Friday, January 27, 2017

Health ministry to move to Dodoma within two week’s time

Ministry of Health, Com munity Development, Gender, Elderly and Children has announced it will officially move to Dodoma in 14 days time from Wednesday this week. The idea is in a heed to President John Magufuli’s executive order that requires administrative duties be shifted from Dar es Salaam to the designated capital city. At least the prime minister with all ministers as well as their permanent secretaries under him has moved to Dodoma, after his announcement late last year. The Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Mjaliwa, moved to Dodoma late September, last year and that opened a great mass exodus of government officers to the city. 

An aerial view of Dodoma central business district.

“We will officially move to our new office in Dodoma in two weeks’ time and also announced the kind of service which will be offered in Dar es Salaam and the ones in Dodoma ... the office of the Minister, Deputy and the Permanent Secretary will be here,” Minister Ummy Mwalimu, said at a national health workshop held in Dodoma early this week while addressing a group of health providers and stakeholders who were meeting her. Reports in Dar es Salaam about the ‘migration details’ between March and August, this year, state that this is a grace period for the ministries’ executives to plan and allocate bud- gets and finances which will en- able them transfer their officials to the capital city without major problems. Between September and February, next year, the minis- tries will continue to move their departments and staff to the new capital. “Between March and June 2020, the President’s Office and Vice-President’s Office will officially move to Dodoma,” Mr Majaliwa told the National Assembly last year. The minister in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Mr George Simbachawene is already in Dodoma.

State vows to probe reports on Gombe deforestation

REPORTS of deforestation endangering chimpanzees at Gombe National Park have alarmed the government, which has promised to probe the allegations. The Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, Major General Gaudence Milanzi, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the government will accord the matter the appropriate weight it deserves.The ministry quickly responded yesterday to the new report by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), with the impact of deforestation around the park. NASA collaborated with the US Geological Survey (USGS) to capture the images with the Landsat satellite in efforts to help in the conservation of chimpanzees, which are described as endangered species. The report, published on the ‘Mail Online’ newspaper of the United Kingdom, says that increased pressure on the land due to population explosion and poverty has led to the forest clearance for agriculture, logging and charcoal production. There are some 345,000 or fewer chimps in the wild, with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifying them as critically endangered species. “We, in the ministry, need to work on these reports ... claims that chimpanzees at the park are at risk should be looked into critically,” Major General Milanzi noted with concern. He said it was fortunate that either the natural resources minister or his deputy will be heading to the area this weekend to award Dr Jane Goodall, a famous British primatologist who has been tirelessly protecting the chimpanzee at the park since early 1970s. He argued, however, that generally deforestation was not a new challenge and the government has been fighting against it in many parts of the country. 

Chimpanzees in the region used to live in an uninterrupted belt of forests and woodlands from Lake Tanganyika westward through Uganda and the Congo Basin to western Africa. The report says it was in the early 1970s, 10 or so years after Dr Goodall first arrived in the region and began conserving chimpanzees that forest began to be cut down. Today the belt per se has gone because it’s being divided into increasingly small fragments,’ said Dr Jane Goodall (82), who is still involved in conservation efforts at her namesake institute. But NASA, the USGS and the Jane Goodall Institute have collaborated in an effort to conserve the chimps and the forest. “When deforestation happens, important ecological functions and services are lost - impacting both chimps and people. The chimpanzees lose feeding and nesting grounds and it is very difficult for the territorial animals to shift their home range to another location,” said Dr Lilian Pintea, the Vice-President of Conservation science for the Jane Goodall Institute Dr Pintea said: “When we first got our landsat satellite images from ‘72 and ‘99, we made a natural color composite of Gombe and the area outside Gombe and put them side-by-side and realised that lots of deforestation happened. Added, she: “You can see it, the villages lost maybe 90 to 80 per cent of the forest cover. And they will tell stories about how the hills were covered in forest. But then when you show them a picture, it’s very shocking to everybody, realising what has been lost.”


Dar police warns parents and guardians on their pupils’ transport facilities

THE increased rate of children’s abductions which is currently taking place in Dar es Salaam city, has alerted the Dar es Salaam regional police force who in turn have strongly warned parents to take precautions in order to curb the phenomenon which is growing at a high speed in various places within the city of Dar es Salaam. Following the regular emergence of these incidences, the regional police force has urged parents and guardians to be careful with children by following up on the means of transport those schools are using to transport their children. The Dar es Salaam Special Zone commanding officer for the Traffic Department, on Thursday this week arrested three people for allegedly after having found them transporting 34 school children in a vehicle of a Toyota Noah make. The Dar es Salaam Regional Traffic Officer, Mr Peter Mashishanga, named the suspects as the car’s driver, Mabrouk Issa Daudi, the coordinator for the transport, Steven Masanja, and the supervisor of transporting children, identified by the single name of Latifa. According to Mr Mashishanga, the car, with registration number T 949 DDY, was seized in at around 01:00 hrs along the Gerezani junction at Kariakoo area, carrying 34 school children, including nursery and primary Standard One and Two pupils from various schools in the city’s downtown. “They are the pupils from various schools, including Mtendeni, Bunge, and Olympio primary schools. They were being ferried home from school as others were heading to Mbagala and Kigamboni,” . The coordinator of the transport arrangement, Latifa, told the police that they decided to put all children in the same car because their other vehicles had been impounded for failure to show a permit to transport children as a school bus. She said the vehicles were impounded arrested in the morning since they did not have any other alternative to transport children to their home and that is why they used the car in question much as they knew that it was wrong to do so.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Millions of tones of food in store says the Ministry

