Members of Parliament have faulted the government’s proposed national development plan for 2012/2013 saying it was not practical and was not addressing the actual needs of the ordinary Tanzanians and the nation at large.
Debating the plan which was tabled here yesterday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, some Members of Parliament said there was no logic for the government to continue depending on donor funds and loans at the time when those countries were also suffering economically.
The plan was tabled by the Minister of State, President’s Office, Civil Society Relations and Coordination, Stephen Wassira, when the Parliament sat as a planning committee, allowing professionals from the government, particularly ministry of finance and department of planning in the president's office to participate.
Karatu MP Reverend Israel Natse said the plan was hanging and failed to consider the ordinary people who are the major contributors to the national economy.
“We have professionals who have been misleading us. We have very good plans, but it is our neighbours who adopt and use them very efficiently, while we just keep them on the shelves,” observed Natse.
He said if the government wanted its plans to succeed, it has to involve people at the grassroots level.
Kalenga MP Dr William Mgimwa said they wanted to be sure that the plan would have impact on the country’s economy, warning if the government failed to draw up a proper budget and control misappropriation of public funds, then the country would not reach far.
Dr Mgimwa who is an economist called for improvement in revenue collection, noting: “We only collected 5.7trillion shillings against 10.2 trillion shillings which we spent,” he said.
“We want the new mining laws to function properly and ensure that planes landing in mining areas are monitored closely for proper control of our minerals,” he said.
Dr. Mgimwa said electricity was another issue that needed to be solved for the country to prosper.
Nkasi North MP Ally Kessy Mohammed said: “The plan we are discussing here is based on loans from donors who are suffering from the same problem. They don’t have money. Germany, France, even America don’t have money. Where are we going to access these funds?” he asked.
“But other things mentioned here are also unattainable. They are talking of investing in fruits when we have plenty rotting here. Again they are talking of supporting farmers when tractors are rusting in Dodoma and Dar es Salaam. How is this going to function?” he asked, advising the government to stop issuing tax exemption to all people.
“Let people pay tax. We want the government to ensure that every body and all companies pay tax,” he stressed.
In his presentation, Dr Abdallah Kigoda who is the chairman of the parliamentary committee on Finance and economy challenged the plan saying it should strengthen strong economic management.
Dr Kigoda observed: “There has been a lot of mishandling of the budget. This is evidence of weak economic management. We need changes in the tabled plan.”
When tabling the plan, Wassira named seven priority areas including infrastructure which incorporated transport and transportation, roads, production and distribution of electricity.
The second area according to Wassira is agriculture. Other areas are industry, tourism, financial services, information, communication, technology (ICT), clean, safe water and sewerage water, and human resources development.
The minister said that for efficient implementation of the government would need to secure special loans to attract private sector investment.
He suggested that to start with the government will need USD 540million (864bn/-) for the strategic investments to take place.
“It was estimated that it will cost the government 8.6trillion/- to implement the five-year national development plan.
Meanwhile, some members of Parliament have expressed their dissatisfaction over the Prime Minister’s response over the issue of ministers accused of misappropriation of public funds.
The leader of the opposition in the House, Freeman Mbowe said people were tired with the kind of government that doesn’t give hope to the public.
Mbowe said many people had expected the Prime Minister to speak on the action the government planned to take against the accused.
For his part, Deo Filikunjombe, Ludewa MP said people had expected the PM to speak on the fate of the accused ministers, adding: “We have seen how the MPs were hitting at the government.” Kahama MP James Lembeli said the PM’s speech at the end of the seventh meeting, of the tenth parliament had nothing to please wananchi.
“Today’s Tanzanians are not of yesterday. The act by the Prime minister not to say a word on the ministers while he had promised that he would do so on Monday was wrong,” he said.
However Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda adjourning the National Assembly session on Monday said the government would work on the issues related to massive corruption, embezzlement of funds, accountability, raised by members of Parliament.
He pledged government commitment to work on the MPs’ suggestions and recommendations on the respective issues, which have drawn public attention in the last two weeks.
“We heard MPs’ concerns…the government has received their views and advice…we will work on them,” he said.
Pinda assured MPs that the government would take appropriate actions to enhance governance and accountability in the public domain.