to provide experts who will work for them. "This is more of a pilot project started to create trained manpower to undertake tasks of adding value to our minerals that were previously exported raw. "It is also a step towards the proposed mineral export processing zone which will be established in Mirerani hills of Simanjiro District," Mr Mchwampaka explained. "This centre is among the initiatives under the umbrella of Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project in Tanzania," said Mr Aloyce Tesha, the ministry's spokesperson, adding that the five- year project runs up to 2014. He pointed out that under the new mining policy, the state directs that all cutting and polishing should be performed in the country and that all minerals must be processed before export. Before the government banned the export of uncut tanzanite, the nation was reportedly losing 75 per cent of total revenue earned from the precious gemstones found only in Tanzania. Tanzanite cutting and polishing industry in India, was reportedly providing employment to over 200,000 people in the Jaipur State. Now the ministry, through the Arusha centre, intends to put a stop to that India business and create same employment opportunities to Tanzanians. But it is not just gemstones; the TGC also adds value to the rock debris that is usually discarded once precious minerals have been extracted. A visit inside the centre's workshop revealed busy people transforming mounds of rocks into valuable artifacts such as decorative plaques, sculptured images taking various animal shapes and other rock art items. "These are the same pieces of 'useless' stones that are usually thrown away as debris but here we turn them into extremely valuable rock art and a single such item can sell for up to US $ 100,000 when exported," said Mr Musa Shanyangi, a gemologist sent by the ministry to head the new centre.

When TSN Act Managing Editor meets envoys

ZIMBABWE Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Tanzania, Mr Edzai Chimoyo (first right), listens to a briefing from the Acting Managing Editor of Tanzania Standard (Newspapers) Limited (TSN), publishers of Daily News, Sunday News, HabariLEO and HabariLEO Jumapili, Mr Mkumbwa Ally (left), when the envoy toured TSN offices in Dar es Salaam on Friday. (Photo by daily news website)

Tanzania: central bank to establish extent of dollarization

THE relevant authorities in Tanzania are setting out to establish how deeply the mammon known as `dollarization` has penetrated the country's the markets – and why. The first reason that usually comes to mind is the possibility that this has become the case mainly due to the relentlessly weakening Tanzania currency the shilling, against the US dollar and other hard currencies. Speaking at a breakfast meeting staged in the nations commercial capital Dar es Salaam last Friday, the Governor of the central Bank of Tanzania, Professor Benno Ndulu, said a team of experts was already in the field to establish the intensity of dollarization. According to the Governor, there are roumours that many business people are now demanding payment in the US currency when selling goods and services... But, as things stand now, there are no figures to back up the claims. It is in the light of this that the central bank decided to send teams of researchers throughout the country to establish the intensity of dollarization. ''The team is already in the field. Sometimes, you can think that it is something big – and, yet, there may only be just a few individuals here and there who are demanding payment in dollars instead of the Tanzania shilling,'' said the governor.

Bank of Tanzania Governor Professor Benno Ndulu
However, he was unable, unwilling or not ready to categorically state when the researchers would finish the job. Asking for payment of goods and services rendered in US dollars as a legal tender is not against the extant laws, the good professor said. Apparently, what is against the law is `forcing` a customer or client to pay in foreign currency! ''NO one should refuse to accept Tanzania shillings since that is the country's legal tender. However, the vendors may – if they wish – quote their prices in dollars but receive the equivalent as payment in Tanzania shillings,'' stated the bank chief. In the event, the governor called upon customers to report traders who may attempt to `force` them to pay in dollars. In that regard, he said, the central bank would not hesitate to take strict measures against such culprits. Virtually admitting that the Tanzania shilling is in decline, Ndulu ventured that business persons could mainly be demanding payment in dollars at this time when the shilling has substantially weakened against the latter. That is possibly why they prefer to be paid in dollars rather than in the local currency. ''Once the shilling gains ground against the dollar, very few if not all vendors will demand payment in dollars, that is the way business is,'' said the governor. Prof. Ndulu was addressing over 50 business persons and other invitees who attended the meeting that was organised by the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation at Moevein Peak Hotel in Dar es Salaam. According to available statistics, the Tanzania shilling has been weakening seriously against the US dollar over the past few months – falling from about Tsh1,260 a dollar in February this year to around Tsh1500 today! At the same time, however, the shilling has maintained its ground against the Euro and British Pound during the period in question! Expressing undiminished optimist ism that the days are numbered for the Tanzania shilling to go on losing ground against the US dollar, the bank chief stated that ''the season in which we are now is peak season and, therefore, any time the shilling is going to gain ground against the dollar!'' The tourism season in Tanzania is at its peak from August to somewhere in December, January. This is also harvest time when farmers sell their yields – thereby taking in export earnings in hard currency. As the law of Supply and Demand states, if there are more dollars in the country, strengthening of the local currency is bound to follow! Tourism and agriculture are among the sources of foreign currency to Tanzania. ''If there is anybody buying US dollars with the intention of selling them at a higher rate in a few months to come, I bet that person is acting against the signs of the times,'' said Ndulu, stressing that, by all means the rate of exchange between the two currencies is going to favour the shilling! According to the professor, this has happened in the past... In 2008 when the rate between Tanzania shilling and the US$ went down by around Tsh200 – resulting in losses by business people who had thought they could make considerable profit from hanging onto the US dollar to be sold at a much higher rate in due course of time. In the event, that never happened – and the poor fellows ended up incurring huge losses..

