Saturday, November 24, 2012

Two Tanzanians to attend youth Parliamentary forum in Nigeria

THE National Parliament has selected two students from the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) as representatives for youths in the country to attend the first ever youth Parliamentary forum for Africa region due to be held in Akwa Ibo state in Nigeria end of this month, it has been learnt. The forum to be organized by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) will discuss together with other matters relating with the increased unemployment opportunities in Africa and this will be the main agenda which is a great challenge to youths who graduates from higher learning institutions. The Deputy Director in charge of Parliamentary protocol and matters related to the International Cooperation, Dermatrius Mgalami told a press conference yesterday in Dar es Salaam that, the two youths would be among the 38 youths from 19 countries in Africa who are members of CPA. He named them as Sylvanus Joseph (32) a Masters student pursuing Strategies and peace studies and Judith Kapinga (27) a fourth year student pursuing law both studying at the UDSM mlimani campus in Dar es Salaam.  

Tanzania National Parliament building in Dodoma

He said that, the youth parliamentary meeting is in line with the normal commonwealth parliamentary sessions which normally are conducted by 19 member states Tanzania included. He added that, for this youth parliamentary session will more be based specifically on the economic integrated issues on the commonwealth states on the creation of job opportunity. However, he said adding that, the two will come back with the deliberations passed by their Parliament and present them to the Speaker of the National Assembly in Dodoma to see how such proposals will be worked out by the government. Elaborating on the best criteria used to select the candidates, he said that, the National Assembly formed a special committee to scrutinize best students as representatives for this forum and sent applications to all 14 publicly and privately owned higher learning institutions accredited in the country. After the first and second selections, the best students were selected to attend interviews which the panelists were sure enough to have done their job of making the right choice of the overall students and have them to represent their fellow youths in this important forum, he said. Members of CPA for Africa region are those countries which were under British colonialism up to the time of their independence, with the exception of the Republic of Mozambique and Rwanda who joined the association recently. CPA was established in 1911 and its jurisdiction was based on other continents apart from Africa which was still under colonial rule. In Africa it will be the first whereas in Tanzania the youth parliament was established in 1980 and ceased from working in 1999. According to Mgalami, the essence of the forum is to give an opportunity for youths to speak out their minds on the various economic matters related to their future life.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tanzania-Malawi border dispute taken to retired SADC leaders

BORDER dispute between Tanzania and Malawi over Lake Malawi has taken a new twice whereby the two warring groups have decided to take the matter for mediation to retired eminent persons of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Benard Membe told journalists on Saturday last week in Dar es Salaam that, the decision has been reached after the two countries had not reached to a conclusion pending the disagreement and agreement on both sides over the matter. Elaborating on this decision, he said that they have officially agreed on two fundamental matters that Malawi still maintains that the Lake north of Mozambique belongs to Malawi as per the treaty signed between the Germans for Tanganyika and the British for Nyasaland in 1890 during colonial time. Whereas Tanzanian side have disagreed with their counterpart and maintains that her border passes straight in the middle across the long stretch map of the Lake splitting the northern part of the water body roughly equally between the neighbours as internationally recognized.

Tanzania Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Benard Membe

He said Because of these fundamental differences both sides have seen the need to find the third mediator to negotiate and see what could be a solution to the matter. In view of this, they will send a letter to the SADC mediation committee chaired by former Mozambican President Joachim in early December. In this letter they will request him to include among other professional lawyers across African continents that would help in legal matters to attain right decisions and added that the committee will work for three months and give out its decision in late March 1913. According to Membe, incase the decision would not be reached then there will be a need for the issue to be handled at the highest levels of international arbitration such as the International Court of Justice for further mediation. Earlier he explained the objective of the meeting was for the two sides to discuss options for resolving the boundary issue as considered and recommended by the joint committee of officials from both countries who met yesterday after a three day meeting with Malawian delegation which was in the country for discussions that began on Wednesday. After the talks, the ministerial meeting followed and recommended that, SADC be approached jointly by the two states to identify a mediator acceptable to both parties. According to Membe incase the SADC mediators failed, then the matter would be taken to International Court of Justice (ICJ) subject to the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties of 1969 whereby the two sides have agreed on the need for a speedy resolution of the matter. On the other side of the Malawian Minister for Foreign Affairs Ephraim Chiume expressed her profound gratitude and thanked President Jakaya Kikwete and President Joyce Banda for the steps they have taken to make sure that, the matter is solved peacefully and amicably. Both Ministers have agreed to accept with the decision passed for the resolution.

A low cost air carrier to give priority of employment to Tanzania pilots

AS the Professional Association of Tanzania Pilots (PATP) complains of the foreign domination of the country’s civil aviation industry over the recruitment of cabin crew, a newly established low cost fastjet flight carrier has promised to recruit Tanzanian pilots of the highly professionals, it has been learnt. The company’s Chief Commercial officer, Richard Bodin confirmed early this week in Dar es Salaam that, Tanzanians are among 30 pilots who have been recruited by the firm to fly three airbus A319 planes which will arrive in the country to start its operation in two weeks to come. He said in an exclusive interview during the launching of the official ticket two sale weeks ago for a plane which is scheduled to inaugurate its first operations for the domestic flight in the country end of this month.  He said that, the company was looking for local Tanzanians who are professionally trained as pilots able to maintain high standards of safety, but could not specify exactly the number of the needed local pilots as they are still going on with scrutiny. The coming of Fastjet aircraft in the country might be a relief to some stranded Tanzania pilots who have been wandering about in search of jobs but to no avail, says PATP’s Secretary General Captain Khalib Iqbal who once served as Precision Air pilot. Captain Iqbal was quoted by the media early this week as saying that, “Tanzania has enough qualified pilots to fly any type of aircraft, but it’s unfortunate to see most of them have been left stranded by some aircraft companies because of the existing bureaucracy in the aviation industry which is fond of discrimination and do not have trust with local pilots”. He has however thanked the government’s intervention in its circular signed by former Director General of the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority aviation (TCAA) Engineer Margreth Munyagi in June 2011 following the cancellation of earlier circular introduced in 2004. The new circular reads that ‘aircraft owners or operators are urged to give priority of employment to Tanzanian nationals’.  The fastjet which has acquired fly 540, aspires to become a pan-African low cost air carrier by treading on terrain which several other aircrafts have failed to operate in Africa. Fastjet homogeneous fleet will only consist of airbus A319 planes which have already been approved by the Tanzania aviation industry official experts to be fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. Being one of the low cost air carriers, it expects to kick off its operations as all its logistics have been finalized. The aircraft will be flying to Mwanza and Kilimanjaro from Dar es Salaam twice each day at a minimum price of $ 20 (Approximately Sh. 32,000) one-way excluding taxes and charges. According to him, the minimum price will be made available to a traveler who book earlier and within a specified scheduled time. “We look forward to bringing a great, reliable and affordable service to the people of Tanzania.” He said adding that his company is determined to seek for business opportunity in order to open up low cost travel and bring new levels of comfort to air passengers across the country.  However, he has observed that, there are more Tanzanians travelling domestically by air today than any other time, therefore he has assured enormous opportunities for growth given the expanding middle class and their rising disposable income. Another point he noted is the fact that Tanzania has been relying on a single airline in order to service the majority of its domesticated routes. The airline company adds to 72 air operators already registered with the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authorities in the country as of 31st August this year. Statistics made available by the Authority shows that, out of 72, only 49 are in internal operations and none of them tackles international direct flight. Fastjet is incorporated in England and Wales under the companies Act 1985 with registered number 05701801 and its registered office is Suite 2C, first point Buckingham Gate, Gatwick Airport, RH6 0NT.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Low cost airline carrier eyes business in Tanzania

