Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Revitalize teachers’ training courses, says Dr. Mengi

THE Government has been urged to revitalize further teachers’ training courses with a view of meeting the increasing demand for qualified teachers in both primary and secondary school education levels in the country.  The IPP Executive Chairman Dr. Reginald Mengi gave the concern in Dar es Salaam on Friday night during the launching of a book titled, “The bird that sings my name” which has been compiled by a Tanzanian lady called Edna Lyatuu Hogan. He said among the basic factors that leads to students’ mass failures as recently announced in the country is due to the fact that, they were not prepared enough to do well in their final exams a factor he added is mostly exacerbated by teachers who are not well trained. Dr. Mengi is on the view of the fact that, a teacher of any level who is not well trained is unable under whatever circumstances to be in a position to teach students acquire quality education as required, in view of this he has urged the government to review educational training curriculum for better quality. However, he said adding that, for a country to develop it must have skilled people for specific areas of sectoral development in order to manage their economic development projects, contrary to that, such a nation would always be incurring losses in its own resources. He reiterated his call on the education system in the country and noted that, needs to be changed to prepare stakeholders in the market and warned that, if precautions are not taken by now to revert the trend, then the nation shall have no experts in future to run its resources. “If we do not have education, we shall yield nothing out of the recently discovered natural gas because of ignorance as most Tanzanians will never even know how contracts have been entered by their leaders” he said.  In view of this factor, he has urged also to take long time in order to train local experts with good reputation and quality education. In this, he has also noted that students must be prepared much earlier enough in order to build a firm foundation for  Apart from teachers’’ training for quality education, Dr. Mengi also talked of the infrastructure such as teaching materials such as books and remunerations for teachers in the country which he said is extremely poor and does not value the status of teachers in the country compared to other countries in the world, he gave an example of Finland which he said their teachers are highly paid. 

Dr. Reginald Mengi displaying the book after he had launched it.

The launching of the book went alongside with the fundraising work aimed to sponsor some secondary schools in the country with copies of the book and computer machines to be used for educational purposes, whereby Dr. Mengi pledged to buy copies worth Sh. 51 million to be distributed to 30 secondary schools in the country including a school named after his name Reginald Mengi Secondary School located on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam city. Others among the attendants were Jenerali Ulimwengu, a veteran Tanzanian journalist who made his pledge of copies worth Sh. 1.7 million for Julius Kambarage Nyerere Secondary school in Dar esc Salaam. In his speech he reiterated the same call of the education downfall in the country and called upon Tanzanians to develop the habit of reading books and learn other things as a sole means of survival. He gave examples of the people in some countries in the world especially in far East such as Japan, India, Indonesia, Korea and Malaysia whom he said could be seen reading books or newspapers even while are travelling on a congested commuter trains in their countries. Describing reading habits, Ulimwengu noted that to get a wider knowledge people reads extensively in order to understand various concepts but not just to answer questions in the case of some scholars. In view of this, he has thrown a challenge to develop an in-depth mindset in reading for understanding.  Others who made their pledge on the spot is the Director of Baobab Secondary school in Dar es Salaam Ambassador Halfan Swai who bought copies for his school and for the Chakiwata Orphanage Centre school located at Sinza in Dar es Salaam, and the Director of the Amani Orphanage Centre at Mto wa Mbu in Arusha city who bought copies of books worth Sh. 50,000/- only. According to the author, a 130 paged book which is full of collections of poems has a theme that brings positive impact to the life of Tanzanians and the outside world. It has an interesting story of human emotion which is true to human life.

