Monday, July 9, 2012

NTBs a cause of inflation in the country, says a report

NON Tariff Barriers (NTBs) along upcountry roads has been described to be the major hindrance to trade, an aspect that contributes to some extent higher inflation rates on consumable goods in the country, the report has said.  According to the published report titled ‘Business Climate Index Survey’ (BCI) by the East African Business Council (EABC), Tanzania has numerous NTBs which are stationed all along the main roads than any other country within East Africa region. The report highlights together with other things, various impediments including bureaucracy. The report which was unveiled by the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of East African Cooperation Uledi .A. Mussa last week in Dar es Salaam is quoted as saying that, “the presence of NTBs has contributed to a certain extent the high inflation rates in the country” The report further indicates that, transporters are inconvenienced by the presence of roadblocks for police checks and weighbridges following numerous tariffs which are imposed to transporters at various check points all along the way to their final destination. “This is an aspect which disturbs transport industry and the stakeholders in general”, the report concludes. The report notes that, main roads have many barriers which have been inconveniencing transporters and their goods to reach to their final destination points on time. This is an aspect which causes delays and hence rips high inflation rates on various consumable goods as businessmen tend to increase their products to compensate for the losses incurred. Speaking in an exclusive interview in Dar es Salaam last week, the PS has commended the government’s move for presenting a relative good budget for 2012/13 fiscal year giving the priority on railway infrastructure which according to him will put the country into an economic recovery path.

How risk is it for this man who is seated precariously on top of an electric pole and seem to be communicating with a mobile phone?

He said the strengthening of the Central Railway line is crucial as it provides easy transportation of industrial goods especially bulk cargo and other consumable products in the country, and in view of this he has urged business people to use it so as to avoid roadblocks along the main roads. “The railway system is a very good idea as it would help a lot, and if you talk of roads for transport, TANROADS would continue to be boastful for they are the dominator and are after money to preserve their roads” he remarked. In addition to that, the deputy permanent secretary has called on the transporters in the country to use other means of reliable transport such as railways in order to ferry their appropriate goods in order to avoid inconveniences and the numerous tariffs imposed on the roads. However, he has praised the government for its move to revive the operations of the central railway line which he said if put to work effectively the network will help reduce transportation woes currently facing the transport sector in the country. He said adding that, the deterioration of railway network system has caused difficulties to conduct business activities along the central corridor. The EABC is the apex body of business associations of the private sector and corporate entities from the five East African countries which was established in 1997 with a view to foster the interest of the private sector in the integration process of the East African community. The council enjoins four manufacturers’ associations, fiver chambers of commerce, three employer’s associations, two women associations, two banker’s associations and confederation of informal sector associations of East Africa. Given that the secretariat is based in Arusha, EABC’s structure includes National Focal Points (NFPs) who are all currently the national private sector apex bodies

EABC gears to remove unnecessary Non Tariff Barriers

THE East Africa Business Council (EABC) is in the effort to eliminate Non Tariff Barriers to trade and improve other business factors that would adversely create a conducive business environment in the region, a Trade Economist with the regional council has said. Speaking in an exclusive interview in Dar es Salaam, Adrian Njau said that, the move will help remove the existing bureaucracy and enable business transporters and other traders within the region to move with ease while in a foreign country. Njau who is an economist gave the confirmation after he had presented a Business Climate Index (BCI), a baseline business survey carried out within East Africa region that highlights together with other things various impediments and hardships faced by transporters on the course of their transporting goods across the region. According to the survey report, it shows that, the weighted mean average shows that customs procedures and administrative requirements are considered as the most severe among the Non Tariff Barrier clusters in Tanzania mainland. These include numerous police checks and weighbridges. The survey notes that, Tanzania mainland has the highest number of customs stations in the EAC region along the main central corridor where transport trucks have to stop for checks on various documentations which have to be inspected by the authorities concerned. Such documentations are drivers license, cargo documents, vehicle weight, drivers and passengers passport and the scrutiny of other travel documents which all these check ups the report concludes that are rather troublesome.The report has indicated some customs stations inclined within Tanzania borders are in this respect are Namanga, Dumila, Isaka, Kyaka, Mtukula, Banderi, Misugusugu, Kibanga and Rusumo.