FastJet Airbus A319 a renowned air company based in England has set its feet in Tanzania to seek for business opportunity in order to open up low cost travel and bring new levels of comfort to air passengers across the country. It has been learnt The airline will commence flying in November with seats expected to going on sale online a few weeks from now. Fares will be available for as low as between $20 and $80 one-way excluding taxes and charges, the General Manager Africa jet Kyle Haywood said last week in Dar es Salaam. “Our initial focus will be on East Africa with the airline’s first base at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where the A319 aircraft has already been approved by the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA)”, he said adding that, being one of the low cost air carriers, it expects to kick off its operations in November this year if all the logistics are finalized”. However, he said adding that, “this will be followed by a second base in Nairobi, Kenya, once the A319 is approved there.  “We look forward to bringing a great, reliable and affordable service to the people of East Africa.”  The airline company adds to 72 air operators already registered with the TCAA in the country as of 31st August this year. Statistics made available by the Authority shows that, out of 72, only 49 are in internal operations and none of them tackles international direct flight. Kyle Haywood has observed that, there are more Tanzanians travelling domestically by air today than any other time, therefore he has assured enormous opportunities for growth given the expanding middle class and their rising disposable income. Another point he noted is the fact that Tanzania has been relying on a single airline in order to service the majority of its domesticated routes, and in view of this more broadly his airline has come to ease the operations at most low cost price which would be more affordable by the majority of Tanzanians. Elaborating on Africa’s business trend and the general perspective, he said that the continent is booming noting that, 7 out of 10 fastest growing global economies are in Africa with a rapidly growing consumer market. He says Africa has increased the potential of open aviation policy infrastructure across regions and the markets is under served for 1.5 seats per person in Europe is equivalent to one seat for every 13,000 people in Africa.

Narrating on his company’s interest to invest in Africa, he noted that, Airbus forecasts total passenger traffic in Africa which is growing at a yearly average rate of 5.7 percent between 2010 and 2030, this is well above the 4.8 percent world average growth rate. Hence he added that, there is limited capacity of pan continental airlines to meet this demand. “We want o enable people to swap arduous bus journeys for convenient flight just as Brazil, Asia and Mexico have done” he said adding that, it is about democratizing air travel enabling huge numbers of middle class Africa consumers to travel quickly, cheaply and safely. Africa is a growth aviation market with regional and intercontinental traffic both growing rapidly as a result of the continent’s continued economic expansion.  With over one billion people, Africa is hampered by poor infrastructure, a lack of roads and railways and long distances between urban populations. The African aviation market is significantly underserved with air travel spending as a percentage of GDP a fraction of that of other emerging markets.  With rapid economic growth and, as a result, the growing wealth of African citizens, more and more people will be able to benefit from aviation and fly for the first time. Airbus forecasts total passenger traffic in Africa will grow at an annual average rate of 5.7 percent between 2010 and 2030, well above the 4.8 per cent world average growth rate and expects to deliver more than 1,100 new passenger aircraft, 4 percent of world deliveries, in the next 20 years to satisfy growing demand. “FastJet will open up low cost travel to the African market, and the Airbus A319 will bring new levels of comfort to air passengers across Africa.  Once established in East Africa, FastJet has plans to launch in Accra, Ghana and Luanda and Angola. FastJet is incorporated in England and Wales under the Companies Act 1985 with registered number 05701801 and its registered office is Suite 2C, First Point, Buckingham Gate, Gatwick Airport, RH6 0NT 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Oil companies starts supplying the borrowed transit oil

SOME Oil Companies have started to transport the borrowed bulk of transit oil to various upcountry regions which are hit by fuel scarcity from the Dar es Salaam based main reservation depots. A spot check at four main oil depots namely Puma (former BP), Oil com, Camel oil, and Gapco which are all located at Kurasini suburb in Dar es Salaam last week over the weekend witnessed a number of trucks with their oil tankers lined up at these depots and security guards on duty were seen busy directing the drivers to the main packing bay for loading the consignment. Efforts to get spokesmen for further clarifications about the issue from these oil depot stations proved futile as for yesterday’s Saturday were all not on duty. But some interviewed drivers and security guards confirmed to this writer that, the bulk oil were on transit to upcountry regions. However, they said adding that, the exercise started late on Friday afternoon and was so hectic as it had involved the arrangements of trucks and checking up of other documentations to ascertain their authenticity, said one security guard at the gate of Gapco depot. In early this week, the government had borrowed 50 percent of the fuel destined for the country’s landlocked neighbours in a bid to avert an impending fuel crisis which has occurred in the country with the upcountry regions being the most hit by the scarcity. EWURA’s Public Communications Manager, Titus Kaguo told a press conference in Dar es Salaam on Friday this week that, half of the 80 million litres held in transit would be sold locally after the oil firms had fulfilled “conditions of the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).” He said already nine local oil firms had ordered a total 21.3 million litres of diesel, 5.2 million litres of petrol as well as 1.4 million litres of kerosene to cover the deficit, but added that they would not be allowed to sell unless they have settled down conditions imposed by TRA that requires them to pay 100 percent of their taxes.

