TANZANIA has reiterated its call to international financial institutions and Commonwealth member states to consider debt relief to developing countries.
This will help developing countries to strengthen their financial positions on mitigating the effects of Covid-19 on the continent.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, made a request when representing President John Magufuli at a virtual meeting for Heads of State, Prime Ministers and Ministers for Foreign Affairs from Commonwealth countries.
A statement released by the ministry at the weekend had it that Tanzania once again reminded the importance of cementing existing cooperation among member states for the sake of ensuring unity in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is one of the crucial meetings and we emphasise the importance of cooperation by having strategic plans for international institutions to help developing countries in their industrialisation strategies,” he said.
The minister was of the view that if the suggestions were approved then developing countries would also be able to manufacture their own medicines so that they could be ready for overcoming other tragedies.
He said during the outbreak of Covid-19 most countries stopped exporting medicines and personal protective equipment (PPE) because of the high domestic demand.
“That is why, we, member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) appealed to India which is the largest manufacturer of medicines to consider supplying PPE and drugs to the region in its fight against Covid-19,” he said.
At the meeting, member states also discussed the importance of using technology in the fight against coronavirus and improving health systems and that it was a time for services to be issued at low costs for it to bear fruit.
“It’s good for us to have strategies to fight against disasters of this kind in case they will occur in the future and we have started improving health services among our member states,” he said.
In this case, Tanzania has started constructing hospitals in every district, region as well as health centres and dispensaries across the country. Issues of economy, business, industries, investment and climate change also featured at the meeting.
In April this year, President Magufuli asked the World Bank (WB) and other international financial institutions to provide debt relief for African countries so that they could battle effectively with Covid-19.
Early June this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive board approved debt relief amounting to $14.3m (about 33bn/-) to Tanzania over the next four months.
The debt relief will potentially rise to $25.7m over the next 23 months, the aim being to help free resources for public health needs and other emergency spending, as well as mitigate the shock resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a statement issued by IMF, under Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT), the grant ($14.3m) will cover Tanzania’s debt service falling due to the IMF from June 10 to October 13, this year.