The customs stations at Namanga is used when importing from exporting goods to the Republic of Kenya and can therefore be disregarded in regard to transit along the central corridor. During stops in all these stations, the report indicates that, trucks have to spend an average of at least one hour for various checks. The implication is that transiting along the central corridor involves a lot of time loss for businesses which needs to be addressed by using other means to achieve customs requirements. The problems experienced in customs-related regulations have often resulted to late deliveries for confirmed orders, extra costs of between less than $200 to over 1,000 and time loss of between one hour to more two days per consignment for most businesses has to be used. The report shows that, it takes a long process of sorting out non compliance problems with customs procedures for both exports and imports while goods are lying at the border procedures, they will spend more than two days at customs and port officers in completing required documentations related to exports and imports without cause. In order to minimize all these bureaucracy, the report concludes that, the five EAC member states have managed to identify and agree regionally the removal of the nature and extent of non tariff barriers like cumbersome customs procedures and business registration procedures among others. This is after realizing the magnitude of the problem, In addition, the report is quoted as saying that the five countries will provide a platform for the business community the imports necessary to lead to the elimination of non tariff barriers and concentrate effectively in improvements of other business climate factors.

Precision Air inaugurates Dar-Lusaka-Lumbumbashi route

AIR-FLIGHT Passengers destined for Lusaka in Zambia and Lumbumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam will no longer have time to make long trip journey in order to arrive at their destination points. Such long trip journeys will now be stopped following the inauguration of the a direct connection air flight from Dar es Salaam to Lusaka and Dar Lumbumbashi in DRC respectively which was done yesterday by the Precision Air, Tanzania’s leading airline. Before the inauguration of this route, passengers coming and going out of Tanzania via JNIA from Zambia and DRC had to bear the brunt by digging dipper into their pockets to pay for extra connected flight charges in order to facilitate their journey by passing through Nairobi or Johannesburg in South Africa which they had to use between seven and eight hour. The Precision Air’s Managing Director and CEO, Alphonso Kioko said yesterday in Dar es Salaam that, the newly inaugurated routes is scheduled to open business opportunities for the two land locked countries to boost Tanzania’s economy. He said his company started to research on these routes two years ago when they had realized the existing problem facing the passengers from the two countries of the central Africa region who had been facing problem of direct flight from their mother countries to Tanzania. Before embarking on the task, they had contacted officials of the two countries for negotiations in order to combine the force into achieving their goals. The inaugural ceremony was attended by DRC ambassador and the Zambian High commissioner, Judith Kangoma Kapijimpanga thanked the airline for its innovative task it had shown for the aviation industry. She said noted the importance of the route as saying that it would increase the inter-Africa trade links between Tanzania and the landlocked central African countries. The inauguration of these routes will make the total number of four plus the two ones under which the airline operates. These routes are Johannesburg in South Africa and in Comoro Islands which were inaugurated early last year.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Empower cereal Board in order to reduce inflation rate, government urged

A member of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee on Parastatal Organization (PACPO) has requested the government to inject an investment capital of Sh. 10 billion in this year’s budget for 2012/13 fiscal year so as to enable the National Food Cereal Board to sustain trade competition it currently facing. Murtaza Mangungu who is also the deputy Chairman of the PACPO said recently in Dar es Salaam that, the Board will be in a position to regulate its business activities which ultimately would reduce the current inflation rate from the current 17 percent to a lesser. According to him, the PACPO committee hah proposed that the government should inject such a great sum of money to the Board after having seen that, the Board at this time has overtaken control of properties formerly owned by the defunct National Milling Corporation (NMC) in Iringa, Dodoma, Arusha and Mwanza .The committee looked at their books of accounts and found out that they had no problems and in view of this, the government should inject a substantial amount of money to the tune of Sh. 10 billion in order to empower them into doing the activities of the Board”, he said.  The Board which is under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food security and Cooperatives was formed in 2010 under the Cereals and Other Produce Act No. 19 of the year 2009, with the aim of developing cereal food crops and consumable products and engage in income generating activities related to crop production, canning, research and marketing in the country. PACPO members were on the view of the fact that the Board would be in a position to reduce the inflation rates which occurs as a result of the shortage of basic food crop a situation which has grown so alarming in the country. The food crops in high rate of scarcity in the country includes sugar, maize, rice, beans and other cereal crops. Economically about 48 percent of the high inflation rate which currently hits the nation is due to lack of effective Board to curb with trade competition with other private crop institutions buying cereal crops in the country, the members noted. The Board has fewer workers in the country another aspect that draws back their development activities, the members noted. They have also asked the government to open an office for them so as to let them work in a competitive spirit with other trade partners.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

TBS clarifies the suspension of their foreign vehicles inspectors

FAILURE to remit the administration fees on time has been described to be the main cause of the recent suspension of the two vehicles inspectors who earlier worked on behalf of Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) in Dubai and UK stations respectively. A reliable source from the TBS institution who spoke on strict condition of anonymity said in an exclusive interview in Dar es Salaam recently that, the two vehicle inspectors have failed to remit on time over $200,000 as administration fee. Sources maintained that, failure to remit the institution’s fees as shown by these foreign vehicle inspectors is an abuse of office and contrary to the work rules and regulations set by the bureau as per the contract signed with them. The source added that, the two have violated the rules and regulations No. 11/2/B of the standardization as stipulated by the law in 2009. Sources named to this paper the two inspectors as Jaffer Mohammed Ali Garage based in Dubai, UAE, and WTM Utility Services Ltd based in UK who were given licenses to inspect the quality of used vehicles once bought by customers prior to their transportation to Tanzania.