However, EWURA reckons that fuel supplies would come back to normal “within a couple of one weeks’ time basing on the assumptions that “two big oil ships” could be offloading enough fuel to meet the entire country’s needs next week. Meanwhile, a spot check at various filling stations within Dar es Salaam city showed that some of the fuel outlets have fuel stocks for sale in due course, while reports from upcountry still painting a worse scenario. In the unfolding circus of words, the minister of Energy and Minerals, Professor Sospeter Muhongo on Friday evening ordered Ewura’s management to cancel oil import licenses of companies alleged to have failed to import fuel for six consecutive months.  Muhongo issued the order at a news conference in Dar es Salaam on Friday evening which was also attended by key oil importers. He said Ewura should report to him on the implementation of the order tomorrow (Monday). Currently, Tanzania uses a new bulk oil procurement system under which only few oil companies import oil in bulk and sell it to the others as opposed to the old joint procurement system where oil companies would import on their own. Some economic critics have appreciated the move by the government and its efforts to get rid of the situation which has to a greater extent proved a success in mid of this week after it had awakened industry stakeholders  including key players by taking effective control measures that aimed at remedying any possible escalation of the crisis which is likely to disrupt people’s economic activities. Ms. Consolata Masalu an economist with a foreign leather company based in Dar es Salaam said early this week that, the government has to be careful and time conscious to ensure that the oil companies who involves in bulk procurement are time conscious. Consolata is on the view of the fact that, once the supply of oil is left staggering, many economic activities dwindles an aspect that disrupts the economy for oil is an engine of economic growth.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Feared foodstuff shortage in Dar unjustifiable – survey

DESPITE of the persisting shortage of fuel in the country which to a certain extent continues to haunt the economic stance of the people, the supply of food stuffs in the city of Dar es Salaam has remained stable throughout, the survey by this paper can establish. According to a week- long survey in various markets in the city of Dar es Salaam suburbs for instance at Kariakoo, Buguruni, Mwananyamala and Temeke markets, the supply of most foodstuffs such as rice, maize and beans has been consistently going on for the last two weeks since the oil crisis broke out.  The survey has discovered that due to the staggering sale of fuel in upcountry regions, the price for these commodities from the main supplying areas which might have been affected by their supply with the higher transportation costs to the city of Dar es Salaam has remained as they are the main. A kilogram of high quality price is sold at between Sh. 1,750 and Sh. 2,300, a kilogram of high quality beans popularly known as ‘Soya’ from Mbeya region is fetched at between Sh. 1,700 and Sh. 1,800, whereas the price for a kilogram of maize has constantly remained at Sh. 900. The survey has also discovered that the upcountry bus transport fares from the main Ubungo bound upcountry bus terminal in Dar es Salaam have remained intact though most transporters experienced some difficulties to buy fuel to operate their vehicles, owing to the fact that some filling stations in the city of Dar es Salaam are reported to have no fuel stock now for the third week running. There has no increase of transport fare by bus operators to upcountry regions though some operators decided to stop some of their buses from operating for lack of fuel. Reports from other upcountry regions has shown that, the on-going scarcity of fuel commodity has caused fare increase as the commodity have been sold in a black market. The survey was carried with a view to find out the economic implications which might have occurred as a result of the fuel crisis which was first experienced since the Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority (EWURA) announced the monthly decrease of the indicative price quotations for oil products in early October.  The industry regulator had in early October cut the price of petrol which is being used by most transporters in the country by Sh. 306 (equivalent to 13.30 percent) to Sh. 1,994 per litre down from Sh. 2,300 as it was sold in the previous month. It had also lowered that of diesel by Sh. 192 (8.96 percent) to Sh. 1,993 compared to Sh. 2,142 sold in September. Some players in the oil industry had on Wednesday this week attributed the shortage of fuel in some parts of the country to low prices for petroleum products set by the industry regulator as compared to import charges. They were quoted as saying that, setting prices of petroleum products below import costs is to blame for current fuel shortage in the local market. However, they noted that, the recent indicative prices announced by EWURA are lower than prices quoted by the importer of oil through Bulk Procurement System (BPS) and this according to them has resulted the shortage in the local market. Efforts by the government to get rid of the situation has proved a success in mid of this week after it had awakened industry stakeholders  including key players by taking effective control measures that aimed at remedying any possible escalation of the crisis which is likely to disrupt people’s economic activities. On its move to curb the looming fuel shortages, one step by the government is that, it has instructed Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to immediately sell the available fuel stocks to upcountry regions so as to avert serious shortage being experienced there, which according t EWURA there is a stock of 80 million litres.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Mwangosi’s case takes a new twist as LHRC lodges complaints to UN and ICC bodies

LEGAL Human Rights Centre (LHRC) has lodged two major complaints over human rights violations which have been committed by the government of Tanzania to UN-Special Rapporteur on judicial killings and to the Director of Criminal Investigations at the International Criminal Court (ICC) respectively in which Mwangosi’s case is taken as an example. The aim of the LHRC is to seek for their intervention over the continued killings of the innocent people which have been taking place in the country for unknown reasons, the Executive Secretary of the LHRC Helen Kijo-Bisimba told a press conference recently in Dar es Salaam. Speaking rather in a pensive mood, Ms Helen was confident enough when she confirmed to journalists that, her office had sent the two reports of complaints to these two different international judicial organizations on 28th September 2012. The sent reports has requested the concerned bodies to react as quickly as possible in the investigations over the incriminating issues of killings which are taking place now and then in Tanzania, and if possible should they take legal actions against the government. She said LHRC has come up with such a decision after going through the recently three probing reports of killings of a Channel ten journalist, Daudi Mwangosi who was killed by the police in a cold blood while on duty at Nyololo village in Mufindi District, Iringa Region over one month ago. She noted that out of the three probing reports presented, her office is strongly objecting the probing committee formed by the Minister for Home Affairs Dr. Emmanuel Nchimbi and led by Judge Steven Ihema, saying that it has spoken widely in favour of the government and that it couldn’t have presented real facts to defend the argument contained in a report which she says is full of lies. In view of this, however, after noticing that as the government favors the police who were seen on a TV screen accomplishing their task of killing a journalist, then her centre no longer trust the report and together with this, have lodged a complaint report to UN special reppoprteur on judicial killings as well as to the Director of Criminal Investigation at ICC Court in Hague-Holand for their intervention.

