Monday, May 22, 2017

Maasai communities living in Ngorongora Crater thanks Majaliwa

THE Maasai communities in Ngorongoro Crater have hailed the Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania for resolving their long standing water woes in their region. Their congratulations comes at a time when the Premier Kassim Majaliwa issued directives that the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) is now pumping enough water into local Maasai villages to save the residents from taking their cattle down the crater for watering. The new cattle water trough constructed at the cost of 231 million/- in a project which took four months, was officially inaugurated over the weekend at Ndepes Village by the Arusha Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr Mrisho Gambo. “We had to lay pipes for more than 11 kilometres from the natural sources into this watering station here at Ndepes Village,” explained the Conservator, Dr Freddy Manongi, adding that the facility can serve at least 120 cattle at a time, with 60 cows dipping through the trough the left and 60 others drinking from the right. The large water trough will provide constant, regular and reliable water for all the livestock in the Ngorongoro Division as directed by the prime minister during the latter’s tour in the area late last December. 

Tanzania's Prime Minister Mr. Kassim Majaliwa in Parliament responding questions from law makers during an impromptu answers and questions session.

“The Maasai residents of Ngorongoro have complied with the government order restraining them from driving their cattle into the Crater under the pretext of searching for after the precious liquid became scarce in most other parts of the Conservation Area,” explained the Chairman of the Ngorongoro Pastoralists Council, Mr Edward Maura. Mr Maura who is also the Ward Representative for Nainokanoka area, lauded the NCAA for executing the premier’s directives but reminded the authorities that the Maasai cattle also needed supplementary salts and minerals that also caused the grazers to take their animals into the crater basin to feed. It is estimated that nearly 90,000 people, mostly Maasai pastoralists, currently live within the multiple land-use conservation area, keeping around 125,000 livestock between them, mainly cattle, sheep and goats –all of which in turn compete for scarce water and other resources with the teeming wildlife found within the popular tourist destination. In another development, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) has also completed the construction of a new and modern cattle dip at the Mokilal Village whose facility is big enough to serve the three villages of Mokilal, Misigiyo and Oloirobi in the Oloirobi Ward. The Chairman of the Ngorongoro Pastoralist Council, Mr Edward Maura said the NPC would work closely with the government because it was sensitive to the native Maasai problems. “We are glad that the prime minister’s visit to Ngorongoro is bearing fruit but apart from water and cattle dip, there many other problems that need to be solved here,” he said, adding that the premier needs to make regular visits to the area.

Tax holiday causes huge loses to Tanzania government

TANZANIA has lost 7.2trn/- (about 2.13billion US dollars) last year as a result of an extraordinary tax holiday, according to new report by three faith-based organizations. Dar es Salaam based interfaith standing committee for economic justice and the integrity of creation in Tanzania, published their latest report on Saturday, blaming corruption, crime and tax evasion. Named “The One Billion Dollar Question; How Much is Tanzania now Losing in Potential Tax Revenues?”, the report released here indicates that the lost money, that can be linked to tax evasion and incentives, had jumped from 1.3 billion US dollars in 2012 to 1.83 billion US dollars in 2017. More than 1.3billion US dollars revenue was lost to corruption and grafts. Prof Honest Ngowi, an economist said: “Such lost money would have tripled the health budget or doubled education sector spending. It could also have helped transform social protection measures and support the most vulnerable by ten times the current budget.” “The situation is now worse than where we come from,” he said, advising the government to broaden the tax base and deepen campaigns to counter tax evasion. Tanzania is Africa’s fourth largest gold producer and the second East African country with the largest natural gas deposits after Mozambique. Mining companies, according to the study, had not paid tax to the government to the tune of 57 million US dollars or 25 per cent of the tax evasion. President Magufuli launched a crackdown on graft and tax evasion when he took office in November 2015 and has sacked dozens of senior public officials. The report calls for more action on improving tax collection and containing tax evasion loopholes. During the year under review, about 300m US dollars was lost to tax incentives, illicit capital flows (464m US dollars), informal sector (761m US dollars) mining sector (57m US dollars) and other tax evasion taking 250m US dollars. But politicians were worried the 761m US dollars anticipated untapped tax from the informal sector still needed thorough research for the government to fully exploit the sector. Mr Joseph Selasini (Rombo-Chadema) said should the government impose tax on motorcycle taxi operators, for instance, many would be compelled to abandon the business.  The report was prepared by three faith based organizations; Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC), National Muslim Council of Tanzania (BAKWATA) and the Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT). It was a follow-up to a similar report they published in 2012. Mr Ezekiel Maige, Msalala MP (CCM) called for the broadening of the tax base and ensure that all Tanzanians pay tax. Interfaith standing committee for economic justice and the integrity of creation in Tanzania Chairman, Bishop Steven Munga, said at the launching of a new report, the committee independently conducted the study to estimate how the country was losing a lot of revenue due to tax evasion, tax incentives and capital flight. The report has urged the government to curb t e leakage of revenue and take steps to ensure money was invested in public service enhancement services.

