Saturday, May 25, 2013

EAC negotiations for a Monetary Union to be ready by 2023, says Sitta

THE idea by the East African Community (EAC) member states of having a common momentary coin to be used as a means of exchange within the regional bloc is not yet in place by now, The Minister for East Africa Cooperation Samwel Sitta said in Parliament on Friday this week.  Minister Sitta made a clarification when he was tabling his ministry’s budget estimates of income and expenditure for 2013/14 financial year and noted that, his ministry continues to coordinate and lead the negotiations of the Protocol for the establishment of the East African Monetary Union. He told the house that, the negotiations are at the final stages adding that, a road map towards the establishment of a Monetary Union has been prepared. However, he said that according to a road map, fundamental requirements for the Monetary Union will be finalized within ten years’ time from now after entering into force of the protocol, adding that, the purpose of this road map is to ensure that the foundations for the Monetary Union are established for a smooth implementation of the Monetary Union.  He further noted that, key issues outlined in the road map towards the establishment of Monetary Union include the establishment of a fully fledged Customs Union and Common market, harmonization of related policies and laws to enable the attainment of the agreed macroeconomic convergence criteria, and the establishment of important institutions for the implementation of Monetary Union. The partner states have agreed on the criteria of Macroeconomic convergence which will enable the community to determine the readiness of the partner states to join the Monetary Union and to monitor the progress of implementation.   He outlined the agreed criteria like the inflation rate of not exceeding 8 percent, budget deficit including grants of not more than 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (DGP), National debt of not more than 50 percent of the GDP, and foreign currency reserves to cover a ;period of four and half months. During the 14th summit   held in November 2012, the EAC Heads of State received the recommendations and draft of the modal structure federation of East Africa , the road map for the implementation of the recommendations from the team of experts tasked to identify the fears, challenges and concerns  towards the establishment of the political federation, and road map for the establishment of key institutions for the implementation of the initial stages of the integration, namely the customs union, common market and the Monetary Union . The Heads of State directed that the model of the political federation and the road maps be submitted to the partner states for their consultations, consultations are going on.

Why speaker Makinda defends the government through National Assembly

SPEAKER of the National Assembly Ann e Makinda has reiterated her commitments to continue defending the house standing orders saying that they have been imposed not only to keep going parliamentary debate procedures, but also to make sure that, the Parliament being a supreme legislative house in the country plays its role to defend the welfare of the government in power. Her call was monitored this week on Monday evening when addressing Members of Parliament during the resumption of the normal sessions after she had suspended the morning sessions due to contravention of laws that governs the house procedures. The suspension of the morning sessions came into being following the speech by the opposition camp which she said had some quotations in pages from 2 to 14 which was full of sedition, thus noting that the paragraphs were shaming the government’s dignity. A 54 paged speech which was being read by a Shadow Minister and a legislator of Mbeya urban (Chadema) Joseph .O.  Mbilinyi popularly known as ‘Sugu’ when contributing to the budget estimates for the Ministry of Information, Youths, Culture and Sports, and to the surprise of most Parliamentarians it was stopped abruptly. She said that, the National Parliament is an institution which must stand to defend all government’s directives in everything possible as it is responsible to make sure that the national peace is attained at every cost among people of the United Republic of Tanzania. Ironically, critics have it to say that speech by the opposition camp was somehow humiliating and sometimes interesting as in one way or another, it highlighted major issues that journalists have been facing numerous problems while executing their duties, and more painful it reminded media stakeholders of their fallen heroes such as David Mwangosi who died while on duty. The speech also quoted some government’s leaders who are involved in inciting people into causing chaos. It also described some issues such as the government’s involvement in kidnapping journalists and torturing them without a cause. More painful to the government is when the opposition legislators mentioned in the report that, the government should be blamed for its failure to protect journalists saying the country has been mentioned in the list of shameful nations where journalism is taken as a dangerous profession for those who uses  it as employment. However, these were the factors which had angered speaker Makinda who immediately could not allow the report be continued in Parliament and claimed that, according to the house standing orders, any issues which have been tendered in court seeking legal action, should not be debated upon in parliament. She cautioned however in contradiction as this is against the house rules, an aspect which later on she ordered the Parliamentary ethical committee members to sit down and review the report with a view to omit unnecessary quotations which are a threat to the safety of the government. The call by Anne Makinda brought confusion among legislators from the opposition camp who seemed to have been annoyed by what was clarified by her when interviewed by this paper and said that, are not ready to be suppressed in every movements that is linked to spearheading democracy which governs freedom of expression.

Opposition camp requests EA Court of justice to intervene Kinana’s issue

THE Opposition camp has called on the Court Prosecutor for East African Court of Justice to open criminal charges against CCM party Secretary General Abdulhaman Kinana whom they accuse to have been involved in cross border illegal elephant tusks business. The Parliament was informed here yesterday. Contributing to the budget estimates for the ministry of East African Cooperation for 2013/14 financial year, a spokesperson in the opposition camp for the ministry who is also shadow minister Ezekiah Wenje (Chadema) said in his speech which was read on his behalf by Raya Ibrahim (Chadema) special seat that, the CCM top official is a shipping agent of the ship which was found to have hauled illegal elephant tusks in Vietnam in 2009. The call by the opposition camp is endorsed in their 18 paged speeches, in which they have claimed also that, the government which is being led by CCM party plays foul over the matter by speaking in favour of their party’s top most official instead of investigating the matter into details and gather enough evidences. Their speech has also quoted the Minister for Home Affairs Dr. Emmanuel Nchimbi who earlier said that a case No. 3 and 4 of the year 2009 which was opened at Kisutu Resident Magistrate Court had been suspended ever since due to the fact that Tanzania had not entered into a contract of exchanging criminals with the government of Vietnam. However, Dr. Nchimbi was contributing his views during the budget estimates for the ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources which was tabled in Parliament on 30th April 2013 over three weeks ago. He said that, there were no evidences to be tendered before the court. This is the second time the opposition camp in parliament proclaims the involvement of a  CCM top most Secretary General to be among the list of the secret networks of businessmen who directly are involved in illegal global business of elephant tusks. Quoting the opposition camp speech on page 14 which says that, as for Tanzania government seems to be defending and protecting their cadre and speaks in favor of him, and as long as a great number of elephants in national parks among EAC member states face gradual imminent extinction now and then, an aspect which denies revenues in EAC regional states. The Chairperson of the opposition camp wanted to know, what action the Tanzania government takes in order to curb with the increased poaching activities whereby about 600 elephants are indiscriminately killed in our national parks per month. The statistics shows that every day 30 elephants are slaughtered by illegal poaching. As related with the same issue, the opposition camp also wanted to know what steps has the government taken in order to communicate with the Burundian government so as to establish the true fact about the container which was caught full of elephant tusks in China. The views by the opposition camp have created uncertainty with the facts that, probably the arrested container might have been passed through Dar es Salaam port since Burundi is a landlocked country, therefore there is a great possibility for it to have been organized its passage secret security agents through Dar port. They have questioned the government what steps have they taken as part of the implementation of the strategic plan to dominate peace and security within EAC member states.

 