The Executive Secretary of the Tanzania's Legal Human Right Centre, Dr. Hellen Kijo-Bisimba

In her introductory remarks on behalf of the LHRC centre, Ms. Helen has also criticized the government’s reports saying that it fell short of providing some important details and instead it aims at protecting killers and the government officials in connection with the issue as a whole. “This is the habit which the government has been maintaining of defending its officials whom it has seen to have committed crimes and seeks for the opportunity to exonerate them from blame” she said adding that, her centre was not so surprised to have seen their report which it had indicated openly the desire to protect the offenders as our government has yet for long put a system of investigating themselves and or hold them accountable. Elaborating on the report of the probing team led by Judge Stevem Ihema, she said that, the government has affirmed its stance before the public that it had no intention of investigating the killings done by the police, and instead it had the intention of cleaning the killers and defending some police officers associated with the incident.  “If someone reads Dr. Nchimbi’s probing committee report in details, might see how it has been seeking for falsehood in order to show how CHADEMA leaders were at fault for convening a meeting, and yet were already told to hold on to pave for the way of the national census day which had been extended an aspect which id wrong” she said. Clarifying a point about what the Commission for Human Rights did in regard to CHADEMA and census, she said that, already the Iringa Regional Police Commander, Michael Kamuhanda has interfered with the principles of good governance as already his junior OCD of the Mufindi district had already given a green light to CHADEMA party officials to go on with the meeting. Therefore, due to Dr. Nchimbi’s probing committee which has proved failure to show some relevant facts on the findings and moreover looks so different, this shows bad attitude the ministry of home affairs has of protecting the malpractice of some police officers who are fond if killing innocent civilians, hence it shows violation of human rights. She said the report released by the investigation team formed by the minister aimed at clearing the image of the police force in the country and to defend the ongoing atrocities committed by the force in the country.

Sumaye urges fellow CCM members to emulate Nyerere by action

FORMER Prime Minister Fredrick Sumaye has reiterated his stance in the fight over corruption and called on fellow CCM members to desist from such malpractices which might cause a position distortion of the good image of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM party)  Sumaye gave his concern recently in Dar es Salaam while addressing academicians who gathered at a symposium organized by Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy to discuss the 13th anniversary celebrations of the death of the father of Nation, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere whose climax was held a month ago. The former premier who was the guest of honour in a three hour discussion, recently showed his attitude after having been annoyed by some CCM members’ behavious of becoming fond of seeking for leadership by introducing money as a token to carry on their corruptive practices during elections. In his speech, he has praised the late father of the nation for what he had done for Tanzanians for the last 24 years he had been in power since independence time up to 1985, and described him as a person who had a vision to develop Tanzanians and cursed corruption with all efforts whatsoever. Describing some of the things he did during his lifetime, he said that, the late father of the nation had a firm stance while making decisions and was ready to admit any mistake inadvertently committed by himself.

Former Tanzania's Prime Minister Fredrick Sumaye.

Unlike some leaders of today, giving an example of the ruling CCM party, the premier noted that some were not willing to be opened and give out their doubts whenever required to explain of any mischief likely to have been committed by them. “That is not the character Julius Nyerere had” he said adding that, personal interests among some few leaders was a factor that causes all the problems the nation is currently faced with including the inflation which keeps on going up, a trend that haunts the low income people in the country. Sumaye also praised Mwalimu for his dedication over the fighting against poverty and human exploitation, a thing that most leaders in the country does not have. He was on the view of the fact that, there are some leaders who willfully engage in grand corruption a situation that paralyses the economy of the country. However, he has suggested that, the government should take a keen interest to fight with corruption and if possible take the issue as criminal treason case, as if this is not tackled by now will be a troublesome in future for this country. Commenting his ideas, an academician Alex Shauri a second year student pursuing politics and management at the college has suggested that, in order to emulate Nyerere’s philosophy, ethics in leadership should be revived in order to make matters in a proportional level. He added that, the government should prepare a special policy intended for civil service servants in the country in order to strengthen the legal leadership which would be considered with all equal rights in the country. Describing the reputations which Mwalimu had, another contributor, Mboneka Peter, a third year student  noted that, the late Mwalimu stood for the constitution for the welfare of the people in the country, and even if we are currently reviewing the constitution, it will be nothing if it will be there and our leaders do not take a firm decision to defend it. He has therefore urged the government to put their deliberations in action instead of mere talking of matters which have become the order of the day without anything of

Distribute forest land to indigenous Tanzanians-PM tells district executives

THE Prime Minister, Mizengo Peter Pinda has directed executives of the district councils in the country to set apart some portions of their land forests within their respective districts which they see could be suitable for the economic development of beekeeping activities. The Premier gave his concern recently in Dar es Salaam when he addressed key stakeholders of the honey sector in the country after he had officially opened a five day honey exhibition that involved beekeepers and business people who are engaged in selling honey related products.  The exhibition dubbed ‘Dar es Salaam Honey Exhibition’ which is the first ever to be held in the country started on Wednesday and is expected to end on Sunday this week. Companies that sell and distribute honey, beehive makers and distributors of other materials related to the honey sub-sectors participated. Also in attendance were 65 district councils from different 23 regions in the country as well as 19 civil society groups mostly those who engage in honey business at local and international level. Other dignitaries who attended were some invited Regional Commissioners, Members of Parliament and some foreign Ambassadors accredited in the country.  The occasion which is organized by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism in cooperation with Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TanTrade) and other stakeholders from beekeeping sector has been given a national status under the theme titled, “Honey for Health and Prosperity”  The objective of the exhibition is to secure reliable bee products markets whereby several showcases are presented and delivered by stakeholders to show goers who are informed on the benefits of honey, learn about beekeeping and some had the opportunity to taste and buy quality honey displayed at Karume main Hall building at Mwalimu Nyerere Fair grounds commonly known as Sabasaba grounds. In his speech, the Premier challenged district executives from areas where beekeeping is taking place that, they should engage in beekeeping as the business would earn them money for development in their areas, and most important is a way to reduce poverty among young Tanzanians.

Tanzania's Prime Minister shakes hands with other parliamentarians after the morning session in Dodoma recently.