Anxiety grows as mobile phone operators fears to lose customers on Sim card tax

AS the wrangle over the imposition of Sh. 1,000 tax on Sim card that was recently introduced by the government on its 2013/14 budget is still going on, credible sources in the telecom industry have said that, the blessings on the tax will make them lose customers during their operational services. Speaking in an exclusive interview  some mobile phone operating companies have said that, very few customers will manage to pay the tax as most mobile phone users especially rural customers hardly could afford to purchase airtime vouchers for their cell phones.  Giving the statistics from their customers’ database reports and their ability to make daily calls for communication, some have revealed that, there are customers who stay for about three months without buying airtime voucher  while some are unable to make calls through and instead rely on beeping. In view of this, they wonder as to how could they manage to pay the introduced monthly fee of Sh. 1,000/- and yet most Tanzanians especially those living in rural areas are faced with poverty,  an anonymous source from Vodacom the leading mobile phone company in the country queried.According to the source, 48 percent of the total country’s population are registered mobile phone users which is equivalent to about 22 million Tanzanians. Out of this, however the source maintains that, only 8 million people are able to maintain their cell phones in terms of buying airtime vouchers and make calls. The available statistics verifies the fact that the remaining 14 million phone subscribers are risk to deregistration due to their inability to pay the tax as per the finance Act 2013. “This will be a great loss to mobile companies” they stressed and appealed that, the government should review the Act in order to save their customers. However, they have also noted that, the introduction of tax on Sim cards will retard the development and growth of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector for which they are spearing in the country as many people are likely to skip due to high taxation. They have further noted that, the establishment of the mobile companies in the country was to revamp the communications sector with a view to explore the sector and enable people communicate at a cheapest rate. They are on the view of the fact that, the imposition of numerous levies is likely to prevent other people from joining the communication sector as prospective customers would all the time be thinking of finding ways on how to pay the tax. On Tuesday this week, President Jakaya Kikwete directed telecom firms, the treasury and the ministry of Communication, Science and Technology to resolve the on-going wrangle and had requested members of the Mobile Operators’ Association of Tanzania (MOAT) to look for a solution on how to settle the Sh. 178 billion tax to be charged if the proposal to scrap off tax on Sim card would be accepted by the government. The President noted that, it was impossible to drop the tax without finding optional sources of revenues to cover the deficit in the budget and the finance Act that has already been enacted. The President’s call came five days after the mobile firm’s top officials met with the Finance Minister Dr. William Mgimwa whereby he promised mobile operators that, the government would consider their recommendations over the review of the tax. Prior to the meeting, the MOAT members had sent a letter to Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) as they were puzzled by some changes included in the finance Act 2013 and claimed about application, practicability and challenges they face in implementing the new Act. Together with the tax on Sim cards, the Act also introduced 10 percent withholding tax on commission paid to mobile money agents but the operators claimed as it is grouped in different categories. MOAT’s spokesperson Sylvia Balwire declined to make further comments when contacted on Thursday, and instead she sent a message which was relayed by unidentified lady at a customer care counter in her office who told the writer of this news to contact the State House. Meanwhile, the survey by the Guardian carried in all five mobile operating companies accredited in the country has established that, none of the companies have v started to charge their customers the said amount which they expect it to deduct from the amount of airtime Sh. 33.40 per day. The companies are Vodacom, Zantel, Tigo, Airtel and TTCL Mobile

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lack of cyber laws causes difficulties to probe cyber crime

An expert lawyer has said that, lack of cyber crime has been causing difficulties in prosecuting criminal cases involving theft which of recent have been reported to have occurred in some banks’ Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the country. Adam Mambi who has specialized in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) said in an exclusive interview in Dar es Salaam yesterday in a one day seminar of the National Internet Governance Forum (NIGF) which was organized by the Union of Tanzania Press Clubs (UTPC). Mambi who was among the key speakers said that, Tanzania needs to have Policy and law to define and provide a framework for operation and enforcement of legally-accepted cyber activities in the country.  He said there are so many challenges facing the ICT sector in relation to cyber crime activities citing lack of international contract under which Tanzania cannot enter with another country which can help if applied would lead to the arrest of conmen who practices their mischief and tampers with the ATM machines even when they are outside the country. In order to minimize the increased wave of crimes in this sector, education is of the prime importance, he said adding that, through education Tanzanians might be enlightened for defensive purposes so as to make them become knowledgeable with ICT technological applications.  He insisted on education when asked to verify what methods should there be used in order to control the increased cyber crime and how to arrest the perpetrators tools, in reply he noted that, there should be maintained secrecy among users of the ATMs to facilitate banking services. One method he insisted is through education as each bank customer has the right to be enlightened on the impending dangers while signing a contract with the bank to access their services therein. However, he said and noted that, it has been discovered that, there are some cases which are caused due to negligence and carelessness of the customers themselves an aspect t which makes their pin code numbers comes to be known by friends or relatives who are not trusted and in turn betrays them. The seminar which discussed in general ICT for national development had a focus on the use of ICT tools such as mobile phones, internet and computers  in fostering various sectoral developments at local and international level. Earlier, the Director of Computer Services at te Institute of Finance Management Dr. James Yonazi commented that,  Tanzania needs to have a law on Data protection which would restrict the intervention of the communications through cell phones. However, he noted that, the increased wave of cyber crime in the country would be stopped or otherwise be minimized if users would communicate faithfully and report immediately any suspected cross cutting information to police cyber crime unit. He outlined various challenges facing the ICT sector which includes the children having access to pornography pictures in the network, he warned that if care and education is not given in larger spectrum, there would be a deterioration of a role model. Meanwhile, the Consulting Engineer and Director of ICTs in the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology, Dr. Zaipuna Yohan, warns that it is high time for the country to acclimatize the technology era and that includes creating legal frameworks to govern its use. Dr. Zaipuna gave his concern in a recent National ICT forum  in Dar es Salaam and noted that, while cyber crimes and other related on-line activities in Tanzania pose a significant threat, existing Tanzanian laws do not recognize many cyber space crimes. Highlighted is theft through Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), un- authorized online posting of personal information and creation of country disorder through online interception and revealing of government secret information and the posting of false accusations against government operations and leadership.  Detailing, Dr Yohan revealed that pursuant to the aforementioned facts, a need exists to have a new set of legislations that will address and advocate the ongoing cyber criminal activities.  The proposed set of legislations will cover Electronic Transactions and E-commerce, Cyber and Computer systems and also provide the Privacy and Data Protection Act. Dr. Yohan said that legislations will help define the laws, create governing bodies for cyber operation on the identified cyber areas and/or add roles to the current controlling bodies to govern the new cyber issues.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Lipumba held talks with JK at State House

