Thursday, April 21, 2016

Tanzania unveils 100trn/- national development plan

THE government on Wednesday this week unveiled an ambitious plan that it says will serve as a blueprint for the country's economic and social development for the next five years. The National Development Plan 2016/17-2020/21 aims to boost industrialisation and transform Tanzania into a middle-income country by 2020 by pumping 107 trillion/- of public investments into the economy. The spending earmarked by President John Magufuli's government over the next five years has jumped by 150 per cent compared to the previous development plan of former president Jakaya Kikwete's administration. The new blueprint titled "Nurturing Industrialisation for Economic Transformation and Human Development" is the latest indication of spending plans and priorities of President Magufuli's government over the next five years. The Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Philip Mpango, presented the plan to parliament yesterday and said the Magufuli government's development blueprint over the next five years will focus on flagship infrastructure projects such as construction of a standard gauge railway and the revival of the ailing national flag carrier, Air Tanzania. The current five-year plan (2011/12-2015/16), which ends in June, has been implemented by just 60 per cent and had a total estimated budget of 44.5 trillion/-, according to official government figures. "Some 107 trillion/- is needed to finance the implementation of the (new) plan and development projects over the next five years," Mpango said in his presentation to parliament. "This means that the government will have to spend an average of 21.4 trillion/- each year." The government has already announced that it plans to raise spending by 31 per cent in fiscal year 2016/17 starting in July to 29.53 trillion/-. Mpango said Magufuli's government will finance 55 per cent of the 107tr/- required to finance the 2016/17-2020/21 national development plan from its own resources. "The plan identifies two sources of funding, which are the government's revenue and non-revenue sources and external loans and grants," he said. The government said it would also rely on the participation of the private sector in the implementation of development projects. The plan expects gross domestic product (GDP) growth to rise to 10 per cent in 2020 thanks to investments in infrastructure projects from 7 per cent in 2015. It also targets a national per capita income of $1,500 by the year 2020 from the current levels of $1,006 (2015 figures), which would catapult Tanzania into middle-income status. "The plan envisages an increase of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into Tanzania from $2.14 billion in 2014 to $5 billion by the year 2020," he said. "The government also expects tourism earnings to increase from $2 billion in 2014 to $3.6 billion by 2020." Tourist arrivals are seen jumping from 1.14 million in 2014 to 2 million within the next four years. Mpango said the government's goal was to lift millions of Tanzanians out of poverty, noting that the state will invest heaving in public education, water and health services over the next five year. He revealed that more than 10 million Tanzanians out of a population of over 47 million were currently living in conditions of abject poverty. “Poverty has dropped from 39 per cent of the population in 1992 to 34.4 percent in 2007 and from 28.2 percent in 2012 to 24.5 percent in 2015,” he said. He pointed out that progress in poverty reduction was a result of improved housing, transport facilities, mobile phone penetration and ownership as well as access to better farming inputs. Poverty in Tanzania has been fueled by poor agricultural yields which remains the economic backbone for the majority of the population living in rural communities, he said. Mpango told the National Assembly that government figures show that while there is an army of around 800,000 men and women joining the labour market annually in Tanzania, only 200,000 of them actually get jobs. “The government plans to cut national poverty levels from 28.2 per cent of the population in 2011/12 to 16.7 per cent in 2020/21,” he said. The national development plan envisions that the government will reduce the child mortality rate from 81 per every 1,000 live births in 2014/15 to 45 in 2020/21. Similarly, the maternal mortality rate is forecast to drop to 250 per every 100,000 live births in 2020 from 432 in 2014. The finance minister said the government also plans to improve access to clean and safe water in rural communities to 80 per cent and subsequently increase electricity access to 60 per cent countrywide from the current 36 per cent. Members of parliament yesterday started debating the government's second development plan, which will replace the first plan that ends in June and vote whether or not to approve the blueprint.

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