The premier who is also a beekeeper, has urged key stakeholders to help promote the sector by following the national policy on beekeeping of 2008 which he said part of it concerns with the growth of industries related with honey materials. However, he said that the involvement of youths in beekeeping would bring benefits to the nation as many youths who tread in towns and cities looking for livelihood would mind to stay in their localities and engage in the business which would earn them foreign currency out of exports.  He has also cautioned against wanton felling of trees and other vegetations which are a good source of attraction of bees in their search of nectar from them. However, he also cautioned indiscriminate setting of fire on forests, as the act causes degradation and destroys natural sources. The Premier who seems to have strengthened many efforts in beekeeping in the country revealed to his audience that, he saw the need to promote the sector during the nanenane exhibitions which was held in Dodoma last August when he met various beekeeping experts and had become so much interested to reinforce the activities as part of a national program. In his part, he has strongly urged the stakeholders to take a keen interest as well by taking all the necessary initiatives to achieve the goals, however, he wondered why Ethiopian country which is a semi desert country could surpass Tanzania in production of honey yet Tanzania is better blessed by rich natural resources. Giving the estimated statistics of the entire production of honey in the country, he noted that, Tanzania can produce 135,000 tones per year and earns Sh. 1.8 trillions against the current production of 9,000 tones per years which earns the country Sh. 27 billion. He also noted that, the country produces 600 tones of beeswax that earns the nation Sh. 3 billion per year. Premier Mizengo said that every district in the country is able to concentrate in this business and the activities of beekeeping in order to empower youths, in view of this, he has also stressed upon the executive at district levels to ensure that, they make a good success in this so that Tanzania should lead in East Africa region and Africa as a whole. “It is wonderful to hear that Tanzania ranks the ninth country in Africa for the production of honey and yet we have all the necessary natural resources to be proud of” he said adding that it’s just a matter of planning a challenge that should be entirely committed by the district councils which he has also urged them to form main collection centers as well as points of honey productions in the country. Elaborating his point, he said that district councils should have cooperative societies which would be involved in the checking of the better quality homey and institute learning centers which would teach stakeholders on how to pack their products which should have a TBS label of excellence. The exhibitions went alongside with the issuing of certificates of the best performing companies which did the best in their products as well as packing of their products whereby a Dar es Salaam based Johari Honey Supplied Ltd scored the first position.

EWURA clarifies ways on how to curb for fuel shortage in the country

IN a bid to curb the looming fuel shortage in the country, the government has borrowed 50 percent of the total liters of fuel in stock for local oil marketing companies which was to be sold to landlocked countries in order to normalize the impending looming crisis. EWURA’s Public Communications Manager, Titus Kagua told a press conference yesterday in Dar es Salaam that, out of a total 80 million liters of fuel on transit, 40 million liters will be sold in local market by oil companies after fulfilling conditions of the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) that requires them to pay 100 tax. He said out of the pending oil stock, already 21.3 million liters of diesel, 5.2 million liters of petrol as well as 1.4 million liters of kerosene respectively, have been ordered by nine local oil companies in order to cover the deficit and added that, they would not be allowed to sell unless they pay 100 percent of their tax due to be charged by TRA. He also noted that, the stock to be put on sale will help prolong the days for which the country is running short of. Clarifying his point, he noted that, Diesel will be used for 17days in total if added with the current stock in market. Others like petrol will now be used for 14 days, while the kerosene which has the largest usage will be in market for 7 days. However, he said that, the days mentioned of usage are in addition of the quantity of fuel which is currently in market.

EWURA’s Public Communications Manager, Titus Kaguo elaborating a point to journalists (not in the picture) during a press conference in Dar es Salaam.

Clarifying liters of fuel which are currently in market before the additional fuel on transit, he noted that, there is 35.8 million liters of diesel, 16.7 million liters of petrol, 11.7 million liters of jet fuel and 500,000 liters of kerosene. In view of the above quotations, the regulator’s boss has assured the public that, the supply of fuel will come to a normal situation as within a couple of one week’s time two big oil ships will be offloading fuel which will cater for the entire country’s need and another stock will be used to replace the gap left for the fuel taken from the transit stock. He has however, dismissed claims by few individuals who speculated that the current shortage is as a result of the recently imposed indicative price quotations that lowered the percentage rate in price as earlier announced in October. Elaborating the reasons why there is a shortage of the commodity in upcountry regions, he stated that, this is due to transport problems which are exacerbated by poor infrastructure all the way during transportation of the oil tankers by road. He couldn’t however clarified the kind of infrastructure that could be possibly have been the major cause of delay for the delivery at various designated depots in upcountry, but noted that, the oil tankers needs care while on transit to abide by their safety regulations. Elaborating on the current regions hit by the shortage such as Tanga and Singida, Kaguo noted that, it’s because of the market situation which he said is affected by users and sellers of the commodity. In this aspect, Kaguo clarified that, the orders placed by oil companies goes alongside with the consumption and traders have to be careful on that. Explaining the reasons why there was delays for oil deliveries at the Port, he noted that, the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) had failed to give priority to oil ships to offload the commodity citing the major reasons as was due to technical problems at the port. However, he made it clear that, the offloading had delayed for 19 days prior to the berthing of oil ships at the port and added that within this period, the nation was at that time still using the reserve stock. Meanwhile, physical survey at various filling stations in most parts in Dar es Salaam city showed that there are still some filling stations which do not have fuel stock, and reports from upcountry painted a worse scenario. At Mara region in Tarime district, it was noted that filling stations in towns’ centers had no fuel. Survey in some parts of the country shows that the price of fuel has drastically increased as some is sold in black market that fetched between Sh. 3,000 and Sh. 5,000  per liter for petrol or diesel respectively.

Police use tactics to net Muslims demonstrators in Dar es Salaam

IN what appears to be a surprise move, the Dar es Salaam police force yesterday managed to get rid of Muslim demonstrators in a string operation which was planned by a highly syndicated trap set by its plain clothed officers. The officers mingled with the demonstrators who started their movement from Idrisa Mosque at Kariakoo business district after the afternoon prayers, and without knowledge of their presence among them, they successfully managed to net scores of them who afterwards were taken to Msimbazi police station for interrogation. The police used this unique tactic on their move to suppress an illegal demonstration planned by Islamic followers which was intended to take place just immediately after the afternoon prayers in the city of Dar es Salaam, and used such a queer tactic to accomplish their mission.  The aim of the demonstration was to pressurize the government for the release of the Secretary General of the council of Muslim’s organizations Sheikh Ponda Issa Ponda who was denied a bail bond on Thursday for the second time of his appearance at Kisutu Resident Magistrate court in Dar es Salaam. Sheikh Ponda first appeared in court a month ago after he was arrested by police on allegations of having led his followers to invade private property belonging to Agritanza Company Limited, situated at Chang’ombe Marcus in Dar es Salaam.  Ponda and his followers alleged that the Muslim Council of Tanzania, Bakwata, sold the property to the company illegally. Before the court presided over by resident magistrate Stuwart Sanga, the accused were charged with different five counts including committing conspiracy, trespass, stealing property worth Sh. 59million and criminal possession of property owned by Agritanza Ltd at Chang’ombe in Temeke municipality.  