Furious legislators slams the government over Mtwara mayhem

SOM E legislators most of whom from the opposition camp have urged the government not to use force in order to calm down the irate Mtwara residents who went on rampage mid this week in protest against the government’s insistence to construct gas pipeline. Instead, they have advised the government to use other means such as peaceful talks that should be a better standing point in order to restore peace among some Mtwara residents who have shown their disappointment over the construction of a gas pipeline.  The legislators echoed their voices on Thursday this week after the National Assembly was forced to adjourn prematurely its normal morning sessions following a crisis that had erupted in Mtwara town in which people said to be protesting the government’s plan to construct a 532 Km gas pipeline from the region to Dar es Salaam clashed with anti-riot police. In an exclusive interview with The Guardian here on Thursday morning at Parliament grounds, some legislators have suggested that, force used by the police to settle the matter is not a solution but rather is likely to ignite the situation which might spread all over the country. They said that, the government had enough time to take precautions over the matter amid early warning when the situation erupted for the first time in last year and resumed in early January this year. The timeframe was enough to educate the people, says Tundu Lissu a legislator for Singida East (Chadema). He says that, the government should arrange peaceful talks with the residents including their leaders in order to educate them thoroughly about the issue instead of using unnecessary force being applied by the police thinking that would help solve the matter. However, he said the use of force might escalate and sow some seeds of discords among peace loving Tanzanians.  “This is an issue which has developed anger with some people who have a grudge with the government after having failed to give them special attention as they deserve for long time, and is not politically motivated”. He said adding that, in order to listen to their grievances have to be calmed down through peaceful talks. He also noted that, the government should work on their people’s views to see what they need to be done for them bearing in mind the logical factors of the background history that, the southern regions of Mtwara and Lindi are lagging behind in terms of economic development since independence. The Minister for East Africa Cooperation Samwel Sitta, in his comments has said that, Mtwara residents should not worry about their fate which he said would be benefiting with the presence of the gas once it starts operations. The government has assured them of the establishment of a cement factory and a fertilizer both of which would create employment opportunities to the people in the southern regions, whereby preparations of the construction for the installation of a 300 MW electricity power plant is underway in Mtwara town and this will be able to supply power through in other regions of Ruvuma. He further noted that, all these developments intended for them are not going at a go but have to be moved slowly by slowly as they are long term planed, and in view of this, they shouldn’t worry about them for any case. He has also urged the government through the ministry of Energy and Minerals to concentrate on their idea of educating the people about the whole project as all plans are within the government’s strategic plans for the 2013/14 financial year. Freeman Mbowe, a leader of the opposition camp in Parliament said that, the problem of Mtwara people is associated with the government who are primarily to look for the lasting peaceful solution. He however opposed the use of force as not being a sole means to end up the escalating problem. He said the involvement of all human rights, religious institutions and civil societies is necessary and an open up gear towards the attainment of peace in the region, however, he added that, the use of force is not a solution to end the problem and that the government should take appropriate steps at this time when it’s at infancy stage. He has suggested the government should use other means by incorporating political parties as this is a national issue which needs to be incorporated with all political parties bearing in mind the fact that, ‘[we are all Tanzanians irrespective of our parties’ affiliations’. However, he noted that, legislators must be shown the already contracts entered by the government in gas project and be open to law makers otherwise, he cautioned that, the government would continue being harassed as it doesn’t want to be transparent. Aden Rage (CCM) Tabora urban noted that, the on-going Mtwara crisis is being instigated by some few crook politicians whom he described to have no mercy and are trying by all means possible to make their mischief pass through. However, he noted that these are trying to sabotage the economy in one way or another and has urged Tanzanians not to entertain such indifferences. He added that, big corrupt political elements are against the country’s development seeking an opportunity to feed up their positions for the sake of their selfishness. However, he has urged the government to bring closer the people of Mtwara into a mutual of understanding to solve the matter for the welfare of the nation. John Cheyo, an MP for Bariadi East (UDP) has blamed the government to have not taken drastic measures to curb with the crisis, despite the Minister for Home Affairs Dr. Emmanuel Nchimbi issued an early warning last week before the budget speech for the Ministry of Energy was tabled in Parliament. He said that, all these are caused due to negligence shown by the police force which they think that the use of force would yield a lasting solution, but rather it would create grudge among the people.He has also urged the people of Mtwara not to panic as the sale of gas is not yet started and once is through, then they would also benefit a lot. He also noted that, the transfer of the gas should not worry them as the government is doing this for the biggest users are in Dar es Salaam including industries which use higher electricity power capacity for industrial production.  James Mbatia, a nominated MP for NCCR-Mageuzi said that, the nation needs to change its environment and the capacity of thinking when it comes to the issue of disaster management into solving any people’s crisis in the society. He noted that, the government and other institutions in the country should sit around into solving  a  table for conciliation to solve the issue of Mtwara residents and the must use . For the Parliament to suspend its sessions administratively was correct as it is an apex institution which has an overall control of the government in power. Tabling his budget estimates for 2013/2014 in Dodoma which sought 1.1trn/- “to revolutionize power provision in the country”, Energy and Minerals minister Prof Sospeter Muhongo told the House that there was no way the government could back down on implementing the Mtwara-to-Dar es Salaam gas pipeline project, which is widely associated with popular discontent leading to the mayhem.
“The project is under way and the government will not halt the project as it is meant for the development of the Mtwara Region and the country at large. The architectural designs as well as the compensation plan for 3,094 people required to give way to the project have been done,” he said.

Muhongo defends STAMICO against small miners, clarifies the issue of Buhemba gold mine

THE Minister for Energy and Minerals Professor Sospeter Muhongo yesterday dismissed claims that, the National State Mining Corporation (STAMICO) has monopolized mining areas earlier set for small scale local miners in some mining sites in the country. Professor Muhongo made a clarification when he was responding a query by Simanjiro legislator Christopher Ole Sendeka (CCM) who wanted to know reasons why the national state corporation has taken away mining areas which had been set aside for small scale miners in the country as per the revised mining Act of 2010. Ole Sendeka was contributing to the ministry’s budget estimates for the 2013/14 financial year which he said has outlined little benefits for small scale miners from their mining sites. However, Ole Sendeka is on the view of the fact that the government does not value small scale miners in most mining sites in the country. He demanded a clarification from the minister giving examples in his Simanjiro constituency there were areas which are rich in Tanzanite and Ruby gemstones and that these mining areas had been agreed that they should be given to the small scale miners to operate, but unknowingly the ministry does not give a maximum cooperation to solve their woes.     Giving another example of what happened on Wednesday this week at the Buhemba gold mine site when small scale miners confronted with the STAMICO officials who had removed away small miners from their places originally placed. Minister Prof. Muhongo clarified the issue by saying that, STAMICO were legally operating in the area as it was still holding a valid licenses and that, since the Act was revised they were holding such licenses which according to the law was impossible to snatch them unless legal procedures could be followed. Responding to the query, however, the minister said that, he had already consulted the Chairman of the leader of the security of Buhemba small miners and told him to have already allocated his group to another area to continue with their operations as usual. Earlier, Ole Sendeka urged the government to listen to the irate Mtwara residents who went on rampage in protest over the constriction of a 542 Km gas pipeline from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam mid this week, and also has urged all residents to sit down and air out their grievances and see how these would be solved instead of going on streets for nothing. Contributing on Buhemba issue of small miners, an MP for Musoma rural Nimrod Mkono has expressed his disappointment over what the government has not done to the people surrounding the Buhemba gold mine which he said the preceding investors had polluted the environment with chemicals which have resulted deaths to livestock and some people have lost their lives. He named the Meremeta company after completing its operations in the area, had left some chemicals which have scattered all over the sources of people’s livelihood causing poisons which he said has left many hazards which are affecting his people up to now. He said that, after consulted with the government officials, they sent a team of experts who came to investigate the matter and see the situation in mining site but still the situation is has improved yet. In view of this, he was pleading for the government to take severe actions to remedy the situation. Earlier when contributing to the budget for the ministry, Lolesia Bukwimba (CCM) said that, the government should direct its efforts to look at the welfare of the small miners as they need more capital to invest their businesses. However, she said that, harassing them is a way to cause problem with them.On the rural electrification process, legislators have called on the government to hasten rural electrification in order to save the majority of Tanzanians whose areas are still in darkness.  Contributing to the budget, most legislators have called on the government to increase the money to increase a money set for Rural Energy Agency (REA) so that it might facilitate the rural electrification process for the people in rural areas. Contributing to the budget estimates for the 2013/14 financial year, the legislators Devota Likokola (CCM) and Lucy Mahenge (CCM) have urged the government to concentrate more in rural electrification in order to speed up rural economic development. They have noted that, the amount of Sh. 150bn/ for set for the rural electrification projects throughout the country is not enough to run all the projects in the country which according to the statistics by the ministry proves that, electricity in rural areas has covered only 2 percent. William Ngeleja (CCM) has urged the government to continue supllying iuts electricity in mostly economically viable areas so that the people in those areas might increase production. However, he has thanked the goivesrnment for what it has done forv the last one year whereby the inflation rate has reduced to currently 9 ;percent from 18.9 percent it had for the last 12 monthgs.