Japanese vehicles on sale in a yard.

According to the source, the embezzlement was discovered by the TBS technical inspectors who were sent to go and inspect their transaction and found such large sum of money was accumulated without being remitted, a thing which has ultimately resulted into the immediate cancellation of their licenses effective from June this year. This newspaper had contacted the sources for clarification in connection with the matter after it had issued an announcement in the media cautioning the general public of the cancellation of their licenses and informed them of the newly appointed representatives to replace them. TBS announcement said that, it had cancelled license No. 0656 granted to Jaffer Mohammed based in Dubai in connection with the inspection of used motor vehicles originating from Dubai to Tanzania. By this notice, all vehicle importers are being advised to inspect their vehicles with the M/s Jabal Kilimanjaro Auto Elect Mechanical Company based in Sharjar, UAE. The announcement further said that, TBS had cancelled license No. 0655 granted to WTM Utility Services Ltd based in Cold habour Lane Rainham Essex in UK in connection with the inspection of used motor vehicles originating from UK to Tanzania, and that all importers from UK are being advised to inspect their vehicles to a new representative Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA). However, TBS has cautioned that all vehicles imported from both countries without valid inspection certificate from their newly appointed representatives shall not be allowed to enter into the Tanzania market. Sources revealed that, another mistake which was discovered by the TBS vehicle inspectors in their operations while in UK is that, their former representative was found to be operating in three main areas without TBS notice, an aspect that is contrary to the agreement signed. When asked to verify for any impact on the decision by the TBS, the source said that, “the impact of this is that, the companies whose licenses have been revoked would lose credibility and their status would fall internationally. For the sake of Hong Kong which was discovered by the Parliamentary Accounts Committee on Parastatal Organization (PACPO) which it has raised a concern on the issue of this place to have not yet having a vehicle inspector as earlier demanded by the sacked former TBS Director General Charles Ekelege, the source said that it would be discussed in parliament on Saturday. “The TBS is expected to give reports in parliament as in connection with the issue and the full report would be made available there after”, the source said.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The government promises support for the aviation industry

THE Government has reiterated its continued support for all airline investors in the country, promising to regulate fair competition, reducing bureaucracy as well as striving to provide the appropriate infrastructure for airlines business to thrive. The Deputy Minister for Transport Dr. Charles Tibeza said last week in Dar es Salaam that, the investor’s efforts in Tanzania’s domestic market economy is still in dire need of air transportation so as to make business people and tourists to visit far flung areas. “Due to the big size of our country and lack of other adequate and reliable transport services particularly road transport in rural areas, air transport holds as central role in country’s development efforts”, he said. However, he added that, the public reliance on the air transport will always remain eminent due to its ability to effect quick, fat and secure deliveries, especially of perishables or high value products which are abundant in the country. The deputy minister gave the concern during the inaugural ceremony of the air maiden flight schedule of the Precision Air to Lusaka-Lumbumbashi route in his speech read on his behalf as a guest of honour by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry John .T.J.Mngodo. According to him, in the case of social services, air transport assists swift movement of the sick from remote areas to places where medical facilities can quickly be availed. Air transport is also important for search and rescue services. In view of this, he reminds stakeholders of the aviation industry that, the government would continue to improve air transport infrastructure in the country notably the airports and the air navigation equipment and services to promote development of the airlines. He noted that, the construction of airports in the country such as Mpanda, Songwe and the on-going rehabilitation of Bukoba, Tabora, Mafia and Kigoma is a milestone for the development of the aviation industry in the country. Plans are underway to build a third passenger terminal building at Julius Nyerere International Airport after having completed major rehabilitation of the airport infrastructure. The government will also continue to review the existing bilateral air services agreements (BASAs) with differently countries to attract more airlines to offer services between those states and Tanzania as well as providing opportunity for Tanzanian airlines to offer services to those states.