Some of Muslim demonstrators under arrest and are being escorted by the police.
During the fracas with the rowdy Muslims who earlier defied the police orders that required them to stop the rampage, the anti-riot police used tear gas in a bid to disperse them along Msimbazi street at Kariakoo main central business district whereby their confrontation with the police resulted into several people who were left injured and scores of others most of whom youths were apprehended. A spot check at the scene can reveal that, the Msimbazi street which was crowded by people most of whom youths from all its outlets turned like a warzone as the riot police fired tear gas that threatened people around before the street was closed for a while.  All vehicles including commuter buses known as daladalas from Temeke and Magomeni were stopped from passing along the street for safety as police were confronted by the rowdy Muslims with some few of them who simply obeyed the police orders and dispersed. At Kaiakoo area, a spot check by this writer can reveal that, all shops along Uhuru street were closed and at Kidongo Chekundu open space was in a tight security as police were seen patrolling the area all the time moving around in motor cycles. A convoy of plan clothes police officers armed with sub-machine guns were also spotted making frequent patrol along the area to ensure peace, but their presence reflected a gloomy aspect of refrain to would be demonstrators.   Reliable sources from the scene said that, they saw a convoy of soldiers belonging to Tanzania people’s Defense Forces (TPDF) on move as though patrolling the area, however their presence reflected a move of seriousness of the matter, a factor that caused high tension. The intention of Muslims to demonstrate was not only planned to take place at Kariakoo area alone, but also in some other parts of the city as noticed by this reporter. Things were not normal along Kawawa main road at Kinondoni close to a famous Mtambani mosque. There was a tight security whereby anti-riot police confronted Muslims and were dispersed after the police used tear gas to curb a mob justice in protest.  The majority shops remained closed up to the time this reporter departed from the place. Witnesses told this writer in an exclusive interview that, most shoppers reacted quickly in response to early warnings when the rowdy Muslims started to crow in groups. They all closed up their shops for fear of what cold be seen an impending danger or damage for any loss which could have overcome them

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lutheran church astonished over Muslims reactions

THE Head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), Bishop Dr. Alex Malasusa has cautioned fellow church members at Mbagala Zakhem on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam city not to react in desperation following the religious skirmishes whereby their church fell a victim after it was attacked and ravaged by rowdy Muslims on Friday afternoon this week. Dr. Malasusa gave the concern when he toured the church three weeks ago in Dar es Salaam to see for himself the damages caused by rowdy Muslims who stormed into a church and made away with valuable properties in what was described as protesting the desecration of the Holy Quran book which was done by juvenile aged 14 years old on Wednesday this week. He arrived at the church compound at around 08.45 am and was received by fellow church members led by their Shepherd Frank Kimambo who had gathered inside the church in grief stricken mood singing various hymns while others crying in painful over the great misfortune which has befallen their church. I arrived at the place that morning just few minutes before the arrival of the Bishop and found the extensive number of church members and other prayers most of whom women who turned the compound like a mourning place with nobody ever tried to stop them. The atmosphere at the church was very tense and looked like a funeral place as everybody could not believe what was seen inside. Windows were smashed and at the podium were full of pieces of broken glasses, wooden chairs set to fire, loud speakers put on the walls were all removed and had their speakers plus twitters taken away by attackers. “Just to evaluate in quick calculations, may be this is not thousands but  millions of shillings loss, it could be over 30 to 40 millions loss worth of properties”, says a regular player at the church who identified himself as Justine Mlache. He said in an exclusive interview at the scene which was packed by people walking around the church to see the destruction of properties and wondered how the attackers took the law in their hands in order to make their mischief through as though the government is on leave.

The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), Bishop Dr. Alex Malasusa conducting a special mass infront of the Mbagala based church which was damaged by rowdy Muslims. This was before the church was attacked in recent religious clashes.
The church is among the biggest with the capacity to accommodate approximately or over 500 prayers at a time in that area alone. People had flocked to see the place which had so many things damaged like ceiling electric fans which have been left dangling from their positions, seemingly the attackers found it difficult to remove them. Other things were found to have been left scattered on the floor, and this shows that, the attackers were thoroughly searching one thing after the other at the place before could get anything valuable to disappear away with. Very astonishing to note is the presence of the a saloon car with the registration number T551 BXE belonging to the church’s shepherd, Frank Kimambo which is packed outside in the courtyard, this was not easily recognized , one might think that it was their target immediately when the attackers managed to enter into a compound. A spot check at the scene can tell that, the car was ruthlessly ransacked and had its most important parts chopped off by attackers, these includes a spare tyre, a car radio, sight mirrors, full headlights as well as hind lights. One might wonder as to how the attackers managed to open the bonnet of the car which at the time of the Dr Malasusa’s departure from the place was still left wide open. Before he departed, Dr. Malasusa said in an exclusive interview with The Guardian on Sunday that, the church will tell the public and the government later as it was too early to put it clear when everybody is extremely shocked. “Give us time as we are going to evaluate the losses and the damage caused and give the report to the general public later and not now” he said adding that at the moment the church is going to discuss with the secretaries of all churches in Dar es Salaam city and after which a statement will be issued to inform the general public. Cornered by this writer, some eye witnesses said that, they were amazed to see hundreds of angry people most of whom youths believed to be Muslims who stormed the compound of the church armed with some traditional weapons and some carrying iron bars and managed to force through the gate of the church compound. “The rowdy attackers smashed open the door of the church and stoned the packed car at the courtyard in the absence of the security guards who at that time had run away leaving the premises alone, thus the attackers used the opportunity to take whatever they liked without resistance”. Said one witness who preferred anonymity. Another witness told this paper in strict condition of anonymity that, the police were to blame over the matter as they failed to turn up quickly at the scene to suppress the rowdy Muslims who were heavily armed when news about the religious skirmishes broke out from Mbagala Chamazi which is a far distance. But according to Temeke Regional Police Commander David Misime, was quoted by the media as saying that more churches would have been attacked had the police not taken action immediately as from Chamanzi area where the incident started. The angry Muslims went on rampage and destroyed other churches around Mbagala area, and in the aftermath at least four other churches were attacked, these are the Seventh Adventist Church, Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG), Moravian Church and Anglican Church. The Muslim Chief Sheik, Alham Mussa Salum on Friday asked Muslims not to pursue the issue out of proportion adding that attacking churches would mean that a 14 year old boy was sent by Christians to desecrate the Quran which he believed was not the case.

