The public and members of parliament yesterday challenged
the government to look for alternative sources of revenue instead of relying on the traditional sources.
Reacting in interviews immediately after Finance minister Dr William Mgimwa tabled his budget proposals, some members of parliament said the budget has increased but the government has not outlined strategic plans to control expenditure.
Leader of Opposition in the Parliament Freeman Mbowe said the government has traditionally increased taxes on soft drinks, beers, spirits and cigarette and wine instead of looking beyond these into other sources of income.
He cited construction industry saying that it could be one of the important sources of government revenue.
Mbowe also challenged the government to control expenditure, saying it had not shown enough commitment to do so, through cutting down unnecessary allowances as stated in the national development plan.
He said the budget also lacked plans to support farmers who constitute 75 percent of the country’s population.
Mbowe who is the Hai MP said the government has outlined plans to curb inflation such as establishing sugar plantations and factories as well as providing permits for importing sugar, but it does not state how this will help to reduce inflation.
Kigoma–South MP David Kafulila (NCCR-Mageuzi) said the budget has been focused on expenditure rather than development.
He said out of the 15trn/- set for the budget for the financial year 2012/2013 only 4trn/- has been set aside for development.
“This shows that there is no hope for future development. The government should also outline measures to curb overexpenditure,” Kafulila said.
He proposed to cut down expenditure on official trips abroad by allowing only the President, Speaker and Chief Justice to use business class.
Bariadi –West MP John Cheyo said there were still challenges in harmonising revenue and expenditure in the budget.
“The government spends too much while it collects very little,” Cheyo said.
He also said that the country was still dependent on external support in development budget, noting that the system will continue to affect development activities in the country.
Cheyo also challenged the government to look for other sources of revenue.
Wolfgang Solzbacher whois director of kfw Bank of Germany said the budget figures are very high but the actual money spent for development programme is meagre
He said the budget of this year is better than last year’s which was too ambitious.
The outspoken Kigoma North Legislator Kabwe Zitto, said it is a budget which will benefit people living in urban areas.
He pointed out that the budget has provided relief for the use of natural gas for home cooking which is mostly used by urban dwellers.
However he commended the government for introducing excise duty on music and film products saying the move would improve the lives of local artists.
On the national debt, Zitto said the government has to make sure it uses effectively all the money borrowed.
He said the government should channel more money into development plans and cut unnecessary spending.
For his part, Mpendae Member of parliament (CCM) Salim Turky praised the budget as generally good for cutting across all issues.
However he said the government was not supposed to increase tax on soft drinks. He proposed a heavy taxing of beer and spirits.
He urged the government to use the foreign aid more effectively which would fast track development.
The Chairman of Civic United Front (CUF ) Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, said the government has failed to meet its commitment in agriculture.
He said in the year 2010 the government set aside 3 percent of the budget for agriculture while last year only 1.6 percent was allocated.
“Tanzania including many African countries have already committed to increase their budget in agriculture to ten percent. With this trend we cannot alleviate poverty, Prof Lipumba said, adding: “Since 50 percent of costs go to food and there is need to support agriculture to improve livelihood of Tanzanians.”
He also urged the government to cut expenses and put the money into development projects.
“Recurrent budget has been increasing anually. This is not healthy for the development of this nation. We have to make sure it come down,” he concluded.