Media bill to be tabled during the next Parliamentary session

AT Last the government has agreed to bring in discussion its Media Services Bill which for long time has been in discussion without implementation, the Parliament was told on Tuesday this week. The Minister for Information, Youths, Culture and Sports, Dr. Fenella Mukandara assured Parliamentarians that, her office is finalizing with the media stakeholders in the country on certain aspects as regards with the issue which she said would afterwards be tabled during the 12th Parliamentary sessions to be held in November this year.  The call by the minister came after some legislators most of whom from the opposition camp wanted to know the process of present legislation governing media to be amended in the house because  it is outdated and it gives the minister too much power. The legislators had questioned and complained that, the legislation had been shelved for a long time and wanted the government to state clearly its plans and strategies in protecting journalists in the country. They made it open that, the two media services bills which includes freedom of information and the Newspaper Act of 1976 have denied journalists freedom of expression an aspect that it has put their profession at a crossroad. They noted that the Newspaper Act has directly empowered a minister for information at his or her own accord to suspend the publication of a newspaper in the country, and insisted that is outdated as it was enacted during one party system during first phase government. Contributing to the budget estimates of the ministry which was passed on Tuesday this week, Cecilia Pereso (Chadema-Special seat) said that Tanzania journalists have been facing a number of challenges while executing their jobs and have been experiencing hardships to acquire information, hence there is a need to amend the legislation. Amina Mwidau (Special Seat, CUF) stakeholders are the ones who understand the industry better hence their involvement is crucial to enable the ministry to come up with a helpful Media Service Bill. Commenting on the matter on Monday, Juma Nkamia (Kondoa South, CCM) advised the government to conduct thorough research before bringing up the bill, noting that if properly drafted, the law will set operating standards for journalists in the country. Meanwhile, the Newspaper Act of 1976 which gives the Minister for Information, Culture, Youth and Sports power to prohibit publication of a newspaper was criticized by some legislators arguing that it gives the Minister a big leeway. “The Ministry should amend the Newspaper Act of 1976, particularly the section that gives the Minister the power to prohibit newspaper publication knowing that, personal interests could be involved in this,” the CUF Special Seats representative Mwidadu suggested. Rebecca Mgodo (Special Seats, Chadema), countered the motion and suggested that the media industry in Tanzania needs to be changed in order to cope with the current emerging technologies to enable the stakeholders revolutionalize the industry for the betterment of the nation.

EA Ministry to concentrate on regional economic infrastructure development

THE Minister for East African Cooperation Samwel Sitta yesterday tabled in Parliament his ministry’s budget estimates for the year 2013/14 promising to continue giving priority among other development plans in areas of economic infrastructure development that links Tanzania with other five member states. He told the house that, construction and improvements of transport infrastructure particularly ports, railways networks airports, energy, marine and roads projects are among the priorities for Tanzania in the integration of the East African Community (EAC). According to him, the ministry will continue to coordinate the implementation of the national projects which have been approved that included the regional infrastructure development as already planned. Among the projects he mentioned the details of the design study of the much awaited Isaka-Kigali/Keza to Musongati railway network linking Tanzania with Rwanda and Burundi has been completed and is awaiting construction to go through. In line of the EAC regional infrastructure development strategy, the Heads of State approved regional infrastructure priority projects of regional importance in November 2012 and for Tanzania the projects includes construction and rehabilitation of central railway line to standard gauge that links Tanzania and Rwanda and Burundi. Others are from Voi-Teveta-Holili-Moshi-Arusha railway line to link Tanzania and Kenya, Tanga-Arusha-Musoma railway line and the development of Mtwara-Mbamba Bay railway. The signing favors Tanzania to effectively utilize her strategic geographical location. Geographically, the minister noted that, Tanzania borders with all East Africa Community partner states, some of which have no direct access to the sea. The development of ports will enable the country to fully utilize its potential. In view of this, the Minister outlined projects such as to increase the depth of berth No.  1-7 at Dar e salaam port, and the construction of new berths No. 13-14. The construction of Maruhumbi port in Zanzibar as well as construction of the dry dock and roll in roll off between ports of Dar es Salaam, Pemba, and Tanga. He further noted the maintenance of inland waterways, ports in the Great Lakes of Victoria and Tanganyika. All these projects would enable Tanzania to link its economic developments with member states. In road projects the minister has outlined construction of Tunduma-Sumbawanga-Mpanda-Kigoma road which links Tanzania with Burundi and Rwanda, another one is Nyanguge-Musoma-Sirare road which links Tanzania with Kenya and Uganda. Rehabilitation of the main roads such as Morogoro and Nelson Mandela in the city of Dar es Salaam will help reduce the congestion at Dar es Salaam port. Others are the planned Banana-Tangi Bovu, and the expansion of Morogoro road. In the energy development projects, the ministry will concentrate on the power generation and distribution at river Rusumo Waterfalls which h will benefit Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. In view of the development of the energy, he said that, the EAC partner states have finalized a feasibility study for the power interconnectivity of the Tanzania national grid to Kenya from Singida via Isanya (Kenya)passing through Ariusha and Namanga border post as part of the implementation of the main power line project for Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya. He said his ministry has continued to coordinate the discussion that will enable the implementation of various agreements for the establishment of Murongo/Kikagati power generation project which is expected to generate 16 megawatts. Furthermore, he said that, the ministry in collaboration with the stakeholders coordinated and participated in the 6th EAC Petroleum Conference held in February 2013 in Arusha attracted more than 900 companies and stakeholders from different parts of the world involved in mineral, gas and oil exploration. “This enabled partner states including Tanzania to showcase available investment opportunities in these important sectors’. He said.   In the development of the aviation sector, the ministry will continue to participate in the preparation of cheaper navigation systems framework based on the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). The GNSS framework will be applied at international and national airports in the partner states. The preparation of the framework is expected to be completed this 2013/14 financial year. Moreover, the ministry continued to coordinate and participate in the negotiations for the establishment of regional frameworks for aircraft accidents and incidents investigations. However, he told the house to approve and grant it to spend at least Sh. 20.4 bn/ for his ministry for the year 2013/14. Out of the money, he said Sh.19 bn will be directed for other charges while Sh. 1.4 bn/ is for personal emoluments. This is an increased of 23 percent from the previous 16.6 bn/. 26 bn.

Mtwara residents verses the government, who shall win the battle?

AS the government gets prepared to start construction of 532km gas pipeline from Mtwara to Kinyerezi on the outskirts of the Dar es Salaam city during the 2013/14 financial year, misunderstandings still surrounds residents of Mtwara region who seemed to be resisting the government’s move over the matter. Although there have been a series of demonstrations accompanied by chaos caused by irate residents since last year in protest against governments decision, this week the government announced openly of its intention will be executed by all means. The gas pipeline which is to be constructed at a cost of Sh. 1.86 trillion shillings ($1.2 billion) will be funded through loan scheme from the Export-Import Bank of China and the construction is expected to be completed within 18 months.  On Wednesday this week, the Minister for Energy and Minerals, Professor Sospeter Muhongo said that, plans by the government to construct a long stretch gas pipeline is still there and will be executed effectively from 2013/14 fiscal year. Professor Muhongo was tabling his ministry’s budget estimates for 2013/14 fiscal year whereby he said that, among the government’s strategic plans for his ministry is the construction of the gas pipeline which he insisted is unavoidable despite protests already shown. However, he assured Members of Parliament that, the government’s plans is there and will not be changed whatsoever, added that the project is set to benefit major government’s economic development for people of all walks of life regardless of their political affiliations. The minister’s call was opposed by the spokesperson of the opposition camp who is also the ministry’s Shadow Minister, John Mnyika (Chadema) who outlined in his speech during the presentation of the opposition camp’s views. In his speech, Mnyika insisted that, the government must stop the construction of the gas pipeline unless otherwise all contract details which have already been entered by the government are made open to the general public through their representatives in the National Assembly citing the reasons that the loaned project will be paid by the tax payers in the country. Either he said that, the government should make a thorough statement to show how people of Mtwara region and other surrounding regions are going to benefit from this project following their protests which resulted into deaths of innocent civilians and several individual properties such as houses and cars were destroyed by irate demonstrators Earlier, Professor Muhongo noted in his speech that, the government has taken various steps to educate residents of Mtwara region and its surroundings and their leaders on the importance of the discovered natural gas and what the government is intending to do for the future economy of the nation. Muhongo said moving the gas to Dar es Salaam makes sense because the city is already equipped with the infrastructure needed to convert the gas into electricity and upload it to the national power grid. Allowing those power plants to work at capacity will help bring down the cost of electricity for the entire country, he said.  According to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals Eliachim Maswi, who was frequently quoted as saying that, since 2006, Tanzania has been experiencing periodic power rationing, which he hopes will be resolved when this project is completed and production begins. According to him, the project which the government has awarded the contract to China Petroleum Technology Development Corporation, Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Bureau and China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Corporation will have the capacity to transport 784 cubic feet of gas per day, which will generate 3,920 megawatts of electricity.  Following the matter, investigations by this paper has discovered that, there are two groups divided among legislators representing Lindi and Mtwara regions over the matter. It seems that, there are those who oppose the government’s move and those who support the move.  Cornered for comments, one of the Member of Parliament from Mtwara region under CCM ticket who spoke on strict condition of anonymity told The Guardian on Wednesday in Parliament grounds that, the government has consistently neglected regions in southern Tanzania, leaving them in abject poverty.  He said, since independence time, the people of southern regions of Lindi and Mtwara have had no good roads, schools, hospitals or access to clean water in most parts of the region, and employment is also a nightmare. “Mtwara is a symbol of poverty in our country." He added In order to generate employment and distribute the national wealth equitably, the government should build infrastructure to convert the gas into electricity in Mtwara and then transport it to other parts of the country, he suggested. However, he has supported the continued protests by southerners who he said are tired by government’s promises which have not been fulfilled ever since by government leaders whenever they sit down to strategize main priority areas for national economic development. He further noted that, the discovery of natural gas in the region is an opportunity for local development rather than the consolidation of resources and opportunities in the congested capital, adding that, developing sectors and creating jobs in Mtwara and other regions would ease the pressure of migrants who head to Dar es Salaam in search of jobs.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

