Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Mbowe and other top Chadema leaders appears in court

The National chairman of the leading opposition party in Tanzania known in shot as Chadema and a Member of Parliament (MP) for Hai constituency Hon. Freeman Mbowe was yesterday charged before the Kisutu Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam allegedly for staging an illegal demonstration in Dar es Salaam. Mbowe’s appearance in court came moment after the deputy chief zonal investigation officer at Dar es Salaam based Central police station to  whom he was reporting together with his colleagues for interrogation decided to waive out their bail after they had flouted conditions and ordered them taken to court. 

The Chairman of the opposition Chadema party Hon. Freeman Mbowe (second left) is accompanied by other leaders at Central Police Station in Dar es Salaam.

Others are the party’s Secretary General Dr. Vincent Mashinji, deputy party’s secretary general for mainland Mr. John Mnyika, deputy secretary general (Zanzibar) Mr. Salum Mwalimu, a member of the party’s National Executice Committee (NEC) Mr. Peter Msigwa who is also an MP for Iringa urban, and an MP for Tarime urban Esther Matiko. Before the court, Mbowe and his colleagues have been accused of staging an illegal demonstration contrary to the country’s rules and regulation which took place on 16th February 2018 at Mwananyamala suburb in Kinondoni district in Dar es Salaam region. The demonstrations are alleged to have caused the death of one student of National Institute of Transport (NIT) based in Dar es Salaam city Ms. Akwilina Akwilini when the anti-riot police came into confrontation with the demonstrators in their attempt to stop them.

CAG report suspends two DEDs for investigations

As what people might havev said is a move to maximize efforts towards the fighjt agaist graft in the country, the general public yesterday were puzzled by the quick decision by his Execellency Presiodent Dr. John Magufuli when he ordered an immediate suspension of the two distreict councilors of Ujiji-Kigoma and that of Pangani-Tanga. This is decision which must be congratulated because it shows how serious the government is on the issue of corruption. President Magufuli made a decvision after he had hailed the auditing report which shows improvements in government institutions and local authorities but insisted, “I think we have to take action; directors of the two councils should be suspended because they have ashamed the country and I have the authority to give such an order.” He said. According to the report, there is improvement in public institutions to 97 per cent, Regional Administration and Local Government, 90 per cent and central government to 86 per cent. The President handed over the CAG dossier to Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa to review with his subordinates. Earlier, the Premier said he is ready for any President’s directives, saying any authorities should be accountable in their capabilities. The audit report of the Controller and Accounts General (CAG) for the 2017/18 financial year has shown that, the national debt has amounted from Tshs. 42 tr/- to Tshs. 46 tr/- since the fifth phase government came into being. 

President Dr. John Magufuli receives copies of the audit reports from the Controller and Audit General Professor Musa Assad yesterday at State House in Dar es Salaam

This is an increase of 2 percent. The CAG Professor Musa Assad presented his audit finding reports to President Dr. John Magufuli at a grand ceremony held at the State House in Dar es Salaam and attended by high ranking government officials including Prime Minister and Chairpersons of various Parliamentary Committees. Prof. Assad recommended in his report and said that, generally to a greater extent there were good performances resulted into good of tax collections to the government. He also said that, fewer district councils this time around received bad certificates of performances such as the Ujiji Municipal Council in Kigoma town and Pangani district councils. The two have shown bad performances of all councils in the country. The report showed bad performances in some government’s institutions such as at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) had been found with some irregularities where there was a contract entered, and he also mentioned Dar es Salaam Ports Authority (TPA) which he said its operations were not efficient. Either in his report, he has recommended various ways on how the government can take in order vtk avert any irregularities that might block efforts to maximize government‘s revenues and advised the ways on how to take necessary steps.  However, he noted in his report that human medicines worth Tshs. 4 billion which had been kept in various godowns owned by the Medical Stores Department (MSD) in the country got expired due to negligence. The CAG report on MSD’s medicines has come a day after the head of State inaugurated about 181 trucks worth Tshs. 20 billion which have been donated by the global fund to the government at the occasion held yesterday at MSD premises yesterday in Dar es Salaam. Prof. Assard said in his report that, the medicines which got expired were due to lack of transportation to various hospitals and dispensaries that could need them or their expiry might have been caused by negligence.

