- Published on Sunday, 17 June 2012 04:48
- Written by EDITOR
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Mixed reactions to the proposed budget for the 2012/2013 financial year three days after it was tabled in the National Assembly in Dodoma on Thursday continue to flow in.
Analysts have dissected the 15.12 tril/- Finance and Economic Affairs minister, Dr William Mgimwa’s proposal and observed several shortcomings that need further clarification. With an increase of about eleven per cent over the previous budget, analysts still believe it is not enough to rid the over 44 million Tanzanians out of poverty.
Majority of these people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihood and economic development. The government’s proposed priority this time is improvement on electricity production. Apparently this is a priority for industrialists and investors.
Only about ten per cent of Tanzanians who are mostly town dwellers have access to electricity. The Confederation of Tanzania Industrialists (CTI) has commended the 2012/2013 budget, describing it as a relatively good budget that will stimulate economic growth, according to its chairperson Mr Felix Mosha.
The government also won praise for allocating adequate funds for the construction of the natural gas pipeline from Mtwara
to Dar es Salaam. CTI is saying it will boost electricity generation to bridge the present gap between demand and generation capacity.
Priority for majority of Tanzanians, according to public reaction to the proposed budget estimates, is reliable infrastructure of railway and roads networks, ports and airports. It is believed it will provide permanent solutions to the many social and economic challenges the country is currently facing. One thing is amiss about the estimates and over dependence on external financing of the budgets.
The country’s budget is still heavily dependent on donors through the General Budget Supports (GBS). Currently it stands at about 40 per cent. This is not healthy for a country that is striving to reduce donor dependence. We hope that the minister will provide answers on strategies to reduce donor dependence, especially now that it is striving to become a middle class country, according to the National Vision for 2025.
We are aware of recent moves by the fourth-phase government to advocate for green revolution under the ‘Kilimo Kwanza’ initiative. It has motivated scores of people to develop interest and invest in agriculture development. The hope is that more cash and food crops will be expected from both small and medium scale farmers across the country.
Reliable infrastructure in both road and railway networks will motivate farmers from Mbeya, Iringa, Rukwa, Morogoro, Ruvuma and Kigoma, the bread basket for the country, to transport agricultural produce to trading centres including Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Mwanza and beyond.
But despite the importance of infrastructure, especially the railway networks, TAZARA and the once famous central and northern railway lines, are in pathetic condition. Tanzanians who relied on railways as the most reliable and cheapest means of transport are bitter the infrastructure has been abandoned. True to their concern, the railway line from Dar es Salaam to Arusha specifically built to transport coffee and sisal from the northern zone, has been left to die a natural death.
The central line is not any better, cancellations and breakdowns are the order of the day while TAZARA which is jointly owned by Tanzania and Zambia through support from the Chinese government is almost a white elephant despite promises to strengthen it. We agree with concerns by the private sector that the government should increase the budget on development projects in order to speed up economic growth and rid Tanzanians out of poverty.