Civic United Front national Chairman Professor Ibrahim Lipumba yesterday held private talks with President Jakaya Kikwete at State House in Dar es Salaam. Among the most crucial matters the opposition leader discussed with the President are how to maintain peace in Mtwara region, an highlight on the recent visit by US President Barack Obama, and the Millennium Challenge account. Speaking in a telephone interview yesterday in Dar es Salaam Professor Lipumba said that, he advised the President to ensure that, the issue of Mtwara residents as related to the issue of the construction of a gas pipeline should be solved amicably between the two parties. He said that, he advised the government that the people of Mtwara needs to be clarified  over the matter and that, force should not be used as this is not a lasting solution to end their queries over the issue.

President Jakaya Kikwete in talks with the National Chairman of the Opposition Civic United Front (CUF), Professor Ibrahim Lipumba at State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday. 

 However, he said and added that, the government should be transparent and use peaceful way of the political means to put awareness of the matter to residents who needs to be clarified through various sources of information in order to make the angry citizens know the importance of the project in general. Other matters he said are the various steps through which the US government has been donating their assistance through millennium challenge account on the targeted projects. According to him, he advised the government to ensure that, the account is increased to let other projects are financed through the account. Professor Lipumba made a visit in Southern region of Mtwara since early this month to see for himself various development projects taking place in the region and the to see the various aftermaths caused as a result of the recent chaos that erupted in defiance to government plans of constructing a gas pipeline to Dar es Salaam.

Africa’s trade links with other continents is down-says the report

THE share of the intra-African trade has fallen from 22.4 per cent in 1997 to 11.3 per cent in 2011, the report issued by United Nations on Economic development for Africa 2013 has said. According to the report, even accounting for significant informal cross-border trade that isn’t captured by statistics, that percentage is well below other regions, such as Asia, where the average share of intraregional exports in total exports from 2007 through 2011 was 50 per cent, and Europe, where it was 70 per cent. The report first issued on 11th July this year, was launched yesterday in Dar es Salaam and in colourful ceremony which was attended by academicians, economists, development stakeholders, civil society institutions and two key professional speakers. The two speakers were the Executive Chairman of the IPP companies Dr. Reginald Mengi accompanied by the Chairman of the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) Dr. Felix Mosha both of whom delivered their presentations. The report is quoted as saying that, if Africa does not take serious steps to improve its economies by now, in some years coming an increased demand for goods in the continent will be filled by foreign competitors from Europe and Asia. The report subtitled Intra-African Trade: Unlocking Private Sector Dynamism, says that efforts to date to spur jointly reinforcing economic growth on the continent have relied on a “textbook” and “linear” approach to regional cooperation that does not fit with Africa’s situation. However, the report suggests that African countries should adopt a new approach to regional integration, referred to as “developmental regionalism” which encompasses cooperation among countries in a broader range of areas than just trade. 

Executive Chairman of IPP, Dr. Reginald Mengi, and the Chairman of the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI), Felix Mosha, (R), launch the United Nation’s 2013 Economic Development Report titled “Intra-African trade; Unlocking Private Sector Dynamism” at the Centre for Foreign Relations, Kurasini in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Looking on the left is the Centre’s Acting Director, Dr. Bernard Achiule. 

