President Jakaya Kikwete yesterday promised that programmes and policies that are broad based and pro poor will be implemented so as to ensure that every Tanzanian enjoys the benefits of economic growth.
The President made the remarks yesterday in Dar es Salaam when opening a one-day conference on unleashing growth potentials in Tanzania to create an inclusive growth, organised by the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF).
In his speech read by the Deputy Minister for Finance Saada Salum, he said the government will increase resources and strengthen institutions such as local government authorities that have direct dealings with the ordinary people.
President Kikwete who is in Dodoma for other government activities said that is the only way to make majority people enjoy the benefits of economic growth.
“We will continue investing more in social services and improve the quality of education, health and social safety nets for vulnerable persons and communities,” he said
He noted that despite impressive growth and macroeconomic stability, the majority of people remained poor. Statistics show that from 2001 to 2007 the overall household poverty fell by a marginal rate of 2 percent from 35.7 percent to 33.6 percent in Mainland Tanzania and from 49 percent to 44.7 percent in Zanzibar.
He noted that mining and telecommunications which spurred the growth of the economy do not support directly the majority of the people especially those in rural areas.
“Majority of our people depend on agriculture and unfortunately it is characterised by low productivity and therefore not among the attractive income generating activities especially for the youth,” said President Kikwete.
He said experience has shown that unless agriculture and the rural economy is transformed, the desire to achieve inclusive growth will remain a dream.
“There is no doubt in our minds that the growth of agriculture will have a huge direct impact on the overall incomes of 75percent of the entire Tanzania population,” he added.
President Kikwete said given Tanzania’s agricultural potential, its transformation will have a greater impact on the overall economic growth and development of the country.
He said many other sectors such as agro processing, manufacturing and service industry in the agricultural value chain will benefit.
According to him the spillover effect has already occurred in other developing countries with characteristics similar to those of Tanzania.
He cited the successful green revolution in Brazil, India, Vietnam and other Asian countries as the main force behind their current economic strength.
He also said vibrancy in the other sectors of the economy is equally important for unleashing Tanzania’s growth potentials.
“This calls for a rapid transformation of our industrial, tourism, mining and other sectors of the economy,” he stated
He said industrial transformation will enable the country to sell more value added products, create more job opportunities and earn more income.
Speaking earlier, the ESRF Executive Director Dr Bohela Lunogelo said the main objective of the conference was to exchange views and experiences for Tanzania’s growth potentials as has been revealed in the implementation of a number of development frameworks.
He said Tanzania is facing a number of challenges to the realisation of an inclusive economic growth as stipulated in the National Development Vision (TDV 2025).
For his part, Prof Humphrey Moshi a renowned economist from the University of Dar es Salam urged the government to involve the military in the efforts to increase food production in order to reduce inflation.
“The government should empower the National Service (JKT) and Prison department to enable them engage in agriculture rather than depending on small scale farmers,” he suggested.
He underscored the need to increase funding for irrigation farming instead of depending on rains.
The conference attracted more than 80 participants mainly researchers, the business community, diplomats, politicians, academicians and senior government officials.