24 DEDs demoted and 8 others arraigned in court

IN a bid to ensure workers’ accountability in various district councils in the country, the government has demoted 24 District Executive Directors (DEDs) and 8 others arraigned in court and other 24 have been reprimanded under workers’ disciplinary codes of actions since 2006 up to December 2012, the Parliament was told yesterday. The deputy Minister for Local government and Regional Administration Agrey Mwanri said that, among the 24 demoted district executives, one of them had his salary lowered adding that, the move is a deterrent to others who are fond of sabotaging government’s properties. The deputy minister was responding a question earlier asked by Ramadhani Haji Saheh (CCM) who wanted to know what actions has the government taken so far to the district executives who have been found responsible for the loss of money set aside for the intended development projects within their districts. Either, apart from the disciplinary actions so far taken against high ranking district officers, the government has also held 1,452 other workers accountable with various disciplinary actions for having found them guilty of violation of various workers’ rules and regulations under public service. Coupled by the increasing phenomenon, the government has taken various steps in order to prevent the habit. However, he said this is together with the legal actions against the offenders who are directly or indirectly found closely to be associated in one way or another. In order to strengthen the whole financial systems in line to curb the rampant theft which has been discovered in various district councils in the country, the government has introduced a system whereby all internal auditors will now be directly reporting to the government Chief internal Auditor. The deputy minister also noted that, the government has established the use of international standards in the preparations of the financial accounting systems, others are the establishment of a system which ensure financial supervision commonly known as EPICOR which is intended to curb the increased theft of money in district councils. Either he noted that, the government is insisting care to b e observed by auditors when carrying out their duties to look at the value of the money used for the various intended development targets for the district councils. He further noted that, through these steps, the government has been able to reform financial management systems in most district councils in the country, and this has been approved by the office of the Controller Accounts General (CAG) of 20-11/12 whereby clean audit certificates have increased from 72 in 2010/11 to 104. The unsatisfactory certificates were reduced from 5 in 2010/11 to zero and there was one bad certificate as approved by the CAG office in 2011/12. He has therefore issued a concern to councilors to continue maintaining a good relationship with the district executives to make sure that, they are all working in collaboration to ensure that government money and other public properties in the local government are well supervised. He further reminded them that, there are newly formed controlling systems of curbing with theft, and if used effectively would enable their council offices to maintain an up to date accounting record systems.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

TEF frowns upon the Information minister’s budget speech,

THE Secretary General of Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) Neville Meena has expressed his disappointment over the budget speech of the Minister for Information, Youth, culture and Sports which was tabled yesterday in Parliament saying that, the Minister did not mention problems faced b y journalists in executing their jobs in the country. He said the budget has skipped to analyze important matters as what had happened to the TEF Chairman Absalom Kibanda and the fallen TV crew for Channel ten station David Mwangosi together with others whose fate has sparked a debate in previous parliamentary sessions. The TEF Boss made a concern in an exclusive interview with The Guardian yesterday in Parliament a moment after the Minister’s budget was tabled for discussion before the parliamentarians.  Later the Speaker of the National Assembly, Anne Makinda   stopped the sessions till later in the afternoon as in accordance to the house directives following some contravention of the laws governing house procedures.  He lamented that, apart from the issue of the two media practitioners whose fate is still a subject of debate among Tanzanians, he noted that, the budget hasn’t highlighted the challenges faced by Tanzanian journalists and the media fraternity in general. According to him, he wanted the minister should have stated the development of the two high ranking media personnel in its budget as an expression with a word of sympathy noting that was a major challenge that the media fraternity in the country experienced for the last one year, but there is no such statement in the budget. To the great dismay, he is surprised to see that, the minister in charge of the ministry Dr. Fenella Mukangara has highlighted other challenges which are not more severe and a threat in normal circumstances to the development of the media sector in the country. He further noted that, the budget has not also quoted any private media organization in the country and their  participation in the countrywide information dissemination, nor the way forward on how to develop the media sector in the country for the coming 2013/14 financial year. The TEF boss and other media stakeholders are surprised to have seen the minister’s budget speech has only focused the welfare of the National Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) and the ministry’s plans to develop the whole national broadcasting corporation through various loans by donors outside. It is as if Tanzania media industry is run by government and there is no private sectors, he queried. Quoting the main challenges in the minister’s speech, she noted that, her ministry through the information sector was faced by various challenges in the previous financial year of 2012/13 and among these are the violations of ethical rules by some registered media organizations in the country. She said that, some electronic media stations had violated ethical rules on broadcasting which the country are contrary to the policy of broadcasting and the regulations governing the legal policies set by the Broadcasting Act She also noted in her budget speech that, in 26th February this year, the ethical committee of her ministry suspended two radio stations namely Neema FM of Mwanza and Imaam FM of Morogoro for six months after having found them guilty despite of several warnings. Other challenges she mentioned in her budget is lack of study opportunities to higher learning institutions in the country and poor working environment to media workers. Either together with other impeding challenges it still performing its duties as usual.

Ngimwa: The government is keen with its shares invested in private organization

THE Government has set aside Sh. 150 billion for the development of the transport sector in the country giving priority to the development of the central railway line, the Deputy Minister for Transport Dr. Charles Tizeba said yesterday when responding the contribution of legislators to the transport ministry budget for 2013/14 financial year. He said the priority for the ministry is outlined in the national development vision of the 2025 which has intended to develop railway infrastructure which passes through the central corridor covering six regions which he said are economically viable for the country’s economy. However, he added that, the passenger train will not be departing from their stations without being checked to ensure safety for the passengers. However, he added that the activities will be supervised by Surface and Marine Transport Authority (SUMATRA) whom it has directed to do the work. He also said that, the government has received financial aid of Euro 35 million from the government of Netherlands for the expansion program of the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA). He added that, the project is scheduled to start in this year’s financial year. He further noted that, the government will spend Sh. 13.3 billion in this 2013/14 financial year for the expansion program of Sumbawanga airport in Rukwa region. Contributing to the ministry’s budget, legislators questioned reasons why the government is not serious with the Air Tanzania Limited (ATCL) which was once being used by most Tanzanians for their flights inside and outside the country. A Member of Parliament for special seats Mkiwa Kimwanga (CUF), said that, Tanzania does not have a plane which it can be proud of and she also asked about the Boeing 737 which has been operating at a loss and what action has the government taken. She also wanted to know how the government is planning to revive the corporation into its former situation it was.  In another contribution an MP for Nzega Khamisi Kigwangala (CCM) said that, it is a shame for the government to have no its own plane in this current era of science and technology whereby Tanzania as a country need to show up in global economy and show up its products further outside kits boundaries. She wondered and noted that, many Tanzanians travels outside the country by using other country’s planes because there are no planes for ATCL which in early 1980s had international flights to Far East and Middle East countries. She said that, it is a shame to see Many Tanzanians uses Ethiopian Airlines and others to organize for their international flights. Another legislator Mhonga Ruhwanya (Chadema-Special seat), wanted to know what strategies has the government in place in order to save an ill-fated government organization ATCL. An MP for Mgogoni (CUF), Kombo Khamis Kombo, said that Tanzania government should emulate other East African countries such as Kenya and Rwanda which he said have successes to a certain extent in managing their air transport sector. He said adding that, it was a shame to see these countries which are fellow East African member states to have own planes that connects international flights, and that the government is surpassed by even air transport private countries such as Precision Air which are operating in the country and have connected their operations in international level.

The government to concentrate on ports rehabilitation.