The report has mentioned trade facilitation, to include – for example – investment, research and development, as well as policies aimed at accelerating regional industrial development and regional infrastructure provision, such as the building of better networks of roads and railways. The report further notes that, African governments are embarked on a major campaign to reduce trade barriers between the continent’s countries, but while doing this, they had better take vigorous measures to boost their private sectors, a new UNCTAD report warns, or the gains from this streamlined trading system will benefit foreign firms more than African firms. Commenting his views about the report on the Tanzanian context, The Executive Chairman of the IPP group, Dr. Reginald Mengi noted in his views presented that, failure to better achievements on trade development and other  projects have been exacerbated by continued grand corruption in the country. Dr. Mengi has once again reiterated his call on grand corruption saying that, if the government will not tackle the malpractice, the move will continue to impede trade development links between Tanzania and outside countries. Tanzania needs to effectively control grand corruption which he said is growing highly an aspect that it haunts the minds of trade development stakeholders including small scale entrepreneurs. He said that a nation cannot develop if it’s not engaged in the fight over grand corruption, driving his points for the case of Tanzania he further noted that, the growing phenomenon has become a thorn to the development of trade and other sectors in general. Elaborating more in this, he gave an example of the recently passed national budget of Sh. 18 trillion which he says 80 percent of the money has been allocated top cater for public procurement and out of these between 20 and 30 percent of the money are taken into pockets of few individuals whom he termed as coordinators of the move. However, he noted that, the amount of money stolen about Sh. 3 trillion is equivalent for the budget of three ministries. In addition to these, the malpractice is exacerbated by bad performance reports of some institutions such as Railways, Harbours and Tanesco. “You cannot establish trade links within the environment of corruption and in view of this, Tanzania needs to fight the vice in order to unlock the opportunities”, he said adding that, Tanzania cannot talk of peace if corruption is growing at an alarming rate. He added that, wherever there is no peace trade cannot flourish, this is the biggest enemy and wondered why an institution which stands for Prevention and Combating Corruption in the country is not mentioned in the recently issued a draft of the national constitution review. Earlier, the Chairman of the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) Dr. Felix Mosha presented the findings of the report, before its official inauguration and outlined three major impediments which he said were constraining trade development in Africa continent. Lack of electricity, poor road and railways infrastructures and poor technological innovations, lack of reliable markets are among the major setbacks which lags behind the trade development in Africa.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tanzania named among five illicit drug looters in SADC region

TANZANIA has been named among five countries within SADC region to involve in illegal business of illicit drug trafficking, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Benard Membe said yesterday in Dar es Salaam.  Membe said during a brief of the 15th meeting of the Ministerial Committee Organ (MCO) responsible for Defense and Security Cooperation within SADC region which ended yesterday in the city noting that these are among the matters discussed during the whole day’s meeting session. He named other countries as Mozambique, South Africa, Angola and Namibia which he said are using their harbors and airports to facilitate the trade which is growing at an alarming rate across SADC region.  However, he said adding that, the MCO members have asked defense and the security department concerned of the respective member states to beef up security in order to ward off the escalating illegal trade within the region.  In the meantime, members of the meeting have also directed Namibia which is expected to chair the organ meeting next year to assume its responsibility as a country chair of the organ in September this year.  A closed door meeting drew participants from 14 SADC member countries that included ministers for defense, security and foreign affairs who met to discuss two major issues associated with defense and security in their respective countries. Among other agendas are the long standing and unsolved issues of the rebel fighters in eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the issue of Zimbabwe’s general election and the Madagascar political tensions. With the DRC’s political situation, Membe said that Tanzania has been hailed by member states for its firm commitment it has shown since it sent its peace keeping forces to the troubled regions of the Eastern part of the DRC country. However, he said adding that, the member states have commended the job and asked Tanzania to continue their stay.  He further noted that Tanzania has been selected to lead SADC observer mission during general election scheduled to take place in Zimbabwe end of this month.  

 He elaborated that,  50 Tanzania member delegation team including himself will leave for Zimbabwe early next week to take charge in the mission and after which they will be joined together with other 500 election observers across SADC region. However, he further noted that, as concerns with the Zimbabwe, the MCO committee members have assured Zimbabweans and the rest of the world that they shouldn’t worry anything about the elections as they expect it to be free and fair. For Madagascar’s long political tension, the MCO members have commended that, as the country’s democratic elections was scheduled t be held in July this year, now it will not take place owing to the fact that, the current President who is in power has violated the resolutions agreed last year under which he was required not to contest for the Presidential election. Following his decision, Membe noted that the African Unity member countries have boycotted the election and added that, the European Union has refused to fund the election. In view of this, however, he said adding that, due to his disobedience, the SADC member states have stopped the election. Mean while, the Executive Secretary of the SADC, Dr. Tomas Salomao said in an exclusive interview after the meeting that, the decision to increase military forces to help keep peace in DRC is still there as the rebel groups are increasing now and then. However, he s aid that, in a shortest time, the Malawian government is expected to deploy its forces soon to join fellow Tanzanian troupes by end f August this year in order to end up political impulse and bring the situation into normal. Other matters in discussion were the application filed by Angola which has asked to join the United Nations Security council since next year.