Ilala municipal council starts to implement JK’s orders

THE Mayor of the Ilala Municipal council in Dar es Salaam region Jerry Slaa has issued 14 ultimatum days to municipal councilors in order to ensure that, they submit the recommended names to be given to the designated streets found within their wards. The call by the mayor comes few days after President Jakaya Kikwete ordered executives of the three municipal councils in Dar es Salaam region to properly realign and name the streets within their suburbs so as to pave an easy way for the facilitation of the postcode project which is to start soon in Dar es Salaam region. The President issued the order in Dar es Salaam during the inauguration ceremony of the postcode project inn Dar es Salaam region to be carried out and coordinated by the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA). In order to implement the President’s move, the Ilala mayor has directed his councilors to collect the most appropriate chosen names to be discussed during normal councilors’ meetings after which the work of deploying such names will follow afterwards. Mayor Slaa issued the directives at a closing session of a two day annual councilors’ general meeting which was held on Friday last week in Dar es Salaam.

Mayor of the Ilala Municipal Council, Mr. Jerry Slaa, the youngest mayor in the country

He said that, councilors will propose the most appropriate familiar names with the ward development committees then will discuss them and select the most suitable street names as one way to comply by the President’s insistence which runs alongside with the installation of postcode system whose project preparation is ready in place. The majority of people in Dar es Salaam city however, live in slum areas which have no streets let alone street names. “Providing house numbers and codes to areas such as Manzese, Buguruni, Vingunguti, Tandika and Mbagala is likely to be a challenge”, says an official of the city planning dept who preferred anonymity when contacted for comment. Statistics by the office of the city mayor, Dr. Didas Masaburi shows that, about 70 percent of all city dwellers are located in unplanned settlements, the areas which are presumed to have a big challenge in order to ensure the success of the project. On January 18th 2012, Tanzania adopted a ‘Numerical’ postcode system, which has been piloted in Arusha and Dodoma municipalities whereby 5,000 and 7,500 houses have been installed with postcodes respectively since 2008. The local Postcodes or Zip codes will be numerical as opposed to the ‘Alpha-Numerical’ method. The former is widely used globally. Arusha city has spearheaded the country for being the first urban center to establish the new Postcodes based street, house and personal identification system. The Minister for Communication, Science and Technology Prof. Peter Msolla said recently the five-year project would greatly improve local postal and dispatch services. The Minister explained that the 20 billion worth of a project will be carried out in two phases with the first (2009-2011) tailored to cover major towns and cities while the second (2012-2015) is expected to cover rural villages and unplanned settlements in urban centers. Postal services according to TCRA officials have their own formats and placement rules for postal codes. In most English-speaking countries, the postal code forms the last item of the address, following the city or town name, whereas in most continental European countries it precedes the name of the city or town.  During the inauguration of the project in Dar es Salaam recently, the President’s residence of the State House was given No 1 Ocean Road, 11400 Dar es Salaam with his call that the project is vital in boosting the city as a tourist destination as well as business activities. Dar es Salaam has so many tourist destination centres, but to the great dismay most of these have not been reached due to lack of postcode. The Nation’s first Postcode address is ‘1 Boma Street. 23100 Arusha’, which was earlier assigned to the Arusha Head Post Office building in 2008 when the project started. The location of an area is adjacent to the Clock-Tower junction. This was officially launched by the then Vice-President, Dr Ali Mohammed Shein.

PM challenges stakeholders of the beekeeping industry in the country

TANZANIA may be in a position to produce more honey if it maintains its rich natural vegetations best known for beekeeping activities resulting into honey production, the Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda has said. Giving the estimated statistics of the entire local production, the premier noted that, “Tanzania can produce 135,000 tones of honey per year and earns Sh. 1.8 trillions against the current production of 9,000 tones of honey per year which earns the country Sh. 27 billion, and produces 600 tones of beeswax that earns the nation Sh. 3 billion per year”. The Premier threw the challenge when addressing key stakeholders of beekeeping sector and business people engaged in selling honey related products who gathered recently in Dar es Salaam to showcase their products during honey exhibition dubbed ‘Dar es Salaam Honey Exhibition’ the first ever to be held in the country. The Premier, after having walked round various stalls and saw for himself various qualities of honey, became so impressed by the packaging system of honey products, and hailed some local traders and urged them to maintain their status and seek for ‘TBS’ labels to certify their products in order to win trade competition at local and international markets. He told them that, the local market has been increasing year after year attracting people to use honey for different purposes and that such an increase is as a result of high demand of the product by people who currently knows the importance of the honey due to the continued sensitization of the product in the country. The occasion which was organized by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism in cooperation with Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TanTrade) and other stakeholders from beekeeping sector had been given a national status under the theme titled, “Honey for Health and Prosperity” The objective of the exhibition was to secure reliable markets for local beekeepers and their products whereby several showcases were delivered by stakeholders to show goers who were informed by exhibitors on the benefits of honey and learn about beekeeping in general.

Tanzania's Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda

They also had the opportunity to taste and buy quality honey which was on display at their stalls. In his speech, the Premier said that, there is a great demand of the locally produced honey in the international market which has been noticed to surpass the local production, giving an example in the Europe saying that it leads in using honey with approximately 25 percentage rate of all honey sold worldwide. He said in 2009, 249,700 tones which is equivalent to 54.4 percent of honey exported to Europe came from the developing countries, citing German being the leading European country for the consumption of honey. At the local level, the Premier noted that, Tanzania has maintained its local market at approximately 413.3 tones of honey which according to the prime minister is a little quantity that is not enough to cater even for the local consumption and exports as well. In view of this, he is strongly insisting for the stakeholders to increase production. Meanwhile, the PM has challenged district executives in the country from areas where beekeeping is taking place to empower youths and indigenous Tanzanians by providing them with some portions of their land forests within their respective districts which they see could be suitable for the economic development of beekeeping activities. The premier who is also a beekeeper, has urged key stakeholders to help promote the sector by following the national policy on beekeeping of 2008 which he said part of it concerns with the growth of industries related with honey materials and most important is a way to reduce poverty among young Tanzanians. However, he said that the involvement of youths in beekeeping would bring benefits to the nation as many youths who tread in towns and cities looking for better life would mind to stay in their localities and engage in the business. He has also cautioned against wanton felling of trees and other vegetations which are a good source of attraction of bees in their search of nectar from them. However, he also cautioned indiscriminate setting of fire on forests, as the act causes degradation and destroys natural resources.