RC suggests on reinvestments on dead industries

The Regional Commissioner for Mara region has said that state owned industrial firms that once operated in Mara region– but now stalled – must be given new lease on life.  Dr Charles Mlingwa said on Friday last week that “Mara was home to thriving industries like Mutex and dairy factories they are not operating now they must be made to operate under whatever circumstances in order to boost the regional economy”, he emphasized. The RC was speaking during the region’s 2017 Press Freedom Day hosted by Mara Regional Press Club (MRPC) at Matvilla Beach and attended by key development partners including North Mara Gold Mine which has spent significant resources on the development of local communities in the area. The RC is bullish that Mara Region was geared for bigger things to come: new large factories to produce sugar, cooking oil and cement, among others. Investment into the envisaged sugar factory which starts with the introduction of sugar farming in Tarime District would begin this year, opening up opportunity for establishment of a meat factory later. Currently, the whole region has more than 400 various industries –most of them small industries. He invited more local and foreign investors to turn up and invest in the region. In their reports through the regional press club, Mara journalists assured the RC that they would continue reporting stories that will help to promote investment on industries in the area. Dr Mlingwa congratulated the journalists and also assured them of continued cooperation. Earlier, the Mara Regional Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO) Manager Ms Frida Mungulu cited agriculture as a key area, where livestock products hold immense investment opportunities within the region– and beyond. “Mara has a large number of livestock …let us all promote investment in the livestock sector and it’s also important to showcase stories of the best performing available industries,” she counseled. She also called for serious investment in the region’s tourism sector.

Shaming women should not be afraid as ‘Fistula’ disease is curable

THE government plans to improve 100 health facilities to enable women suffering from Obstetric Fistula undergo surgical repair, a swift response to a new revelation that only 50 per cent of 3,000 new fistula cases are being handled. The Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Ms Ummy Mwalimu said yesterday that the state was all out to ensure it raises awareness to women that “the disease is treatable.” “Of about 3,000 women who develop fistula, only 1,500 victims receive medication. “The government will use the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula to raise awareness among women that the disease can be treated,” she said yesterday ahead of International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, whose observance is slated for today. Speaking on the same, Dr Hashina Begum, the Representative of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) noted in Dar es Salaam that it was vital to raise awareness on the disease. “Many women and girls who suffer from fistula are excluded from daily community life and often abandoned by their husbands and families,” said the UNFPA envoy. Dr Begum added that isolating them socially and emotionally makes it difficult for them to maintain a source of income or support -- thus deepening their poverty and magnifying their suffering. She said UNFPA and the UN system within the country had in this year procured 67 ambulances to help referral systems and eight coordination vehicles, pointing out both ambulances and coordination vehicles had since been handed over to the health ministry. “We’ve increased access to availability of family services to all women and men including young people, who wish to delay and reduce the number of pregnancies at an early age which is another factor leading to developing fistula,” she observed. “This condition affects those who lack access to timely, high-quality, and life-saving maternal health care they need and deserve.... So more awareness, funds to cater for their treatment is needed to help women and girls who suffer from fistula,” said Dr Begum. Dr Begum acknowledged the participation of partners including AMREF, CCBRT, MOHDGEC and the Tanzania Midwives Association (TAMA) for their collaboration to end obstetric fistula in the country. The Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) Programme Manager, Mr Clement George, said CCBRT had for the past five years provided lifechanging surgery to over 4,000 women living with fistula, saying there were still 15,000 women still living with fistula. “The youngest fistula patient to undergo surgery in CCBRT was aged 12 while the oldest was aged 82… and she had lived with fistula for 66 years,” he observed. Nineteen year old Sikujua Mabula from Kagera region who is currently receiving treatment at Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) pointed out that she was impregnated at the age of 17 and therefore had to get married. “A few months after the marriage, my husband told me to return home because life was getting tough, promising to come for me when things are better I used to attend clinic and the doctors said the baby was big and I could only give birth through caesarean, a few months before my due date, my mother in law told me to return home,” noted Mabula.

How DFID program helps cover water shortages in Tanzania

LOCAL Government Authorities (LGAs) have greater chance to expand water coverage network through the use of more than 78.6 million UK Sterling Pounds (about 250bn/-) disbursed by the Department For International Development (DFID) to implement rural water supply programme (2016- 2020). The Ministry of Water and Irrigation Assistant Director Eng Jackson Mutazamba said at the technical orientation workshop on payment by results scheme for council directors in Morogoro yesterday that only few councils have accessed to the donor funds after fulfilling all the requirements. “There is sufficient funds compared to the councils’ capacity to access them that would help establish and rehabilitate water projects for reliable water supply particularly to the rural population,” he said. Payment by Result programme is a performance based programmed implemented by DFID in partnership with the government with a view to expand and provide support in order expand rural water coverage network. He said eligibility of the council will be based on the quality of data submitted particularly accuracy and a timely month to month reports. The qualifying LGAs will receive two levels of payment namely 50 British Pounds per each water point and 1,500 British Pounds for an additional functioning of water point above previous baseline. Last year, only 57 councils qualified for the large grant and received each 5,000 British UK pounds. On her part, the Assistant Director, Rural Water Supply Department in the Ministry of Water and Irrigation Ms Rita Kilua said the technical solutions retained are based on functional options relating to water sources, point water supplies, transmission, storage and distribution, as adopted on similar water schemes that were recently implemented in the country. The government is implementing a twenty year (2006-2025) Water Sector Development Programme (WSDP), which encompasses rural and urban water supply and sanitation, sanitation and hygiene, water resources management and institutional capacity building components. According to the WaterAid state of the world’s water 2016 report, in 16 countries, more than 40 per cent of the population does not have access to even a basic water facility such as a protected well. People from impoverished, marginalised communities have no choice but to collect dirty water from open ponds and rivers, or spend large chunks of their income buying water from vendors.  “This water is always a health risk; in many cases, it proves deadly. Globally, diarrhoea diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation are the second biggest child killer after pneumonia, taking 315,000 young lives every year,” the report reads in part.