Kenyans laud jailing of compatriot

The 17-year jail sentence handed down by a court in Mwanza on Kenyan Nathan Mutei for attempting to sell a compatriot with albinism has drawn mixed views among Kenyans. Many have commended the swift justice, while some have queried the speed with which the court delivered its verdict.The majority of those who posted their views on the Daily Nation website commended the sentence, with some urging Kenya’s judiciary to exercise similar speed in handling cases. “Justice delayed is justice denied. Kudos to the Tanzanians...I would like (Kenya’s Attorney General Amos) Wako to deport (alleged serial killer Philip) Onyancha there to be given 40yrs,” wrote Derfoti. Rofi said: “That is such a lenient sentence. I really feel sorry for Mr (Robinson) Mkwama. Can you imagine you are looking at somebody you had trusted so much just to find that he had planned to sell you to be slaughtered!” Popq: said “This man should have been jailed for 200 years without the option of “early release”. Ili iwe funzo. Tz justice system works. Kenya is in shambles. The over educated Kenyans in charge of our justice system deserve to go home.” Jere2010 also commented, saying: “The few judicial cases that have caught my interest in both Uganda and now Tanzania have left me wondering. It appears like in UG and TZ court cases are concluded in an amazing short period of time. If this case was in Kenya, the script would have been different, the police would still be looking for more evidence and several years down line the accused is released for lack of evidence.” Mzee_mmoja’s post was: “Good job, let him rot in a Tanzanian jail. I guess in Kenya he would have been jailed for 6 months or acquited for lack of evidence.” But Isaya Baraza said he doubted whether Mutei was given an opportunity to tell his side of the story. “The law is blind. Whether deep in the people’s heart that an accused is guilty, the law demands evidence beyond reasonable doubt. An accused is a human being, subject to all rights that befalls a human being no matter the crime he is accused of,” Mr Baraza wrote, adding that Mutei should have been represented by a lawyer.Another reader, who identified himself as Makunu, said, “17yrs in 24hrs, that is not justice”.

US Chamber of commerce opens doors in Dar

In a move aimed at improving business links with Tanzania, the US ambassador Alfonso E. Lenhardt has officially launched the first American Chamber of Commerce in Dar es Salaam. The American Chamber of Commerce grew out of the American Business Association (ABA), which was established in 2005 to promote flow of trade and investment between the US and Tanzania, as well as to facilitate business and investment opportunities for U.S.-affiliated companies in Tanzania. The Chamber which will also encourage cultural interaction between American and Tanzanian businesspeople was launched on Thursday. It will provide a forum to address common business issues, a US embassy press statement issued yesterday says. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ambassador Lenhardt said Tanzania's economy has tremendous potential, as demonstrated by strong growth and increases in foreign direct investment, especially from the U.S., over the last decade. He noted that opportunities are plentiful in energy, infrastructure, tourism, telecommunications, real estate, construction, commercial agriculture, and minerals. He said Tanzania could also serve as a regional transport and shipping hub for the East African Community. However, the ambassador noted that Tanzania must continue improving its business climate in order to realize its full economic potential. U.S. companies view Africa, with more than one billion people, as an important market for American products, the press statement said.