Hard time for some Gongo La Mboto bomb victims

A house that belongs to Juma Mohammed of Markaz area at Ukonga ward which was destroyed by bomb on 16th February 2011

IT is hard time for Juma Mohammed a resident of Markaz area, Ukonga ward in Ilala district, Dar es Salaam region one of the severely and most affected victims of the Gongo La Mboto bomb blasts whose house was completely destroyed. He is currently living in hardship following the tent on which he temporarily sought for refuge is currently leaking at this time of the occasional rains. The dilapidated tent on which he is still living in, is not in good condition due to physical weathering.  Speaking in an interview early this week, he said that, he is not happy with the life especially during risky time of night hours as the tent has become old an aspect that he doesn’t have a night rest and his children gets difficulties while doing some school home works and studying at night. He has been living in a tent now for 16 months since the bomb blasts incident occurred at  Gongo la Mboto Military camp (511 KJ) on 16th of February 2011. According to him, the tent is damaged and water permeates from its roofing thus causing inconveniences while he is asleep with his family. He blames the government for not quickening the pace of construction of their houses it earlier promised to build as compensation for the victims, and instead the delays caused by the government makes his family to live uncomfortably.  Three weeks ago, the government through the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner’s office announced the development step it had taken so far as a promise it had issued of building houses for the Gongo La Mboto bomb blasts victims. The RC for Dar es Salaam region, Sadik Mecky Sadik said in Dar es Salaam that, the government is expected to hand over the newly built houses for the victims in early June. He said when placing the foundation stone for a total of 35 new houses to be built at Msongola village in Ilala district, about 40 kilometers away from the city.  The houses under construction would be finished in June and currently the technicians are putting the final touches on them as a sign of nearing their completion. Some 71 families were left homeless following the blasts that occurred at the KJ 511 military camp on February 16 this year, the incident also claimed lives of about 22 people and many others were injured. A spot check by this paper at the construction scene last week can reveal that, the possibility of handing over the houses as earlier promised by the government to be done in this June, is very little as very few houses have been built to the level of a rental, while others are still in the foundation stage. The early assessment of the houses which were completely destroyed during the disaster which was done by the government evaluator on compensation on 24 houses were placed in the list of those houses to be reconstructed and later found to be fit for rehabilitation. According to Sadik, the government formed a task force team responsible for he assessment to the claims of 168 and was handed over to the Chief government evaluator so that they might be paid little compensation to their claims. Despite of the government’s efforts to help the bomb victims, an unnonymous victim who was cornered by this writer said that, he was not happy with the area where their houses are being constructed, saying that the located area is so far and not yet developed. Commenting on the RC’s development report about their houses, he refuted his saying noting that the time frame for handing over of their houses is likely to take longer as the government keeps the pace of construction at a snail’s pace than what they had expected before, adding that there is a lot to be done on final touches. However, he has also noted that, unless the government should allocate close to their new settlements important social facilities such as dispensaries or health centres, electricity and water supplies to the area, an aspect which he commended would be more pleasing. Responding their claims, the RC has assured them of other social services such as the road infrastructure which would be constructed as soon as possible, and this he said would be ready before they immigrate to their new settlements. In order to accomplish this need, the Ilala Municipal Council Director, Gabriel Fuime has assured the victims that his municipal council will place culverts on the road leading to the area, the work which he has promised would be executed between his council workers who will be collaborating by the RC’s office.

CTI hails this year’s budget, but criticizes low amount set for development projects

AS the National budget session is going on in parliament in Dodoma, the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) has commended the government’s move for presenting a relative good budget for 2012/13 fiscal year which according to them will stimulate economic growth and creation of employment. The CTI Chairman, Felix Mosha told a press conference recently in Dar es Salaam that, his institution is happy as the budget has given the priority to the strengthening of the Central Railway line which provides easy transportation of industrial goods especially bulk cargo in the country. “The railway services had deteriorated due to numerous untold reasons, and the most appropriate one was due to lack of strategic investor to run the entire operations smoothly, an aspect that caused the economy to paralyze to a greater extent resulting into high inflation rate”, he said.  CTI has also appreciated the government’s move for allocating adequate funds for the construction of the natural gas pipeline from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam so that the same could be utilized for electricity generation to bridge the present gap so as to meet the ever growing demand electricity for industries and other consumers. The institution has also thanked the government for increasing Pay as You Earn (PAYE) threshold from Sh. 135,000 to Sh. 170,000, saying that the move will enhance take home income of employees to meet ever increasing costs of living. Despite of the crucial priority areas that aimed at boosting national economy, on the other way round CTI notes that the budget lacks strategic linkage between sectors of economy. “There is no link between agricultural and industrial sectors which are crucial in transforming the economy from a low to high level of development”, he said. However, he noted in the area of textile sector which makes major contributions to the economic growth especially, in creating employment, foreign exchange and poverty reduction as it requires immediate rehabilitation given that out of 16 textile industries which existed before, only 4 which are currently in operation countrywide. Elaborating in this, he noted that, one of the main reasons which have contributed to the poor performance of the textile industrial sector is unfair competition from imported textile products through under invoicing and under declaration.    