As government has imposed stringent conditions, illicit drugs is soaring

The issue of drug trafficking is a cross cutting issue which is troubling the world as this illegal business has thrived across the borders with security personnel have become perpetrators to make it more lucrative. A joint concerted effort is highly needed in order to eradicate the phenomenon. Demands for illicit drugs is soaring in Tanzania and law enforcement authorities say cartels are now targeting school children from rich homes to ‘harvest’ even more profit from the limited drug supplies. State officials told the lawmakers of the HIV and AIDs Affairs Parliamentary Committee that operations targeting drug traffickers across the country had affected drug supply. Instead, drug traffickers were now increasingly investing in clandestine industries to produce new ‘psychotropic’ substances as an alternative means to scarce cocaine and heroin in the market. “Drug cartels are now targeting children from rich homes … it’s the only way they can sell their drugs and get profit … in turn, these kids influence others and are used to deliver drugs to other users,” says the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled), Ms Jenista Mhagama. The price of a pellet has since jumped to 10,000/- , from just 2,000/-, further limiting many of the drug users to pay for increased dosage. Unofficial figure indicate there could be close to 1.5 million drug users across Tanzania, but a study conducted in 2014 showed there were nearly half a million drug users in the country. Dr Peter Musisi, Commissioner for Prevention and Treatment of the Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA) says: “We have controlled importation of illicit drugs on Mainland Tanzania.” He acknowledged, however, that operations on the Mainland have since moved most of their operations into Zanzibar where they claim ‘its legislations are still friendly.’ In less than a year, Dr Musisi noted that his Authority had impounded over 400,000 litres of imported chemicals which, if converted, would form part of new psychotropic substance, and if not administered by physicians could cause serious health complications including death. DCEA says it had since inspected around 100 companies – just half of at least 2,000 companies that import such drugs. “Most of the substance drugs are legally allowed to be imported and are used to suppress severe pain … but these drugs must only be administered by the doctor,” he said, noting drug traffickers were now using the substances instead of fighting imports of illicit drugs. DCEA Commissioner-General Rogers Sianga says his Authority is also ‘cleaning up’ production of cannabis. “We have cleaned in Arusha, we’re now targeting Tanga and Morogoro,” he explained. He said the Authority needs financial boost to ensure the country was completely protected from drug abuse, and that, every day, drug traffickers were developing new smuggling routes and techniques but insisted: “We’re fighting them.”

Ambassador is optimistic with the completion of a project

Danish Ambassador to Tanzania, Einar Jensen is optimistic that the completion of the ongoing DKK 550 million (204bn/-) Health Sector Programme Support (HSPS) will help to improve the general health status and wellbeing of all Tanzanians. According to the envoy, the five-year programme (2014- 2019) is implemented with special emphasis being placed on women, children and vulnerable groups. He was officiating the DANIDA Consultative Committee for Development Research, thematic Sessions on “Results of Health Sector Research’’ and “Women’s Health,’’ held at the Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH). Mr Jensen said the government of Denmark had been supporting the health sector in Tanzania for many decades since 1994. “This support is provided as a long-term HSPS which is now in phase five of the support in the health sector and our support is provided through the health sector priorities reflected in the health sector strategic plan,’’ he said. The Danish envoy further said there was a need to explore the causes and effects of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Tanzania and come up with appropriate solutions. “For example, we need to know how to address the issues of cultural practices, taboos and norms that contribute to increased incidence of NCDs and think about appropriate policy decisions and actions,’’ she said. He said the country should engage competent researchers through approved agencies that would come up with plausible findings and recommendations that would be accepted by health stakeholders. Researchers convened at COSTECH headquarters in Dar es Salaam on Thursday to share presentations on research findings which were carried out in Tanzania with support from the government of Denmark through DANIDA Fellowship Centre (DFC). DANIDA provides support to a number of researchers through DFC, including some universities in Tanzania through Building Stronger Universities (BSU). Mr Jensen also emphasised that there was a dire need for evidence- based data from researchers that can be used to reduce a high maternal death in Tanzania, which is increasing despite the efforts being undertaken in different interventions. “The research findings confirm the challenges that Tanzania like other developing countries were facing on resolving the double burden of both communicable and NCDs, therefore, efforts were needed to address these challenges, to rescue depletion of the resources in the health sector,’’ said the ambassador. COSTECH Acting Director General, Prof Mohammed Sheikh commended the government of Denmark for selecting Tanzania among few developing countries, including Ghana, to work together on Research and Development initiatives. Prof Sheikh, who is the Director of Physical Sciences at COSTECH, said this research collaboration framework came at the right time while the nation promotes industrialization policy. “All the funded research projects will immensely support the country’s development agenda through knowledge generation, innovation and technology promotion and most importantly technology and knowledge transfer and exchange between Denmark and Tanzania,’’ he said

