Three sectors lead the pack in pushing economic growth

Finance and Planning Minister, Dr Phillip Mpango

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COMMUNICATION, transport and construction sectors contributed highly in the first half of 2017 by pushing economic growth at an average of 6.8 per cent, the government has stated.

Finance and Planning Minister, Dr Phillip Mpango said the three sectors had contributed enormously in the economy that has remained strong for the past decades.

Unveiling the fiscal 2018 budget of 32.476trn/- and the proposed National Development Plan in the National Assembly, the Minister also said the agriculture sector growth had risen to 3.1 per cent from 2.7 per cent in 2016.

But, Parliamentary Committee on Budget sounded an alarm that the decision to sideline Natural Resources and Tourism, Livestock and Fisheries industries as key component sector in economy growth could greatly cost the nation.

Dr Mpango could not divulge further details and insisted economic projections and outlooks indicate that the national economy is strong. “Inflation rate has relatively remained under single digit, thanks to an increased supply of food in the local and neighbouring countries’ markets,” he said.

In addition, stable global oil prices and appropriate implementation of monetary policy had effectively improved the country’s economic status. The government is implementing a 31.6trn/- budget that ends in June 2018 and reports unveiled yesterday show that the national public debt had increased by 17 per cent to 26.1trn/- as of June 2017.

Finance and Planning Minister defended the new adjust ment from 22.3trn/- in June 2016, saying it was a result of increased funding for strategic cities, construction of standard gauge railway (SGR), expansion of Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit (DART) project as well as the clean water supply implemented by Dar es Salaam water utilities DAWASA and DAWASCO.

Dr Mpango highlighted “revenue leakages, minimal reception towards paying tax voluntarily, as well as weakness in revenue collection among government ministries, agencies and departments” as setbacks in implementing the budget during the first half of the year.

He said, however, that the government has embarked on strengthening its systems, identifying and registering taxpayers and improve non-tax revenue collection. Ms Hawa Ghasia, the Chairperson of the Bunge Budget Committee presenting the Committee’s opinion said per capita income had risen from 979.1 US dollars in 2016 to 1,025.7 US dollars in 2017.

Even though, she said the government must come up with strategies and implement policies that would help attainment of the 2025 development plans and targets, which include a per capita income of 3,000 US dollars.

With GDP increasing to 25.54trn/- from 23.92trn/- in the previous year, the average growth rate had slowed down compared to 7.7 per cent recorded in the same period last year. Citing the National Bureau of Statistics report, Ms Ghasia said the mining sector contributed 26.1 per cent, ICT (13.0 per cent), transportation (11.3 per cent) and construction (8.6 per cent).

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