DESPITE food shortage reports in some parts of the country, preliminary food production forecast for 2015/2016 indicates that the country has a surplus of more than 3 million metric tonnes. However, officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries have linked the current situation with the alarming weather condition that has got farmers worried and bracing poor harvests next season. The ministry’s Acting Assistant Director, Crop Monitoring and Early Warning, Ms Marystella Basil Mtalo, said last week in Dar es Salaam that according to statistics for the 2015/2016 cropping season, the country recorded a total of 16,172,841 metric tonnes of food production, which included 9,457,108 metric tonnes of cereals and 6,715,733 tonnes of non cereals. “Demand for the country was 13,159,326 metric tonnes and, therefore, it has a surplus of 3,013,515 metric tonnes of food”, Ms Mtalo pointed out. She noted that although the national food Sufficiency Ratio (SSR) is 123 per cent, 43 councils in 15 regions were reported to have food deficit during the assessment period. “This situation is common due to climatic factors as we have witnessed a region having surplus food but at the same time other areas within the same region are facing food deficit,” she noted. Ms Mtalo said during the crop production assessment, 11 regions were reported to have surplus food between 122 and 222 per cent, twelve regions had self sufficient of between 103 and 118 per cent and only two regions -- Dar es Salaam and Tanga -- had food deficit. “Basing on preliminary food production forecast for 2015/2016, at least 43 councils were reported to have been facing food deficit. Currently, some ministry officials have been dispatched to the vulnerable areas to conduct comprehensive food and nutrition security assessment for further interventions,” Ms Mtalo reported. She explained that normally, the preliminary food production forecast is done in May against the consumption/ marketing year, adding that currently, people are consuming the food, which was produced in 2015/2016. The acting director, however, added that the number of councils facing food deficit has increased to 53 after the earthquake that hit Kagera Region last year, making all its councils and one council in Tabora vulnerable. An Agricultural Development Officer at the ministry’s Crop Monitoring and Early Warning Department, Mr Aradius Kategano, however, dismissed reports that the country was facing serious food shortage as false, saying the country was currently consuming the food harvested during the 2015/2016 season, which had a surplus of more than 3 million metric tonnes. “The country is not facing food shortage. What is happening is just fear by the public due to poor rains,” Mr Katakana said.

Govt to employ more science teachers

AT least 4,128 secondary school science teachers will be employed in the first half of this year, a move that aims at addressing an acute shortage of science teachers at secondary schools. The Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Dr Leonard Akwilapo, said in Dar es Salaam recently that his ministry had already submitted a request to the Public Service Recruitment Secretariat for the employment. “Priority has been given to science teachers as schools have surplus arts teachers with shortage of teachers in science subjects,” said the DPS shortly after opening training for preschool teachers organised by the Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE). Dr Akwilapo further noted that the government plans to review structure of teachers grading currently based on teaching experience in order to grade them based on teaching performance, pointing out that the government will apply the Open Performance Review and Appraisal System (OPRAS) for grading. “Under the current system, teachers might be upgraded despite of poor teaching performance simply because of having a long experience in teaching field. The new structure thus aims at encouraging teachers with good teaching performance,” he pointed out. As for pre-school teachers training on curriculum, Dr Akwilapo pointed out that the training was vital to unravel the problem of some teachers who lack teaching skills in new curriculum. “I urge you to make use of this training to acquire teaching skills to enhance competence in teaching,” he said. Acting TIE Director General, Dr Elia Kilogo, said his institute had for the first time prepared text books from preschool to the advanced level of education, adding that the institute had also finalized to prepare teaching guideline books. “TIE has finalised an exercise to improve curriculum for pre-school education level as well as preparing text books,” he said. A Training Coordinator at TIE, Ms Leonida Tenga, said a total of 16,129 pre-school teachers were taking part in the training countrywide, adding that the training aims at imparting teaching skills to them in accordance to new curriculum. She said the one-week training, jointly carried out by TIE and National Council for Technical Education (NACTE), was being conducted at 17 stations in the country, adding that it was preceded by preparing 22 national training facilitators.