An official of the Confederation of Tanzania Industruies (CTI) stresses a point during a press conference in Dar es Salaam. Seated at the centre is the CTI Chairman Felix Mosha.

He has recommended that, during the discussions on the budget in coming parliament sessions for every ministry, the CTI boss has suggested that, in order to make Tanzania’s textile industries to survive, the government through the Ministry of Trade and Industries should stick on the removal of VAT on textile and textile products. Other measures to be taken as per his recommendations are the reduction of skills and development levy from 6 percent to 2 percent respectively, others are the reduction of excise duty rate between 25 to 20 percent on non-petroleum products including beer, soft drinks, wine and cigarettes 12 percent to address the high inflation rate, and the reduction of excise duty of Sh. 69 per litter of water to Sh. 8 similar to locally produced fruits juices. An economic expert who is also the committee chairman of the CTI tax body said in an exclusive interview that, there is no way for the government to reduce the high inflation rate in the country if it wouldn’t concentrate effectively in the railway and road infrastructure as these are the main transport link which serves for industrial goods from their manufacturing points.   Pankaj Kumar who is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the ALAF Limited, manufacturers of modern iron sheets in the country noted that, Tanzania is lucky enough to have a good railway network and energy sources such as gas, if these would be put in proper use, the country would increase its economy as there will be enough availability of power and good transport.

Abattoir owners in Dar ignores municipal council directives

LACK of seriousness on various basic laid down health principles has been termed to be an exacerbating factor which has made owners of the Ukonga abattoir in Ilala district, Dar es Salaam region not to follow the right environmental health principles which are required to be followed in order to keep clean their abattoir compounds, an environmental health officer has observed. Egnat Mlay of the Ilala Municipal council recently said that his office had issued instruction to owners of the abattoir to comply with the basic laid down environmental health conditions a year ago, but seemingly most of the conditions are not yet fulfilled. He said in an exclusive interview that among the most important thing they had ordered them to do was to construct a condemnation pit on which to dispose of all refuse within the compound but to the great dismay, owners do not take actions to abide by such rules. However, he noted that, his office is underway to take appropriate legal actions against the defaulters for their failure to fulfill such conditions as the days which they had issued as the ultimatum to let them rectify the situation has elapsed. According to him, there were about five environmental health conditions imposed with a view to ensure maximum health standards at slaughter houses, and insisted that one of the most important of all was to dig a condemnation pit which has not yet been done. Other conditions he noted were all skinning activities should be done within the slaughter houses, blood drying machine to be installed within the compound, renovation of the dilapidated slaughter houses, and wearing of safety gears such as gloves as stipulated by Tanzania Food and Drug Authority Act of the year 2003. The latter condition is compulsory for all workers who handle foods.

A typical example of the modern abattoir is whereby a slaughtered animal is hanged up when being skinned.

Investigation has found out that, due to lack of a condemnation pit within the abattoir failure by the which was to residents of Markaz area at Ukonga ward in Ilala district, Dar es Salaam region are not living comfortably due to foul smell emanating from the nearest abattoir which has been regularly inconveniencing their lives. Interviewed residents have said that, the persisting situation has been denying them rest mostly during night hours and because of this, have strongly appealed to the government to relocate the abattoir in order to save their lives which they say is in danger of being infected due to environmental air pollution. The abattoir which is among the oldest slaughter houses in the city of Dar es Salaam was established in early 1970s at a time when the area was scarcely populated, but now the area is densely populated with the residential houses built in recent years. Othman Iddi a businessman whose house is closer to the abattoir said that, he is not happy especially during evening hours when the atmosphere is cool and suddenly the air is polluted with a horrible smell coming from the direction of the abattoir which disturbs people. Other residents said, they had long been complaining about the situation to higher authorities and have sent their requests several times through their street leaders and ward secretary for help, but to no avail. Being close to residential houses as such, according to the environmental management regulations its presence is likely to pose serious heath hazards to the people close to it if basic precautionary measures on health care is not taken, says a private Dar based health environmentalist Mr. Cristopher Chiwaya.

Media blamed for unfair coverage on the recent Zanzibar political skirmishes

A Member of Parliament from Zanzibar has thrown blame to the media for the general coverage about the recent clashes caused in the Isles by a Zanzibar Islamic Revival Forum, popularly known as ‘Uamusho’ the group accused of masterminding chaos in Unguja last month. Mbarouk Mohammed told the budget session in Parliament recently in early hours of questions and answers that, the media propagated the whole story mainly by concentrating on the churches which had been touched and claimed to have ignored the coverage of other buildings and individual properties. He said the coverage on the issue by both print and electronic media for unfair, and added that reporters failed to analyze the whole incident in a properly balanced manner. However, he himself couldn’t specify properly if there were further damages cause that could need coverage. Earlier the MP had asked a question which was directed to the Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda when he wanted to know about actions so far taken by the government against the ‘Uamusho’ groups, whereupon the PM said that, the government is currently investigating the matter. The Premier further noted that, the government is suspecting there might be the involvement of some government officials who might have colluded with the group directly or indirectly that drove their motives into such extremes and incited them into causing violence and such chaos to the people around. He said, once the government’s investigations are complete, stern measures would be taken against the culprits. The PM made the call and assured the peace loving people in the country to be calm while the government is in the move to find a permanent solution.

