In her speech to welcome the New Year yesterday, President Samia said 2121 wasn’t smooth for Tanzania as it was full of ups and downs, happiness and sadness as well as growth and downturns.
“In the year 2021 our nation passed through difficult times following the death of our Head of State Dr John Magufuli while in office and then Zanzibar First Vice President Seif Sharif Hamad,” she said.
“It was a moment of mourning not only for our nation but the entire continent of Africa.”
The president said that the disruptions occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic led to growth regression from 7.0 per cent for fiscal 2019/2020 to 4.8 per cent in the 2020/2021 financial year.
The economic downturn was caused mainly by border closers and consequent international travel restrictions which resulted in decline in tourism and other economic activities, with steps taken to close borders and related restrictions by many countries including those with intense trade relations with Tanzania.
“Secondly, our country had above normal rains which vastly damaged infrastructure and delayed implementation of some key development projects,” she said.
Also, towards the end of 2021, Tanzania witnessed inflation reaching 4.1 per cent, caused mainly by the hike in oil prices and impacts of the pandemic, as factories shut down causing supply chain problems in world economy, she said.
Despite the distressing challenges, Tanzania remained a peaceful and united country with solidarity amongst citizens, she stating, noting further that despite the Covid-19 disruptions, “we posted positive economic growth, being among 11 African countries that did so out of 54.”
“This was possible because we allowed our people to continue with economic activities instead of putting in place lockdowns like other countries,” she said.
To avoid negative economic impact, the government ensured that inflation is controlled between three and five per cent as well as ensuring availability of foreign reserve, she affirmed, highlighting that as of yesterday, Tanzania had around $6.253bn which is enough for importation of essentials for up to seven months.
“To attract investors and inject money into circulation, we conducted reforms in policies and the legal, regulatory and administrative aspects and as a result we registered 237 investments worth $4.144bn in 2021, up from 186 projects worth $1.013bn the previous year,” the president underlined.
In the agriculture sector, the government empowered the Tanzania Agriculture Development Bank (TADB) with a 208bn/- infusion in additional capital to enable the lender reach more farmers with loans, she said.
Tanzania removed trade barriers and opened produce sale centres in Kenya, South Sudan, China, India, Ukraine, the European Union, the SADC zone as well as Saudi Arabia, she stated, expressing satisfaction with tourism that it was hardest-hit globally during 2020 but has rapidly shown signs of recovery in the final months of last year.
“As of December 2021, the tourism sector had managed to register 1.4m visitors compared to 620,867 during all of 2020,” she added.