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Supply of industrial sugar, a big problem in Tanzania

Industrialists operating in Tanzania have complained on the importation of industrial sugar in the country saying that it is full of bureaucracy. In view of this, have pleaded with the government to allow industrial sugar importation under the East African Community (EAC) duty remission scheme. Manufacturers of foods, beverages and related products are allowed to import industrial sugar from outside EAC region because none of the block’s six partners produce the raw material. Speaking at the 11th Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) meeting at State House in Dar es Salaam on Monday this week, traders raised concern over the 15 per cent refundable import duty that Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) charges on industrial sugar. The agreed import duty on industrial sugar to all EAC countries is 10 per cent but Tanzania charges an additional refundable duty of 15 per cent, bringing the total duty to 25 per cent. Tanzania imposed the extra 15 per cent to curb misuse of industrial sugar by unscrupulous traders who repackage and resell the product for domestic consumption. Manufacturers described the additional charge as nuisance to investors, saying it takes long time to receive the refund. Nyanza Bottling Company Limited (NBCL) Managing Director Christopher Gachuma said the long outstanding refunds on additional 15 per cent import duty were threatening food and beverage industries. Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) says TRA is yet to remit 35bn/- in additional import duties on industrial sugar to five major industries. CTI has been campaigning for the removal of additional duties on industrial sugar. The confederation insisted that the unprecedented delays in permit issuance had made it difficult for businesspeople to clear their consignments at the port, with further delays likely to result into compounded storage costs and demurrage charges which will adversely affect production. But, President John Magufuli challenged potential investors to instead invest in production of industrial sugar and get rid of imported products. He said the government recently suspended issuance of industrial sugar import permits pending thorough assessment to weed out deceitful traders who repackage and resell the raw material as domestic sugar. Dr Magufuli, addressing the TNBC meeting, said a team of government officials that conducted the thorough assessment of industries that had applied for the import permits, established that only eight industries needed the sweetener for industrial purposes. “These industries had their records straight and they ordered the sugar consignments as per their production operations unlike other factories that requested to import huge consignments against their demand,” he said. He said there were 22 industries that had sought import permits for consignments that were above their factories’ demand. In the assessment report that the team presented to the Head of State last Thursday, there was a ghost factory, Maisha Bottles and Beverages, which asked for the permit to import 7,000 tonnes of industrial sugar. “I thought we were only dealing with ghost workers but in a bizarre turn of events, it appears that we have even ghost factories,” he fumed. Dr Magufuli told over 200 businesspeople who convened at the Magogoni State House that it was high time the country’s business community constructed industrial sugar factories to create more jobs for Tanzanians. With almost 55 million people, Tanzania’s sugar demand per year is estimated at 590,000 tonnes, of which 135,000 tonnes are industrial. The country has a deficit of 125,000 and 135,000 tonnes of domestic and industrial sugar, respectively. The gap is always bridged through imports. “If we can have more industries producing sugar locally, there is no any need to have the Tanzania Sugar Board,’’ charged Dr Magufuli, inviting more investors to invest in the country, which he described as the best place for investment to thrive. He ordered TRA to charge reasonable taxes that do not frustrate traders, saying if there are laws impeding business in the country, they should be forwarded to parliament for amendment. President Magufuli asked government officials to avoid using their positions and discretionary powers to depress traders whom he described as the engine of economic growth, saying “My government loves businesspeople.” He hinted that there are investors from Germany and Denmark who have expressed interest to invest in the Petrochemical plant in Kilwa District, Lindi Region. The 1.92 billion US dollar (about 4tri/-) fertilizer industry is expected to generate 4,000 direct employments, according to Dr Magufuli. He promised the businesspeople that his government will work on all their grievances to create a friendly business environment in the country.