Members of UAMSHO group during their illegal demonstration recently in Zanzibar.

Speaking for the disturbing group in the Isles, President Jakaya Kikwete recently assured Tanzanians that nothing will stop the state from using force to contain those who are out to disrupt peace in our country,” he warned in his monthly address to the nation. The President called on the group to go back to their core business and shun their political agenda, as well as avoid statements that may divide Tanzanians along religious lines,” the President said and added that Tanzanians have always lived like brothers, irrespective of their differences in race, ethnicity, religion and origin. He told the nation that in the past the group’s leaders used to strongly criticize the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, however their criticisms became irrelevant after formation of the Government of National Unity towards the end of 2010.Uamsho as it is known in Swahili acronym is the Association for Islamic Mobilization and Propagation which has called for a referendum on Zanzibar’s exit from its union with mainland Tanzania. Surprisingly, the President said, the criticisms resurfaced recently after the union constitutional review process was kick-started. He said this time around they have been harping on the union, uttering abusive words against the union founders and current leaders. However, the president said it was unacceptable for someone with divergent views on the union to exploit the situation to pillage and torch houses of worship, adding that this would never be tolerated. Hardly three weeks ago, hundreds of supporters of a separatist Islamist group set fire to two churches and clashed with police during protests in Zanzibar. Clashes broke out in the historic commercial and tourism centre of the predominantly Muslim island Stone Town. The Indian Ocean archipelago of about 1 million people merged with mainland Tanganyika in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania, but Zanzibar retains its own president and parliament.

UDSM honours a distinguish professor

THE Department of Political Science and Public Administration of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) recently organized a one day intellectual forum to honour distinguished Professor Emirius Goran Hyden. During the forum meeting, organizers described Professor Goran as being among the greatest scholars of African politics and governance and a long serving academic staff, and the UDSM remembers his for being among the founders who helped to establish the political science department at the UDSM in early 1964. A senior academic staff and head of the political science department of the UDSM, Dr. Benson Bana told a packed audience in his introductory remarks that, because of this and the contribution made by the great professor Goran, the UDSM has seen it more commendable and therefore has the reason to honour him. He further said that, the UDSM honours him for his research works and various books which he had written during his tenure of service as a professor and senior academic staff at the University of Dar es Salaam way back in early nineteen sixties. The forum was attended by invited guests from Tanzania and outside including professors most of whom were taught by the great scholar Prof. Goran including former Ugandan Prime Minister professor Apolo Nsibambi. The Ugandan ex-Prime Minister also attended the forum meeting.

The attendants took time to discuss and review some of the books written by the Prof. Goran and which according to them have contributed significantly to the development of mankind in the aspects of social, economic and political grounds. Analyzing one of the 12 different political books entitled “Beyond Ujamaa in Tanzania, underdevelopment and uncaptured peasantry” written by Prof. Goran in1980, Professor Benadetha Killian of the UDSM described the book for being fascinating one and intellectually exciting, provocative  and largely convincing. She added that, this is the book that describes the life of Tanzanians since independence time. It also helps to know how the capitalists were weakened by peasants including many aspects of capitalist economic exploitation. For the academic professionalism, Prof. Benadetha noted that the book served as the main source of information on the political history of Tanzania and that it had helped him when he was doing her PhD dissertation. However, she said adding that the book helped her prepare a training manual course when teaching a course in “Government and Politics in Tanzania”  the course which according to her she taught for 4 years at UDSM from 2001-2006. By using the ideas and examples presented on the book when the author elaborated on the idea of uncaptured peasantry Professor Killian noted that, the idea was drawn during the time when Tanzania was a one party state with an ideology of self reliance and socialism. However, she said that, if this idea was made active today when the government has adopted capitalist mode of production, she would have advised the government to change the slogan of “Kilimo Kwanza to Wakulima Kwanza” meaning that, instead of Agriculture first, it should be termed as peasants first.  In this regard, Prof. Benadetha is on the view of the fact that, if the government was serious with the agricultural green revolution when it had introduced the policy of Kilimo kwanza, it should have taken the first hand in helping small scale farmers in the country by providing them with every necessities as a way to empower them. In this way according to him, inflation rate could have been reduced with ease. Reflecting back to Prof. Goran ideas on his book, she said, the book shows how the failure of the government to highlight peasants’ development issues during the time as spearheaded by the first regime under socialism. Giving further insight of the ideas presented on the book, she said that, the author noted that the Arusha declaration also failed to transform peasant’s mode of production and hence they faced resistance and ended up in the positive attitudes. Either she added in her review that, Ujamaa policy did not manage to transform the mode of production to peasants in the country. The clustered villages were not organized in communal farming while socialism was able to revive the production segments which totally failed to give good results. According to the author, social facilities such as health sectors and others totally failed to take effect and instead Tanzania peasants continued to practice capitalist types of life in their families despite of government efforts to streamline socialism type of economy to them.