THE Government has set aside Sh. 150 billion for the development of the transport sector in the country giving priority to the development of the central railway line, the Deputy Minister for Transport Dr. Charles Tizeba said yesterday when responding the contribution of legislators to the transport ministry budget for 2013/14 financial year. He said the priority for the ministry is outlined in the national development vision of the 2025 which has intended to develop railway infrastructure which passes through the central corridor covering six regions which he said are economically viable for the country’s economy. However, he added that, the passenger train will not be departing from their stations without being checked to ensure safety for the passengers. However, he added that the activities will be supervised by Surface and Marine Transport Authority (SUMATRA) whom it has directed to do the work. He also said that, the government has received financial aid of Euro 35 million from the government of Netherlands for the expansion program of the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA). He added that, the project is scheduled to start in this year’s financial year. He further noted that, the government will spend Sh. 13.3 billion in this 2013/14 financial year for the expansion program of Sumbawanga airport in Rukwa region. Contributing to the ministry’s budget, legislators questioned reasons why the government is not serious with the Air Tanzania Limited (ATCL) which was once being used by most Tanzanians for their flights inside and outside the country. A Member of Parliament for special seats Mkiwa Kimwanga (CUF), said that, Tanzania does not have a plane which it can be proud of and she also asked about the Boeing 737 which has been operating at a loss and what action has the government taken. She also wanted to know how the government is planning to revive the corporation into its former situation it was.  In another contribution an MP for Nzega Khamisi Kigwangala (CCM) said that, it is a shame for the government to have no its own plane in this current era of science and technology whereby Tanzania as a country need to show up in global economy and show up its products further outside kits boundaries. She wondered and noted that, many Tanzanians travels outside the country by using other country’s planes because there are no planes for ATCL which in early 1980s had international flights to Far East and Middle East countries. She said that, it is a shame to see Many Tanzanians uses Ethiopian Airlines and others to organize for their international flights. Another legislator Mhonga Ruhwanya (Chadema-Special seat), wanted to know what strategies has the government in place in order to save an ill-fated government organization ATCL. An MP for Mgogoni (CUF), Kombo Khamis Kombo, said that Tanzania government should emulate other East African countries such as Kenya and Rwanda which he said have successes to a certain extent in managing their air transport sector. He said adding that, it was a shame to see these countries which are fellow East African member states to have own planes that connects international flights, and that the government is surpassed by even air transport private countries such as Precision Air which are operating in the country and have connected their operations in international level.

Legislators hail government's efforts to strengthen ports activities

LEGISLATORS have pressurized the government to continue its commitments in order to reform the activities at the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) which they said is the main source of revenue collection serving five landlocked countries. Contributing to the budget estimates for the 2013/14 financial year yesterday in Parliament, various legislators have hailed efforts currently being undertaken by the ministry to reform the port and advised the government to be serious bearing the fact that the port is the pillar of the economy of the country which facilitates transportation of goods.  Kombo Khamis Kombo (CUF) said that, the expansion of the port can increase the government’s revenue, however, he said that the problem of corruption among workers of the port shows a negative attitude and bad image to the institution. He has however asked Minister for Transport Dr. Harison Mwakyembe whose efforts have shown a tremendous development within a short time to strengthen his strategies to ward off the impeding phenomenon. Following the recent action by the Ministry against untrustworthy workers who were sacked from the port, the CUF legislator also wanted to know if some of the workers who were terminated by the minister were taken to court or if were investigated by the PCCB institution. Another legislator Susan Lyimo (Chadema-special seat) said that countries like China and Singapore succeeded to increase their economy to a higher level by largely depending on their ports available in their countries. However, she said that, it was surprising to note that, the Dar es Salaam port does not have enough spaces for storage facilities at the dock an aspect which cause overloaded of containers and other goods. In view of this, she has therefore advised the government to work on the issue in order to perform better. She has objected the government’s decision to embark on its decision to build a new port at Bagamoyo saying that this is a loss of money, and instead has therefore advised the government to use the available money to expand the existing ports of Mtwara, Tanga and Dar es Salaam which needs refurbishments that would maker them increase their capacity.

Kigoda dismisses claims by opposition camp, asks for physical evidences

THE Minister for Trade and Industries Dr. Abdalah Kighoda on Wednesday this week dismissed claims by opposition camp which it raised against relatives of the ruling CCM Members of Parliament allegedly to be owners of the company earlier entered into a joint contract with a National Development Corporation (NDC) to generate wind electricity power in Singida region. Winding up his speech for his ministry’s budget estimates for 2013/14 financial year, Dr. Kigoda said that, it was not true that owners of the private company namely Power Pool East Africa Company Ltd mentioned in their statement are relatives of the ruling CCM party. To verify the truth over the matter, Dr. Kigoda has however asked the opposition camp in Parliament to produce evidences to clear doubt and if possible should they cross check the registration particulars of the company from the national Business Registration Licensing company (BRELA) in order to prove their allegations. Earlier, a spokesperson of the opposition camp, Highness Samson Kiwia  (Chadema) claimed in a statement he issued in Parliament in which they wanted to know how the company was involved in the whole process of power generation and came to acquire such a huge funded contract project. Relatives of the CCM MPs who the opposition camp alleged in their statement to be owners of the company are Maswa Kagoswe, Isack Joseph Mwamanga, Emmanuel Kasyanju, Prosper Tesha, Lennard Tennende and Athumani Ngwilizi. According to Highness, their involvement was a planned mission organized by the said CCM MPs (whom he didn’t disclose in his statement )with a view to benefit through cheating the amount of money which currently is being processed by the government as a loan amounting to $ 136 million (equivalent to Sh. 210 bn/). The money will be received from Exim Bank of China which has agreed to disburse it on relief condition and that the government has already issued a letter of support to the bank by the ministry of Finance. Apart from claiming of their relationship, the opposition camp also wanted to know whether the government had done an in-depth investigation by vetting the owners in areas of their technical ability and the legitimacy of the said company if it has enough experience in power generation activities before approval by the government to undertake such a huge project. The opposition camp doubts about the experience and the skills the company has whether it has ever done such a project elsewhere in the country, he queried while warning the government should not involve itself into another Richmond saga.  The project which is expected to generate total 300 megawatts is yet to start, but initially the company was expected to generate 50 megawatts to be supplied 12 kilometers away in eastern direction of the Singida town Council. According to the details made available about the project, it was supposed to commence during 2012/13 financial year. In early 2012, the managing director of state-run National Development Corporation (NDC), Gideon Nasari, confirmed the parastatal has entered into a contract with a private firm, Power Pool East Africa Company Ltd for wind power generation. In the deal, NDC holds 51 per cent stake while a privately owned company, Power Pool East Africa Ltd, with 49 shares, under the agreement the private firm will service the loan for 20 years. The demand for power in Tanzania is growing by more than 50 MW a year, fuelled partly by an expansion of mining undertakings in parts of the country. Currently, hydro is the major source of electricity in Tanzania. The wind farm in Singida will mean that power-dependent industries will soon be provided with electricity generated locally. The wind farm will benefit the local economy, providing 200 jobs during the construction phase and a handful of jobs when it is up and running. Wind power on a commercial scale is not common in sub-Saharan Africa, despite the existence of constantly blowing and consistently strong winds, especially along the top of the rift valley, the mountain plateau which runs through east Africa from Ethiopia to Malawi and Mozambique. Singida project seeks to be the country's first wind energy power project. The project is a result of the government push for diverse energy sources, as drafted in its recent policy on renewable energy.

Energy Ministry presents a draft on Natural gas policy

THE Minister for Energy and Minerals Professor Sospeter Muhongo yesterday presented a draft of Natural gas policy of Tanzania to Members of Parliament at a seminar whereby legislators took time to discuss it with a call from the majority of them who have advised the government not to rush with the exploration of the southern rich gas and oil deposits in Mtwara region. A 45 paged booklet outlines together with other things what the government is intending to do with the exploration of gas for the benefits of the nation in future and has also outlined strategic plans by the government which would ensure efficiency out of the contracts to be entered in future. Among the issues noted in the draft describes how the government shall ensure growth of the natural gas industry in order to support strategic investments in other sectors of economy as well as support private sec tor participation for rapid development of strategic industries such as petrochemicals, steel and other energy intensive industries. The draft also has outlined what the government will do to substantially improve Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) in communities neighboring natural gas facilities and operations, and these would  ensure a contractual obligation to all investors and contractors in the natural gas activities to undertake community development programs. Contributing to their views over the draft, some legislators wanted to know the position of government in safe guarding the welfare of Tanzanians and the contracts to be entered once the exploration activities are over. Ibrahim Sanya (CUF) wanted to know what procedures has the government put in order to let Tanzanians acquire individuals’ shares. He also warned the government not to mess up just like what happened in mining contracts which he said none of ordinary Tanzanian is benefiting in these projects in the country. However, he has advised the government that if it is not ready in its strategic plans which are to benefit its citizens and the government itself, then it shouldn’t rush unless it has trained its own people who in future would be in a position to save the future generation. Mussa Haji Kombo (CUF) asked the Minister to explain why his draft had no element which he mentioned about Zanzibar and that the draft has only centered mainland Tanzania. The legislator is on the view of the fact that, those who prepared the draft might have forgotten that Zanzibar is within the union government. Halima Mdee (Chadema) wanted to know the government’s decision why it has decided in its strategic plans to construct a gas pipeline from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam an aspect that has caused chaos among the southerners who feels to have been abandoned by the government with thinking that they won’t benefit from the gas. She has however asked the government to verify ways to see how the people of Mtwara and other southerners so that they clear out their worries over the matter instead of are going to benefit with this project. According to her, she has suggested one keeping quite and if possible make open the already contracts that the government has so far entered.  However she has also called on the stakeholders in the energy sector to pass education to the people in order to enlighten them as it would not be fair for them to be abandoned when the gas deposits are from within their region. She also asked to know the already 40 trillion cubic meters already in place if the government has entered a contract with, and if so, how many contracts have been entered so far. Suleiman Jafu (CCM) advised the government to include in a draft every contracts it shall have entered , it must ensure that, all Tanzania small entrepreneurs to engage in small activities and not foreigners as the case is seen at Kariakoo market in Dar es Salaam whereby Chinese foreigners are engaged in petty business which could be done by local people. Moses Machari (NCCR-Mageuzi) noted that the government should understand what people need to know in this gas sector. He said that, wider education is still needed to be given by the government and proper implementation of the policy should be prepared. Winding up the legislators views’, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Energy and Minerals, Eliachim Maswi assured them what the government has put in place its strategies and that would not mess up as it has realized the mistakes done in the past. On education he said that, the government has started since last year to sponsor 30 students for Masters program studies every year in Portugal and China to acquire knowledge on gas exploration and has also assured the Parliamentarians that all contracts which shall be entered by the government through his ministry will be correct and that should you clear any doubt. Winding up legislators’’ views also was the Minister for Energy and Minerals, Professor  Sospeter Muhongo who asked legislators who attended the seminar  to accept the draft which he said would be brought back in Parliament for their approval later. He however cleared doubts by some who noted that, it was too earlier for government to start gas business at this time when the nation does not have enough experts in the field.

Magufuli: Demolition of structures within road reserve areas to continue unabated

THE government has reiterated its commitments to continue demolishing people’s structures which shall be found to have been constructed within road reserve areas despite claims by many people in various parts in the country. It has been learnt. The Minister for Works, Dr. John Magufuli made the concern early this week in Parliament when winding up his ministry’s budget estimates for 2013/14 financial year which was approved with Sh. 1.22 trillion by the National Assembly and accepted almost by 99 percent of the law makers. The call by the government comes about after having realized that, there are some areas reserved for road construction in the country which have been invaded occupied and structures have been built an aspect that it gives hard time for the government to undertake road construction activities.   He said that, the government would not entertain cases raised as a result of demolition exercises taking place in various parts in the country which involves people who do not want to follow the rules and regulations laid down by the government. He assured law makers that, no compensation will be made to any person, an institution, or a family whose structures will be demolished to pave way for the road construction as their presence within road reserve areas shall have violated the rules and laws set which requires such areas to be left vacant for the development and expansion of roads in the country.  However, he noted that, those who would be liable for payments are only those whose structures shall be found to be within the area intended for construction after a feasibility study has been carried out to undertake new construction project. He said the government will not be ashamed to suppress its operation just because of some few individuals whatsoever who have constructed their buildings along road reserve in the country, and instead would work accordingly as per what the law says.  Magufuli reacted on the issue after he had received an advise from an MP Mohamed Ibrahim Sanya (CUF) who was contributing a point in his ministry’s budget estimates and wanted to know what steps taken by the government in order to pay compensation to people who in one way or another had invaded road reserve areas and probably without their knowledge had built their houses there. An MP Sanya was on the view of the fact that, mostly affected people who have their houses demolished, had constructed them in recent years when the government had declared such areas as road reserve during 1960s or 70s when such areas were not yet occupied or developed into townships. In reply, Minister Dr. Magufuli said that, their fate is less concerned with the government’s laws as it is a responsibility of anybody to take precaution before embarking on building by consulting the relevant authorities such as land district officers in various councils in the country to get clarification about the area for their safety. Meanwhile, Dr. Magufuli has unveiled the ministry's ambitious budget for the financial year 2013/14 pledging to maintain infrastructural upgrades that would ease traffic jams in Dar es Salaam city.  He has however outlined major efforts currently being undertaken by the government in a bid to curb the highly traffic congestion in the city of Dar es Salaam. He however, reiterated the government’s need to accomplish the already planned projects currently going on as to be completed within two years’ time from now. He mentioned the projects as the construction of the a one kilometer flyover bridge to be constructed at a junction of Tazara and Nelson Mandela Road whose construction is set to start in this financial year. He also mentioned the Kigamboni suspended bridge which is to be financed on loan basis b y National Social Security Fund (NSSF). The expansion of New Bagamoyo road into a dual carriageway whose construction is set to start at any time from now, and currently the ongoing construction of a highway from Kimara to Magogoni which on its completion will be used to facilitate to Dar Rapid Transport project. Meanwhile, pledges made by President Jakaya Kikwete to improve roads in the country dominated a debate on the 2013/14 budget estimates tabled by the Ministry of Works, with MPs demanding immediate action on all promised projects. Debating the ministry's proposals for two days, the MPs used the president's promises to argue their case for the construction of tarmac roads, charging that failure to execute the projects amounted to insubordination by the minister.  Debating the approved 1.22tril/- budget for the ministry, majority of the MPs praised Dr Magufuli for the job well done, but raised concern over compensation problems that citizens face when they are compelled to relocate to pave way for road projects.

Will the government take to task those involved in national form IV failure?

THE Decision whether the government will take legal action or not against those who directly involved in mass failures of the national form IV results for the year 2012 which the government nullified three weeks ago, is a puzzle which still occupies the minds of education stakeholders parents and human activists in the country. The Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, on Thursday this week told the National Assembly that the government will not hesitate to take severe legal measures against those involved in last year’s Form IV exam failures once the probe team which he had formed to investigate the issue completes its work.  He was responding a question during his 30 minutes on spot question session when asked by Magdalena Hamisi Sakaya (CUF) Special seat who wanted to know what disciplinary action the government is intending to take against those found guilty of students’ mass failures whose results were nullified. In response, the Premier noted that, the probe committee which he had formed is still going on with the investigations of the matter and once this is over, the government would work on their recommendations which shall be made open to the general public.  “After the investigations are complete, we will get answers and if we happen to discover that there were individuals responsible for the shameful action, the government will not hesitate to hold them accountable,” the Prime Minister said.  He further assured the parliamentarians and Tanzanians as a whole not to worry about the issue and insisted that, the government would work as in accordance with the recommendations to be put across by his team which he didn’t specify when it will finish investigations. Three weeks ago, the government nullified the National Form Four results for all students who sat for the examination following a preliminary report findings of a probe committee which had discovered that the new system used by NECTA to grade the results last year was different from the traditional system used in previous years called National Mean Difference ( NMD). Announcing the government decision in Parliament Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs) William Lukuvi said the committee formed by the prime minister learnt that NECTA used a new system called Fixed Grade Ranges (FGR) in grading students’ performance.  The government’s announcement came only four days after the inquiry committee led by Prof Sifuni Mchome tabled its preliminary report of findings to the cabinet in Dodoma. This was on April 29th last month that the committee met the cabinet in Dodoma to table its preliminary findings.  According to him, the NMD also took on board the respective student’s average Continuous Assessment (CA) for each subject. Lukuvi gave no more details with regard to the new system (FGR) in grading students’ performance last year besides maintaining that such a system was not thoroughly researched and prepared before its application by NECTA.  Lukuvi said after the meeting with the committee the cabinet agreed unanimously that the 2012 Form IV results be nullified, according to advice from the inquiry task force. The minister said the results would now be standardized so that the pass marks could tally with efforts that students used while studying. The cabinet also agreed that NECTA should suspend application of the new grading system (Fixed Grade Ranges) and should instead apply the old system in grading the 2012 Form results (National Mean Difference). The call by CUF legislator Magdalena Sakaya on Thursday this week has ushered interest by some parents and education stakeholders in the country who are eager to see what action is being taken by the government over the issue that caused death to some candidates while others left psychologically affected after their results were announced by the Minister for Education and Vocational Training Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa. The results ordained a mass failure by 66.5 percent with Zero marks created a great confusion among parents and education stakeholders in the country with some noting that to be the worst ever since independence and urged the government not to turn a blind eye on the issue. Since the results were announced early this year, the government was under pressure from sections of the general public, lawmakers and some education experts. There was a call for political responsibility, with some politicians calling for the resignation of the Minister for Education, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa but their call ended up in vain.  Cornered for an exclusive interview on Thursday this week in Parliament, a CCM carder who spoke on strict condition of anonymity said that, it’s high time now the government leaders to be held accountable in order to restore the dignity of the ruling CCM party. He said that, most Tanzanian leaders have not developed the habit of resigning by themselves once serious allegations such as these are leveled against them unless the parliament intervenes. However, he said adding that, in re cent years it has been noticed that most leaders have been forced to resign with the pressure of Parliamentarians and not otherwise. Driving his point on the issue of National form Four results, he said that, by any means if the CCM party wants to cleans itself, it must hold responsible its leaders including the Minister for Education and others who might have been closely associated with the issue. “This is a big shame, not only in the country but it has sparked all over especially among our fellow East African member countries and probably in other parts of the world who might have looked it in a negative perspective” he lamented and added that Tanzanians have reasons to wait to hear what action their government will take.

TBS urged to open zonal offices in up country regions

THE parliamentary economic committee on Trade and industries on Wednesday this week urged the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) to open zonal offices in order to effectively control the supply of counterfeit goods which enters local market through various porous border posts in the country. Contributing to the budget estimate of the Ministry of Trade and Industries for the 2013/14 financial year, the committee Chairman Mahmoud .H. Mgimwa (CCM) said in his speech that, the supply of counterfeit goods in local market is largely contributed by the absence of TBS offices in upcountry regions. He further noted that, in spite of having no zonal offices countrywide since the organization was established in 1975, this is the reason the organization is currently not performing its duties as required. Another thing he noted is due to insufficient number of technical expert workers the organization is faced with so as to enable it run concurrently with the economic activities surrounding trade sector in the country. However, he said that, less workers who currently are recruited in the organization has contributed to a greater extent the domination of counterfeit goods in local market in the country as there are no experts to fight and control the increased phenomenon. He said adding that, due to the persisting situation, unscrupulous traders use a loophole to make mischief by passing through with their goods as there are no TBS officials to ask them while on transit with their unchecked imported goods through in the country. With the current situation, his committee has urged the government to open up zonal offices and if possible employ more experts to work for the organization which seems to have been over burdened for having less manpower to curb with the increased supply of counterfeit goods in the country. He said currently TBS has less workers compared to other East African countries and this is because of the fact t that, the government has not yet issued an employment permit to the organization. In 2012/13 the TBS asked a permit to employ 62 workers in addition but the government allowed them 32 workers.  However, he further noted in his speech that, the government has since stopped employment since February 2013. In view of the available workers’ statistics, it is a vivid factor that the organization cannot have an overall control of the situation due to the less number of workers it has. He gave an example of the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) which he said in his speech that has scattered its offices and workers almost in every important station to curb with the supply of fake goods which might have been penetrating through.  He said the government of Kenya has employed over 1,000 workers who have been scattered in all its zonal offices located in places such as in Mombasa, Kisumu, Garisa, Nyeri, Nakuru and in all other various border posts in that country. In view of this situation, the Parliamentary committee has advised the government to emulate fellow Kenyans and  take appropriate  drastic steps to save the organization by employing more technical and expert workers.  The committee has also advised the government through Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) to impose tax on the imported cement products which according to their survey have discovered that is given a subsidy by the government of the country from which it’s imported. The move would help promote local manufacturers. Meanwhile, together with the current situation facing TBS organization, a legislator Deogratius Ntukamanzima (CCM) has blamed TBS for its failure to curb with the increased abundance supply of substandard goods which have flooded Tanzania local market especially in big cities. He threw his worries in surprise when contributing to a budget estimate of the Ministry of Trade and Industries for the 2013/14 financial year and noted that, the recent collapse of the 16th storey building along Indira Gandhi Street in the heart of the city of Dar es Salaam was obviously caused by counterfeit building materials. In addition to the goods, he also talked of consumable goods which he said some of them do not conform to the standards and hence arte unfit for consumption. He said that, a child who uses such foods becomes hypertensive an aspect that some of them are not fit and accurate to accomplish an assigned task for their life.

The government runs short of money to construct district council offices

THE Government has admitted of having insufficient money with which to facilitate the construction of the headquarter buildings of the newly established district councils in the country, and instead workers of such district councils have been asked to bear the inconveniences caused while performing their diligent duties to the general public. The Deputy Minister for Local Government and Regional Administration Agrey Mwanri said in Parliament yesterday when responding a supplementary question asked by Dunstan .L. Kitandula (CCM-Mkinga) who wanted to know when the government will finish the construction of newly established district headquarters. Earlier the legislator had asked a question specifically targeting the slow pace of the construction of Mkinga district council headquarter offices, noting that, since its establishment the operations of the district council are temporarily taking place in Tanga city, a factor that causes congestion in office during operations. However, he further questioned that, since the establishment of the district council, their workers have been disturbed with lots of inconveniences while giving services to the needy people in the district. So he wanted to know also when the government would complete the construction of their workers houses. In answering such queries, the deputy minister noted that, the headquarter office for Mkinga district started in 2009 and was supposed to be completed in 2010 at a cost of Sh. 2.6 billion. He further noted that, the government was disbursing money for the construction of the building slowly by slowly depending on its availability according to the financial position an aspect that has caused the delay of the construction of a building. However, he noted that, due to this situation, the cost of building has been rising up to Sh. 4.2 billion and this has been necessitated by sudden increase of the building materials currently as the situation is in local market. He said up to December 2012, the government had already sent Sh. 3.2 for the sake of facilitating construction activity in the building, and for the 2013/14 financial year, the government has set aside Sh. 500 million for the building. Concerning with the workers’ houses, the government is putting the final touches to newly constructed five buildings designed in two in one which are able to accommodate ten families at a cost of Sh. 300 million. The government has already issued the whole amount and one building is complete while others are in the final touches. He said adding that, the district council is supposed to make sure that the construction of such buildings is finished on time. Either he said that, the construction of the office of the district council headquarter building will be completed according to the availability of the fund as per their allocation year after year. The move by the government is to ensure that, their workers leaves Tanga offices and move to a newly Mkinga district headquarters in future.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

How the government is set to curb wanton harvesting of forest trees

THE government through Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) has established four programs which will help to curb effectively with the increased rate of wanton felling of forest trees being practiced by few untrustworthy people in the country, the Parliament was told yesterday. The formation of these programs are in line with the ministry’s directives formed through the government gazette No. 69 and 70 of 2006 respectively, whereby every district in the country has a committee whose responsibility is to curb with the unauthorized wanton harvesting of forest trees in their respective areas. The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Hamisi Kagasheki said in Parliament that, the move by the government is reiterated in order to reduce the high rate of forest tree harvesting which is coming up at a high speed and therefore needs to be controlled so as to avoid any possible formation of land desert. The Minister was responding a question earlier asked by Kigoma North legislator, Zitto Kabwe (Chadema) on behalf of Rev. Peter Msigwa of Iringa town (Chadema) who wanted to know what steps has the government taken in order to curb with the increased phenomenon which has become notorious in most parts in the country. Minister Kagasheki outlined four major programs the government has put in place and said that among these are the establishment of a technology of preparing charcoal furnace, a program to be conducted in collaboration with the Tanzania Forest Research Institute (TAFORI). The making up of the special forest hives in order to get away from direct dependence on forest trees in increasing people’s incomes. However, he elaborated that, under the program the government has increased the distribution of special forest hives from 10,000 during 2012/13 and noted that, about 70,000 will be distributed in this 2013/14 fiscal year.  He also noted that, his ministry will embark on an effective program whereby forest officers will be engaged in doing regular inspections and patrols as part of their visits in forest areas set aside in their respective districts so as to investigate the whole system of doing businesses related to tree harvesting such as charcoal making or wood planks. Another program he noted will be to increase the rate of tree planting in some parts of the country as part of a reform program in the ministry which aims at enhancing environmental surroundings of the areas concerned. He also noted that, the program will also increase workers’ performances. Meanwhile, a research work done by the Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) revealed that, Tanzania is among the 10 leading countries in the world for the production of charcoal and the country uses about 2,650 tones of charcoal a day, a rate that requires the country to have 856.25 hectares of forest land to be used for forest tree harvest. The research reveals that, if the rate of forest tree harvesting continues in the country for a considerable time of between seven and ten years coming, the country will have no forest trees in its selected forest hives. In May 2009, the government of Tanzania and that one of Finland in collaboration with experts from FAO organization established a program to value the forest resources of the mainland Tanzania. According to the Minister Kagasheki, the results will be announced on 24th My next week when he meets Finland officials and FAO officials in Dar es Salaam.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cost of land survey to come down by 60 percent