US ambassador accredited in Tanzania Mr. Alfonso E. Lenhardt

The transformation of ABA into a full American Chamber of Commerce is a significant step in encouraging Tanzanian business climate improvement efforts, promoting economic growth, and strengthening the growing business ties between the U.S. and Tanzania, the statement said. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, of which the Tanzanian American Chamber of Commerce is now a member, is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region. Trade links between Tanzania and the US were not vibrant in the past, although there is a steady improvement, according to statistics obtained from the Office of the United States Trade Representative Executive Office of the US President. “Tanzania is currently our 136th largest goods trading partner with $208 million in total (two way) goods trade during 2009,” the office says on its official website. “Goods exports [to Tanzania] totaled $158 million; Goods imports totaled $49 million. The U.S. goods trade surplus with Tanzania was $109 million in 2009.” Tanzania was the United States' 130th largest goods export market in 2009, when U.S. goods exports to Tanzania in 2009 were $158 million, down 6.6% ($11 million) from 2008, but up 223% from 1994 (the year prior to Uruguay Round). The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2009 were: Machinery ($41 million), Miscellaneous Textile Articles ($18 million), Milling/Malt/Starch ($15 million), Electrical Machinery ($12 million), and Vegetables (pinto beans) ($11 million), the office says. U.S. exports of agricultural products to Tanzania totaled $32 million in 2009. Tanzania was the United States' 136th largest supplier of goods imports in 2009, the office reports. U.S. goods imports from Tanzania totaled $49 million in 2009, down 11.5% ($6 million) from 2008, but up 231% over the last 15 years. The five largest import categories in 2009 were: Spices, Coffee and Tea (coffee) ($24 million), Precious Stones (gemstones) ($8 million), Edible Fruit and Nuts (cashew nuts) ($6 million), Lac and Vegetable Saps (pectates) ($3 million), and Miscellaneous Grain and Seed ($2 million). U.S. imports of agricultural products from Tanzania totaled $34 million in 2009, with the leading categories including coffee (unroasted) ($23 million), and tree nuts ($6 million). U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Tanzania was $21 million in 2005.

ICRC decries misuse of red cross emblem

International Committee of the Red Cross head of mission Mathias Weinreich has said that improper use of humanitarian emblems is inconsistent with the international humanitarian law. Weinreich made the remarks in Dar es Salaam recently, when addressing senior editors to acquaint them with the Red Cross missions and its mandate. He said any misuse of the emblem diminished its protective value and undermined the effectiveness of humanitarian assistance. Weinreich cited the misuse of the Red Cross emblem by unauthorized people or bodies like commercial enterprises, pharmacists and private doctors, saying they were inconsistent with Red Cross’s fundamental principles. He says in other countries like Germany and France the law was very strict for those who misused the emblem, but in other countries there was no law which prohibited people or institutions from using the emblem. “It is difficult to eliminate this problem even in Tanzania because there is no law, which prohibits the use of the emblem by unauthorised people. What we need to do is to educate people on the emblem,” he said. According to him, some people might make money using the emblem, thus making a false impression about the Red Cross. Weinreich noted that the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems were entitled to full respect under the international law although sometimes were perceived as having cultural, religious or political connotations. “This jeopardises the protection they confer on the victims of armed conflict, medical services of the armed forces and humanitarian personnel,” he noted. To overcome the problem, an idea of introducing an additional emblem that would be acceptable to all societies and states was put forward. In 2005, a diplomatic conference recognised the Red Crystal, which is free from any religious, cultural or political connotations, as a distinctive emblem alongside the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tanzania: oxen project proving a boon in tobacco farming