Tanzania cautioned against forest destruction

AN Expert on beekeeping activity has cautioned against the continued habit of the forest destruction which results into the depletion of natural vegetations, a common habit which must be stopped in order to preserve natural vegetations for the development of beekeeping activity in the country. Then situation is as rampant as there is indiscriminate felling of trees which takes place in most natural forest reserve areas in the country which if could be controlled as in accordance with the national policy, these forests could be good source areas for the development of beekeeping and production of honey, says an expert. Speaking in an exclusive interview this week in Dar es Salaam, Ephraim Kilon who is also the Managing Director and a sole proprietor of the Mbeya based Nekta Beekeeping Technical Services Ltd, said that, Tanzania has been blessed with a vast and good natural resources whose vegetations are fit for beekeeping. He says that, despite of all these natural resources which Tanzania is blessed with, it is surprising to note that, the government does not take a keen interest to preserve the areas for the development of beekeeping which does not demand the procurement of raw materials other than creating a conducive environment for bees in order to thrive. According to him, beekeeping is a good source of income generating activity which if the government utilizes its natural forest reserves properly, is likely to increase employment to youths, and added that the beekeeping activity if given the priority it deserves would earn the country with foreign exchange reserve. As an expert he has urged fellow beekeepers to look at more safer places whereby the activity might be moving well as bees are insects which dislikes disturbances wherever they are. Unlike in Africa, in Europe there is an environmental change which takes place now and then. With the current level of development of the sector taking place in the country, he has however thanked the Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda for his initiatives which he has shown towards ensuring the beekeeping activity in the country is being promoted at all costs.

Bee experts harvesting honey from a beehive by using special protective gears.

“Tanzania is blessed with good natural resources and in addition to that, empowering policies and laws, people, as well as training for youths on the best practice of the elementary beekeeping knowledge must be given a priority set up, and by using all these resources, we can get out of poverty”, he said. However, he is on the view of the fact that since beekeeping is a special economic duty if empowered wherever necessary and made available to youths who have the greatest manpower resource capacity, the trend of trade could have been more advanced in the country.  Estimated statistics have indicated that, if there should have been 1.5 million beekeepers in the country with each one of those in possession of at least ten beehives for investment, the national revenues would have risen to Sh. 1.8 billion. Ephraim (75) who is now an entrepreneur is a retired government servant and worked for over 40 years since first employed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism in 1969 and held various posts from the district to regional level as beekeeping officer. He was first promoted to the rank of district beekeeping officer for Kasula district in 1972 and worked in the similar position for Tanga district before promoted to the rank of a regional officer for Mbeya region.  He has also ever worked outside the country on consultancy services in Botswana and the United States of America between 1980 and 1985 respectively. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has seen the need to promote the beekeeping sector in the country for this 2012/13 fiscal year. This is in a bid to implement the national policy on beekeeping of the year 1998 alongside with its law of 2001. In order to implement this, the Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Lazaro Myalandu said recently that, the government trough his ministry has planned to buy 5,000 beehives and distribute them to beekeepers surrounding forest reserve areas in the country. According to him, the government is underway to promote beekeeping activities among the youths in all districts in the country as one way to promote the activity which has gained a much faster pace for the national economy. In addition to that, the ministry is underway to increase experts in beekeeping so as to have enough of them in the country.

Ministry’s bill to review SSRA law on retirement benefits not yet ready

THE bill which was proposed by the Ministry of Labor, Youth and Employment with a view to stop an impeaching law passed by the Social Security Regulatory Authority (SSRA) that workers contributing for the pension funds will not be allowed to withdraw their benefits until they attain retirement age, is yet to be released by the ministry. The bill which was expected to be submitted to the Parliament this November during debate sessions as earlier promised in previous Parliamentary sessions in July this year, is being worked upon, the Deputy Minister for labor Dr. Makongoro Mahanga said recently in Dar es Salaam. He said his ministry was busy with other schedules and that, they couldn’t get enough time to go through the various proposals over the matter and assured that a draft on the bill might be finalized by February next  year. “We are still working on the proposal after which we shall collect people’s views over the matter which would be done in public and people would be given opportunity to participate and come out with their views” he said adding that, basing on people’s views, the ministry would be in a position to issue a comprehensive bill for presentation in Parliament upon its completion. The Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) which has been anxiously following the matter more closely since its announcement by SSRA in April this year, was puzzled and later calmed down over the matter waiting to see how the ministry would work on it. Speaking in an exclusive interview, TUCTA’s Secretary General, Nicolaus Mgaya said over the phone that, they have sent a 12 paged report on recommendations to the Ministry over the matter to see for the implementation of the issue to their workers, but to their dismay have been informed to wait till all is settled.

The Deputy Minister for Labour and Youth Employment Dr. Makongoro Mahanga being interviewed by two local television channels including TBC a national electronic media.

“We are not so much worried about the slow pace of the bill as promised by the Ministry, but are still waiting for the final draft as a promise is a debt”, he said adding that, Tanzania workers are very much anxious to know about the development of the issue as it is very sensitive on the part of their rights of benefits. Following the recent announcement by the fund’s regulatory Authority, many interviewed workers were of the opinion that the policy change would disrupt their life plans because they had expectations that once they somehow get out of job, they would use the money to support their families. Current levels of payment coupled with the prevailing economic hardships have caused a good number of workers to live as if they were unemployed as they increasingly find themselves unable to meet their basic needs. Critics on the issue have noted that, because most workers receive very low salaries and the majorities have been noticed to have shorter contracts with their employers, the culture of saving on their own is almost non-existent. Therefore in view of this, most workers have to object and work against the idea which they know might cause danger on the part of their life. “Could it be that everybody knows exactly the day of his/her death, then they could have been in a position to retain their dues without problem” said one contributor Athumani Ally who works with the Dar es Salaam based Azam Bakery Ltd and a regular contributor of the NSSF fund who was once shocked by the announcement with anger. According to SSRA’s Director General Irene Isaka, members would not be allowed to withdraw benefits any time they quit from their jobs until and unless they attain either the voluntary retirement age of 55 or mandatory age of 60 years. She noted, however, that workers leaving their jobs prematurely have a chance of engaging in other economic activities and advised them to continue being members of the respective social security funds until they qualified for the old-age pension. But workers argue that given the current high unemployment rate in the country, it’s not going to be easy to secure another job in a short time. The labour market is nowadays highly competitive. More than one million new job seekers enter the labour market every year, and only a fraction of them gets absorbed. They argued further that not all people quitting or being made to quit from their jobs may be interested to find employment elsewhere, some may opt to venture into some kind of business, and it would not be right to force them to do otherwise. At the moment Tanzania has six pension funds namely National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Parastatal Pensions Fund (PPF) Government Employee Provident Fund (GEPF), Local Authorities Provident Fund (LAPF), National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF).