Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Percentage rate for rural population density reduces

The percentage gap between urban and rural dwellers in the country is steadily decreasing as experts are comparatively attributing the trend to highly growing rural urban migration, up surging of new towns, technological inventions and local governments’ decentralization. Statistics by National Statistics Bureau (NSB) shows that, there has been a gradual decrease between 2000 and 2006 from 80 percent to 75 percent, and between 2007 and 2012 when the last national census was held, the percentage rate has decreased from 75 to 70 percent respectively. The NBS’ Coordinator of the Population and Housing Census Ireius Ruyobya said in an exclusive interview in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday this week that, the decreasing percentage rate has been caused due to migration of people from rural to urban centres. He said that this situation has been attracted by quick urban development settlements which have been expanding tremendously in most parts in the country. He said that, there are basic factors which have largely contributed to such a rapid change and one of them is the increased global technological advancements which have been spreading at a much faster pace. Other reasons he noted includes the expansion of most district and town councils in the country in terms of size an aspect that such councils have annexed parts of rural reserve areas and develop them in townships as part of their development strategies. Elaborating more on this he noted that, most villagers have been developed into urban areas due to their proximity a situation which has prompted the annexed portion of land to be utilized for the economic development activities. Another factor he pointed out is the recent division of the regional boundaries that resulted into the formation of new regional administrations such as Simiyu, Geita, Manyara and Katavi which came into being before the 2012 Population and Housing Census (PHC) took place. “The formation of these new regions has drastically affected the geographical boundaries as many district and town councils have also been formed, thus the increase of urban development settlements is picking up at a high speed”, he said. The officer further noted that, despite the incoming changes, agriculture is still to remain the main economic activity of the many rural dwellers. Speaking over the matter, economists have noted that, “in recent years urban development has been picking up at a high speed in most developing countries largely due to the increased technological advancements”. The Executive Director of REPOA Professor Samwel Wangwe said in a telephone interview on Thursday this week that, the trend is inevitable in developing countries due to the fact that, many reserve settlement areas have been developed into urban centres. He said that there is no way Tanzania can get out of the situation, and that the government should put much emphasis on the production of food crops in rural areas so as to get enough food to feed the increased population in urban areas. Professor Haji Semboja an economist and senior lecturer of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) said that, the increased urbanization does not affect government’s planning systems on its annual budget allocations and yet still the majority are in rural areas engaged in agricultural activities. Prof. Semboja further noted that, the challenge left for the government is to control the increased groups of jobless youths who ultimately are formed to cause violence like those which calls themselves ‘Panya Road’ as the case in Das res Salaam city. He said adding that, other things which the government has to look after is to create a conducive environment that would ensure effective infrastructure in rural areas in order to discourage those who flock in urban centres who after having  experienced hard life resort to enter into bad companies A renowned economist Professor Ibrahim Lipumba said that, the migration from rural to urban is quite inevitable especially at this time when information technology has advanced. However, he has cautioned the government calling for creation of more job opportunities to cater for the increased higher unemployment rate. He said the influx of people in urban centres has affected the infrastructures which are available in towns or cities, as most of them had been designed to accommodate a certain number of people. However, Prof Lipumba has appealed to the government to concentrate on agricultural food crop productivity and maintain firm road infrastructures so as to minimize high inflation rates to enable the availability of basic needs for the people in towns and cities. With just recently done 2012 Population and Housing Census (PHC), there is a high population densities in towns and cities in the country with Dar es Salaam city being the leading is having about 4.5 million people which is about 10 percent of the total population in the country. Statistics by NBS shows that, other cities such as Arusha, Mwanza and Mbeya follows with slightly higher population densities due to large influx of people from rural in search of jobs to cater for their daily needs. According to statistics, Mwanza city has a total population of 703,000 people in its two districts of Ilemela and Nyamagana respectively. Arusha has 416,000 while in Mbeya are 385,000.  Tanzania is among the few African countries which take migration data since it conducted the first census in 1948. However, since 1967 most of the migration data collected was by place of birth and residence which capture mostly lifetime migrants and current migrants.  “The volume of people involved in migration has been increasing with time because most people would like to improve their means of livelihood”, says a city based private economist Samson Mbelwa. According to him, there are so many economic resources being developed in urban center ranging from small scale businesses that could make the majority survive rather than in rural areas whereby people engage in agricultural activities whose earnings are periodical and unpredicted. As a government executive agency, NBS provides efficient statistical services, giving increased value for money for the benefit of the Government and the public in general. It carries out its activities in a business like manner using financial management and business-planning techniques.

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