CHILD labour is a problem in tobacco farming the world over, and it is estimated that millions of children of school-going age either do not go to school at all, or their attendance is erratic, because they are engaged on the farm. Tanzania has not been spared this problem. However, the number of children involved in tobacco farming in the country is projected to shrink considerably after stakeholders in the tobacco sub-sector developed measures designed to overhaul the extant farming methods by shifting from labour-intensive, hand-hoe cultivating to farming using draught animals. At the end of the day, so to speak, this should see to the reduction of the number of people employed in tobacco production – even, at the same time, increasing yields and productivity among tobacco farmers! One of the pioneers of the envisaged changes is the Morogoro-based Alliance-One Tobacco Tanzania Limited (AOTTL), a member of one of the largest independent leaf tobacco merchants in the world, Alliance-One International, Inc. of North Carolina, USA. The firm's core business has been the commercial processing of tobacco.
However, after realizing that tobacco farmers in Tanzania were producing little through hand-hoe farming – mainly because they lacked modern-day technologies – AOTTL came out with an 'Oxen Project' in 2004 through which local farmers are provided with ploughs, ridging equipment and oxen as draught animals.
Oxen are trained at for AOTTL Centres, after which they are sold to farmers on credit, the main objective being to improve tobacco cultivation in the country. Speaking to Business Times in an exclusive interview at AOTTL's Centre in Tabora recently, the firm's Corporate Affairs manager, Hamis Liana, said "one of our major goals is to enable farmers to send their children to school and not turn them into farm labourers."

An African child peeling cocoayarm. Child labour is still a problem in most African countries.

Stressing that “Education is a priority at Alliance-One,” Liana said: “we want to keep children in school not working as employees in tobacco farming."
Apart from freeing school-age children from child labour woes, AOTTL has also undertaken measures associated therewith. For instance, the company donated about Tsh55.0 million in the period January to June this year for the construction of classrooms and teachers houses, as well as the purchase of school desks and sports equipment in the tobacco-growing areas of , Urambo, Kahama and Manyoni.
According to Liana, AOTTL introduced the Oxen Project to also enable farmers “to spend more time learning and practicing new agricultural techniques;, and reduce the farmers labour force currently expended in land preparation. It would also meet demand for all kinds of transport at the farm level – as well as increase farmer proficiency, and expand areas for tobacco and subsistence crops farming Use of oxen in tobacco farming has increased crop yields by 34 per cent over and above what was being produced using the hand-hoe, Liana says. Virtually attesting to all that, a tobacco farmer of Mwongozo Village, Ulyankulu District in Tabora Region, Abdalah Dewji (32), told Business Times that the AOTTL Oxen Project “has been a blessing for me and my family.” Dewji said that, using the hand-hoe, his family was able to produce around 400kgs of tobacco on his one-acre plot in 2004/05. After turning to oxen-farming, the family was able to increase their farm to 20 acres, from which they now produce around 21,000kgs of the commodity, thereby earning about Tsh50 million. This, he reiterated, is 'compliments' of pairs of oxen sold to the family on credit by AOTTL. "This method of farming has enabled me to send my children to good international schools where they are receiving quality education. I have also dug a deep well for fresh water as you can see – and from which my neighbours fetch water free of charge," he exulted. Apart from producing tobacco, Dewji also cultivates food crops such as maize and cassava. This year he cultivated 15 acres, from which he harvested 220x100kg bags of maize. Asked if oxen-farming has been a solution to all his problems, Dewji said there were some challenges remaining to be overcome – including, especially lack of fertilizers and pesticides.
“Farmers in Tabora continue to suffer from lack of fertilizers and pesticides, which has been made worse after the change of policy whereby the Government is now responsible for supplying fertilizers to Societies,” he said. "Formerly, we were getting fertilizers from AOTTL without problem. But, after that policy was adopted, we have been badly affected. The Societies are not ready or willing to incorporate and support independent farmers like me as a matter of course,” Dewji says, adding that, if and when they access fertilisers, this happens rather late in the season. “When get fertilizers, they come late, sometimes three months after planting,” Dewji explains. “For instance, " I planted six acres with tobacco on the November 5 last year – and the fertilizers came three months too late!" In fact, all the farmers who talked to Business Times in Tabora of delays in the delivery of agricultural inputs whose supplies are associated with the Government! They almost all to a man called for a review of the new system, with some going as far as asking the Government to allow Alliance-One Tanzania to resume supplying agricultural inputs to farmers as they were doing so well in the past.



I was astonished when I came across this photograph, and I am still wondering if these people were merely playing a concert, or the drama portrays a real action on the road. I thought such kind of business could only be found in third world countries where there is an accute shortage of transport facilities, now people use motorcycles as a mode of transport. But despite of the liberalisation of transport industry, this is now too much and unbelievable. It's very wonderful and the action must be frouned upon. The scene is more than the so-called "Mshikaki" as it is used to be commonly referred to here in Tanzania. BUT DO NOT TRY IT, IT IS TOO DANGEROUS.