TABOA plans for e-bus ticketing network for passengers

TRAVELERS at Ubungo bus terminal in Dar es Salaam and elsewhere in the country will no longer be experiencing inconveniences they used to encounter when faced by touts at their terminal once they arrive for booking reservations. This is after the plan by Tanzania Bus Owners Association (TABOA) of establishing e-bus ticketing system is complete and ready for launching. Under the system travelers will be able to make booking reservations for their travel arrangements more quickly and with ease. TABOA’s Secretary General Enea Mrutu said in an interview early this week that, the service will help prospective travelers to get their tickets from anywhere they are, and added that the service will be launched in earnest and Ubungo bus terminal has been selected to be the pilot project. He said once the preparations are over, passengers will use their mobile phones to ask for the reservation in one of the transporting agents and be informed of the available quotations detailing price list and fare rates in terms of kilometers which is designed for the respective routes. He further noted that, a passengers in need of traveling will use mobile phone to make a call by using code numbers which will be made available at every regional bus terminal in the country and once the quotations given are certified, then a passenger will settle payments through M-PESA. He noted that, by use of mobile phones, travelers will call an agent of the transporting company for reservation and will be booked directly by the operator who shall have certified the details of the bus to a customer such as the seat number, time of departure, and bus registration number. These details will be issued to a concerned traveler and would not be issued to anybody. Describing the importance of the service, Mrutu noted that, passengers will easily be moving freely and avoid inconveniences normally they encounter when confronted by touts whenever they go to acquire tickets for traveling at a bus terminal. The service will reduce the rate at which theft has grown in most bus terminals in the country as some people have turned conmen who pretends to be traveling agents at the terminal to lure the minds of travelers and eventually rob them of their properties. According to him, a Dar es Salaam based ICT consulting company known as ‘Adaptive Consulting Group Limited’ has been contracted by their association to coordinate the network service and currently their ICT technicians are finalizing the configuration process. An anonymous Dar es Salaam transport agent who was interviewed by this paper about the network said that, “he is optimistic that the project would be successful if enough knowledge will be issued to the general public”.However, he is on the view of the fact that, people should be enlightened on the use of the network and has congratulated TABOA for this development concept, an initiative which he says will provide safety as everything will electronically controlled. Meanwhile, TABOA is currently counterchecking to find out owners of the offices as the terminal that is not working but pretends to be there by leaving the notice board by the door to indicate that are present whereas they are not.

PS refutes claims raised by editor’s forum

THE Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports, Seith Kamuhanda has refuted claims raised by the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) who criticized top officials of his ministry who failed to turn up during the three days’ meeting of Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) with editors which was held in Morogoro this week. The PS made the call recently in Dar es Salaam when he spoke to journalists in response to a statement by TEF which was issued and published by some newspapers. The statement had criticized the government through the ministry of Information for having skipped the MCT conference it had organized for TEF. The PS is shocked by the TEF’s claims published in newspapers, and he has however dismissed some of the incriminating news reports which he says are not true especially when they said that, ‘their snubbing of the meeting was an indication that both the minister and the PS will not cooperate in making the proposed information law”. The PS said that, there is no grudge between him and his newly appointed minister cautioning that the TEF must know this. Flashing back his reputation, he said that the minister was among the workers who had been working with him in the same ministry before her new appointment. “I am surprised to hear that we have clashes, and wonder as to why such a well-known national journalists’ forum can ever say” he said and added that, he is not in a position to demand for an apology as doing this is a mere creation of enmity and further troubles. The PS is professionally is a journalist noted that he had been into the media ever since when he started working as a junior reporter and finally became a top Managing Editor of the government owned newspapers. In view of this, therefore he is not happy with this dramatic remark he has experienced as a PS and in spite of this, he prefers to remain calm noting that there was no need to quarrel when there is no reason, though he is worried and astonished by what was published. D
escribing the reasons why he didn’t turn up in the meeting as per the demand by TEF, the PS noted that, he had already notified the MCT’s Executive Director Kajubi Mukajanga upon receiving the invitation and noted that, his ministry was engaged in an important meeting with the Parliamentary Accounts Committee for which he was required to attend. “The reasons that led to my abseitism to attend the meeting was crucial one for I couldn’t have dared to leave an important Parliamentary Committee meeting” he said adding that, he was sure that he had sent an excuse to the MCT boss some days before their meeting in Morogoro who was aware of this. He said that the MCT’s invitation was sent to the Minister Dr. Fenella Mukaranga requesting her to be the guest of honour and because of the tight schedules, she couldn’t confirm quickly and instead she delegated the offer to me which coincidentally the day had collided with the parliamentary committee meeting an aspect that he couldn’t also dodge. “I respect the minister as my boss and that I do not think there is anything wrong among us that can be a cause of the total failure as far as our performance is concerned” he said adding that, he wonders as to why such a media forum can dare to utter such things without clarification. Earlier the TEF had expressed their disappointment and wrote a press statement after the top ministry officials failed to travel to Morogoro to officially open the MCT’s first consultative annual general meeting. The meeting brought together Managing Editors from the country’s media houses to discuss issues pertaining to the media industry. The TEF’s statement which it had sent to the media made it open that it would officially submit their claims on the conduct of the ministry’s official to President Jakaya Kikwete as reported in the Citizen English daily newspaper dated on 8th June 2012.

