Samia hints at reshuffle, scorns 2025 maneuvers

05Jan 2022
Getrude Mbago
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Samia hints at reshuffle, scorns 2025 maneuvers

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday hinted at a major reshuffle to put up a team that can bring development to Tanzanians, saying the current cabinet is being hampered by groupings engaged in machinations towards the 2025 General Elections.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Speaking after receiving a report on implementing development projects using the 1.3trn/- loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the State House in Dar es Salaam, the president expressed disappointment at the current state of affairs.

She declared that she will relieve some people of their duties so that they have enough time to focus on those affairs that have nothing to do with serving Tanzanians, insisting that she wasn’t conducting all the development efforts and struggles for the 2025 General Elections, but for improving the lives of all Tanzanians.

“I will soon conduct a cabinet reshuffle soon and I will strictly choose those whom I think will support my vision of bringing development to Tanzanians,” she affirmed, pointing out recent statements and position taking on the IMF loans.

All this is just because of the stress of the coming 2025 General Elections and this because some of them don’t believe in the speed I am going with to bring development in this country,” she further stated, appealing to leaders at all levels to continue supervising proper utilisation of the IMF funds so as to achieve intended goals and impacts to the society.

“There are a lot of rumours and negative speech in the streets that the funds were not being put to what was intended, so (leaders) must go and ensure that the funds are well spent. If it is the procurement of equipment, then make sure that it is properly implemented,” she explained.

The Head of State said the government has a commitment of 7trn/- in loans from various institutions to finance development projects and thus stimulate economic growth.

“I recently sent my finance ministers both from the Union and Zanzibar governments to seek for loans in various organisations which I trust and they obtained commitment for 7trn/- in loans, mainly soft loans with favourable conditions. So we will continue taking loans to push Tanzania’s development forward,” the president declared.

A considerable portion of the lately agreed loans will be directed to the agriculture and fisheries sectors, she stated, asserting that once the talks are completed and the funds signed, “we will invest much in the agriculture sector especially in irrigation programmes as well as improving the fisheries sector.”

“Taking loans didn't start in 2021, it started from independence and Tanzania sometimes became a highly-indebted (poor) country, but we sorted it out and we are going on well,” she explained, referring to the debt restructuring period in the late 1990s.

President Samia commended leaders from the national to village level for supervising the implementation of various projects under the programme and ensuring that they are completed on time.

“Ministers, regional, district and other executives are working hard and often tirelessly to ensure that the projects are implemented well and at required standards of quality,” she paid homage before the gathering, insisting that leaders must supervise and ensure that all school-age children are registered in school to set forth their dreams in life.

“I want to see children from pre-school, standard one and form one in school, so leaders have a role to educate and monitor parents to ensure that they send the children to school. We have constructed enough infrastructures, we should ensure that children get an education,” Samia said, emphasizing that local collections cannot finance all development projects, so seeking external loans is unavoidable.

Finance and Planning Minister Dr Mwigulu Nchemba said at the event that the $567.25 (1.3trn/-) funds from IMF are denominated as a soft and non-interest loan, and until December 31, a total of 774.7bn/- had been disbursed to support the implementation of various development projects countrywide.

“The water sector was given 139.4bn/; health 466.9bn/-, education 368.9bn/-, with other funds directed to Zanzibar,” he stated, noting that a range of other projects was also included, with the funds financing the construction of 15,000 classrooms across the country.

“A total of 245 contracts to conduct improvements in the health sector have been set up, with 106 contracts signed already, which include the installation of MRI (magnetic resonance image) machines in all zonal hospitals, plus CT scan and x-ray machines in all regional hospitals,” he said.

In the water sector, equipment procurement procedures for 172 water projects have been completed, setting the pace for further strengthening water supply services, he stated.

A total of 161bn/- has been collected in mobile transaction levies from July to November, 2021 with 90bn/- already directed to broaden higher learning students’ loans, he affirmed, elaborating that funds collected from mobile transaction levies were directed to primary education, construction and improvement of 3000 newly built primary and secondary schools, construction of health centres and other immediate needs.

The minister appealed to the public to continue paying taxes and levies in a voluntary spirit so as to support the government’s efforts to achieve the country’s development goals, noting that Tanzania is rated as one among countries whose economies are solid and can continue taking loans.

On the level of the national debt, the minister said an evaluation was conducted in November and showed that the debt is consistent with debt servicing capacity.

“Debt is not a gift or a donation, but is given to someone who exhibits the capability to repay the loan, or else Tanzania could not have managed to get all these loans, so Tanzanians should ignore street arguments about the national debt,” he declared.

He said in the assurance that the national debt level is healthy and people should not worry about anything as the government is making all efforts to facilitate implementation of various development projects envisaged while ensuring that social services are closer to the people.

He pointedly cited remarks from the Speaker of the National Assembly, Job Ndugai, quoted as saying that the sixth phase government had taken loans of over 10trn/- in just nine months, which the minister discounted as fabricated and totally untrue.

“The sixth phase government pays over 800bn/- per month to service the debt, which includes loans obtained in previous phases of government, he explained.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said the implementation of various strategic development projects has stimulated economic development and produced direct and indirect employment to large numbers of people.

He praised the work of President Samia, saying she has done a tremendous job including restoring democracy, uplifting diplomatic relations and facilitating the implementation of various strategic projects in the country.

Due to a changing investment environment, the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) registered record collections of 2.51trn/- in the past month, surpassing the goal of collecting 2.29trn/-it had set earlier.

The national committee for coordinating and supervising the implementation of projects under the IMF funds was carrying out its work properly, witnessing agreeable progress of the projects in numerous water, education, health and tourism sector projects, he stated.

“We conducted tours in various areas of Ruvuma, Mbeya and other regions and we witnessed a great job done by ministerial departments, regional and district authorities and they should be commended. We are working to ensure that up to June 2022, all the projects will have been completed,” he asserted.

Vice President Dr Philip Mpango hinted on the note that Tanzania has been blessed with plenty of natural resources and under the leadership of President Samia, the country will now go even farther.

He commended Tanzanians for supporting the government’s efforts by paying tax and various levies so as to support the implementation of various development projects, appealing to President Samia to look forward and not pay attention to detractors in the big job of serving the country and its people.

“Tanzania is not in the group of debt distressed countries; we are in a moderate risk level which is not bad, so still have a capability to continue taking loans,” he added.