THE Government is intending to lower down the costs of land survey from the current Sh. 70,000/- to Sh. 48,000/- this is a decrease of 40.1 percent. It has been learnt. The Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Professor Anna Tibaijuka said yesterday that, the government’s intention is after it has introduced a new technological network system of the land mark survey to be used in the whole country known as TAREF2011. She said that, the system to be applied is cost effective and would quicken the process of land surveying by using the state-of-the-art facility which the government has acquired as part of reform program for the land surveying in her ministry. Professor Tibaijuka said this new chage when officiating a two day meeting of the land survey stakeholders which has been organized by her ministry that started yesterday and ends today. The meeting was attended by all district and regional land officers in the country. In her speech, Professor Tibaijuka noted that the newly introduced system will enable the work of surveying to move in much quick pace than as it is currently used and will be better taking measurements in accuracy and at a high standard level. She said the technology will be operating alongside with the normal ways of land surveying work, but with the new system, this will be operating by using satellite an aspect that it will reduce to a great extent the normal costs of land surveying. She further noted that, once the costs of land surveying are reduced, land surveyors from both government and private institutions will increase the pace of land mark survey for different uses such as town planning and human settlements, plots, villages, as well as infrastructural upgrades for demarcation in mining sites. “After the land mark surveying work is complete in these areas, stakeholders and people of all walks of life will be able to use their surveyed land to do development and also to them as collaterals for acquiring loan facilities from financial institutions’ she said.


 Professor Anna Tibaijuka
 
Under this system, she further added that, the government will be able to register as many plots as it could, an aspect that it will enable the government to collect more land tax revenues from the people or institutions, she said. However, she said that, in order to reach such targets, she has directed officers in land survey departments concerned to keep on recording relevant statistical data required for their clients and if need be will be required also to issue new basic measurements whenever there will be any global technological changes like this one in place.  She reminded stakeholders that, for the last five years, her ministry had a responsibility of doing land survey and the preparations of the land maps. However, she affirmed that, within the period under review, only 10 percent of the land area in the country has so far been surveyed, an aspect which she said is a great problem in land development. She said that, the most surveyed land is in rural areas and that about 11,247 villages out of 12,000 located in the country have been surveyed. She further elaborated that, this is due to negligence shown by some district land officers who do not take care of their people’s welfare from their areas. She noted that, in order to rectify the existing situation, her ministry is underway to form a new system of land survey that will bring changes and in view of that, she will send a request to the government for approval in this 2013/14 financial year.

Monday, May 13, 2013

How kerosene price continues to haunt the budget of low income earners

THE price decrease on petroleum products which was announced by Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority (EWURA) on Wednesday this week, has become a bless for motor vehicles operators, but it has disheartened kerosene users in the country, the survey can establish. The survey reveals that, the price of kerosene which has remained constantly without being changed continues to haunt the majority poor people in rural areas who utilize the product for domestic use. The survey shows that, kerosene oil in the country has been sold at between Sh. 1,150 and Sh. 2,050 for the last three years since EWURA introduced monthly indicative price quotations for oil products in the country. Unlike in the past before the introduction of indicative price for kerosene, the product was sold almost half the price of petrol and diesel, but now it is surprising to note that, there is a slight difference in price quotations and sometimes kerosene price is sold higher than either of the two oil products. The prevailing situation according to the survey reveals that, the product has been affecting the budget of the low income earners majority of whom are rural dwellers in the country as the indicative prices by EWURA does not make an effective change on the product. Kerosene oil has become a common usable commodity as a main source of fuel for people in rural communities as the supply of electricity in these areas is very scanty and rather inadequate due to poor infrastructure.  Users of the product say that the product continues to be fetched at a higher price rate that is not easily affordable and is more aggravated by the indicative price levels which keep on fluctuating month after month.  Statistics made available by EWURA indicates that, the price of kerosene oil has increased from Sh. 1,125 per litre sold in early April 2011 to currently Sh. 2,023 per litre. This is a trend of retail business in Dar es Salaam market, but it is slightly higher in upcountry markets. Statistics made available by National Power Utility firm (TANESCO) shows that electricity supply in rural Tanzania communities covers only 2 percent.
 
The rest of 98 percent of rural dwellers in the country remains without electricity supply and instead resort to the use of kerosene oil. On Wednesday this week, EWURA’s Director General, Haruna Masebu announced in a statement he issued to the media the newly introduced indicative prices for petroleum products in the country showing the reduction rate of new retail prices for petrol and diesel leaving behind kerosene oil. The statement said that, the change of petroleum product prices is in accordance with the response of the world market decrease of prices and the slight stability of the Tanzania shilling. It noted that, in line with the prevailing section legislation, prices of petroleum products are governed by rules that are determined by supply and demand. In early 1970, over four decades ago, the price of a twenty littre full of a tin of kerosene was sold at Tsh. 21 only, recalls mzee Zablon Megwe (78), now a retired prisons officer. He says by then kerosene was being sold in specially manufactured tins carrying 20 litres which nowadays are not in the market.  However, he added that, the retail prices for the commodity could be sold by shopkeepers running a retail shop in special locally made kits of measurements known as 'Kibaba'.  He said in an exclusive interview early this week in Dar es Salaam that, he could manage to survive with the little salary he was earning at that time of Sh. 620/- per month as a prison officer that could cater for other household needs for the whole month.  Now as a retired civil servant conducting his life at rural village where the majority of Tanzanians lives, hardly he could make his budget through if he dares to buy a 20 littre of kerosene for his home consumption and pays over Tsh. 40,000. “This is actually unaffordable to me” he said. He says, the money is almost equivalent in total to the amount paid for his monthly pension as a government retiree, and which are due paid in total as a lumpsum for six months amounting to Sh. 240,000. He wonders how inflation has affected Tanzania's economy. Statistics by the Central Bank of Tanzania (BOT) shows that, between 1970 and the last quarter of the country' financial trading period of the year 1972, one US Dollar was equivalent to Sh. 16.7. Whereas one British Pound was equivalent to Sh. 20/-. Economists says that, the gradual dropping of a shilling against dollar in the market has been hastened by the habit of transacting foreign exchange money notably US dollar in purchasing the commodity while abandoning the use of shilling from circulation, an aspect that causes gradual depreciation of a shilling.

Magufuli’s budget to be tabled today

THE Minister for Works Dr. John Magufuli is today expected to read his ministry’s budget estimates for the 2013/14 financial year in the National Assembly which resumes its budget session today after two days of rest. Sources from the Parliament have said in an exclusive interview with The Guardian over the weekend that, the ministry’s budget is the biggest carrying most important infrastructural issues needed for the economic development in the country, a situation which brings closer attention to most legislators for their contributions to the pertinent issues  to be tabled for discussion. Meanwhile, the Deputy Speaker, Job Ndugai last week cautioned some legislators in the National Assembly for lack of proper explanations as some of them have the tendency of contributing their views in contradiction to a particular issue in discussion without showing evidences to support their argument. However, he wanted them to observe rules and regulations set as standing orders that guide the parliamentary debating procedures. Today’s ministry budget will be the 8th in a series of the ministries whose budgets for the 2013/14 financial year have been approved by the National Assembly since the Parliament started its budget sessions on  8th of April last month. The Ministries whose budgets have already been approved by the National Assembly includes, the ministry of Agriculture and Livestock development, Water development, Natural resources and Tourism, Ministry of defense, Home Affairs, Health and Social Services and Community development, Gender and Children.

Tanzania's Minister for Works, Dr. John Magufuli