The government in a move to cut down unnecessary ministerial costs

AS the national budget for the fiscal year 2012/13 is currently in debate at the parliament, higher government authorities from every ministry in the country such as permanent secretaries, directors and chief accountants and many others have been cautioned to avoid unnecessary expenditures in order to ensure accountability on government funds. The call was made recently in Dar es Salaam by the Minister of State in Prime Minister Office, policy, coordination and parliamentary affairs, William Lukuvi when stressing the importance of government’s need in a move to cut down unnecessary costs in all ministries in the country. He said in an interview with the Dar es Salaam based Independent Television (ITV) station during the 45 minutes talk show program which is being prepared by a TV presenter Selemeni Semunyu and aired on every Monday. According to the Minister, the government has effectively started implementing its program of cutting down unnecessary operational costs so that it should be in a position to make its proper development plans, an exercise which he says will take place in every ministry with effect from next 2012/13 financial year. Elaborating on how the government would be implementing its strategic plans, the minister noted that, one way it would reduce unnecessary travels of its high ranking officials and other dignitaries in a bid to control the excessive use of fuel on government vehicles. “This is to implement the order recently issued by the Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda in parliament to stop the purchase of luxurious Japanese cars such as Linux VX Land cruiser and instead, the government will be buying RAV4, Double Cabin or Hard Top types of vehicles which are more cost effective”, he said. .
He narrated that the Linux VX model cars are more costly as they are heavy duty vehicles consuming a lot of fuel and spends more in their repairs and maintenance, adding that these would be made available with special order if needed. Apart from that, the minister also noted that the government has limited its participation in some functions such as Nane nane exhibitions and other public functions saying that only the relevant sectors will be participating in these occasions. The Minister clarified that, there are some functions which the government and its agencies are participating but in actual fact the activities at the functions concerns certain particular sectors of development. “As from now henceforth, only the relevant bodies would be participating”, he cautioned and directed ministries accounting officers to observe this without failure. But it’s very unfortunate that, the Minister couldn’t talk about the allowances paid to high ranking government officials and normal civil servants during their seminars and official meetings, if it has been considered as one way of cost cutting measures in the government’s strategic plan. Instead, he has directed them to reduce unnecessary seminars or meetings wherever possible. In line with this, on the use of government vehicles, Lukuvi has directed Permanent Secretaries to use their loaned vehicles and leave government vehicles while going and coming back from their respective working places. However, he said and added that, the same thing should apply to district and municipal directors countrywide. In matters related to work performance, Lukuvi has called on the higher authorities from the district to regional level to physically visit their people in villages to give any special attention to the needy people. He has urged them to be responsible enough to attend and solve their most basic social problems facing them, and work effectively to ensure that the country’s resources are managed properly for the benefits of the people in the country. He added that the government’s expectations is to see its officers works on the laid down strategies and come up with possible ways on how they can reduce such costs in their sectors without waiting for the directives so that they could save the money which could be spent on other development plans. According to an economic expert, Raymond Mwailunga based in Arusha, if the government is not effective to look at its basic expenditures, the country’s spiraling debt is likely to drive the nation into bankruptcy. Mwailunga is on the view of the fact that, the projected Sh. 15 trillion for this year’s fiscal budget is great, but might be too little if the government would not cut down unnecessary expenditures