Samia now presses democracy button

23Apr 2021
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Samia now presses democracy button
  • *Wants education to be skills oriented

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday indicated that she will make major changes aimed at expanding democratic space, improving diplomatic relations and sacking lax government officials.

In her maiden address to the National Assembly, the president said she is expecting to meet leaders of political parties for discussions on how to make the country’s democracy vibrant again, underlining that democracy is a key component of development.

“We’ll review laws, policies and regulations to make the private sector vibrant so that investors can smoothly start new ventures,” she said, nodding to MPs to do their work freely in law making, representing their constituents and conducting oversight of the government.

“Criticize us as much as you can; criticize my ministers if they come here with petty issues,” she said.

“The government is ready to accept your positions, stand with you. However, when you do so, use parliamentary language.”

President Samia said she intends to review the country’s foreign policy of the past two decades to match with current trends of economic diplomacy, including working on deployment of officers in foreign missions in line with one’s area of specialization.

Another area where the president said will make changes was the education sector where she said the government shall review the sector’s 2014 policy to make it skills oriented.

“We want to make our education provide skills to learners to match with current market needs which require skilled people in each area,” the president underlined.

She pointedly issued notice of a shake up in the water sector especially by reshuffling regional water engineers for failure to implement water projects in time. Scores of projects have taken a long time and billions of taxpayers’ money has been embezzled, she lamented.

The government will also increase funding to the water fund to ensure the goal of providing water to 85 percent of rural areas and 95 percent for urban areas by 2025 is attained as indicated in the election manifesto.

The government has been pumping a lot of funds into the area but there has been no tangible results, she said, noting further that the government will look for new sources of water like harvesting rain water and constructing water reservoirs to make water available all round..

President Samia sounded out that the government will not tolerate negligence, corruption and laxity, pointing out that many now believe it is time to relax.

“Let me tell you that those who think, seriousness in management of public funds has gone with the departed president should think twice because this is just a copy and paste of the previous government in this area,” she asserted.

As to the livestock sector, the government will increase grazing areas but also introduce technology in modern livestock husbandry, she said.

The government will finalize talks on the stalled Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant in Lindi Region, which has made little progress since it was mooted nearly a decade ago.

President Samia said that the government will also conduct a comprehensive review of Air Tanzania Corporation (ATCL)  so as to further beef up the national carrier’s fleet and bring it to profitable operations..

The government will invest heavily in the rehabilitation and expansion of airports, and conduct a deep analysis on ATCL to find the right bearings, hire competent people to carry out the new direction, she stated.

In agriculture, the focus will be on the production of quality seeds, farming inputs and supportive services like storage facilities in villages to stem excessive post-harvest crop wastage.

The president urged systematic technological change in agro-livestock practices, pointing out the use of low yield seeds making crop cultivation, livestock rearing as leaving the farmers and herders poor.

The government will empower the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) and the Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA) by providing more funds to produce more improved seeds and reduce importation.

She said the government has been spending lots of money to import seeds while the country has enough breeders who can produce quality seeds to boost crop production.

Citing examples, Samia said one acre of cotton in Tanzania produces just 200kg but in other countries more than 1000kg of cotton is harvested per acre.

“That’s why it is important for our institutions to venture into hefty production of improved seeds,” she emphasised, pointing out a growing problem of markets for agricultural produce.

The government will facilitate agro-processing industries to widen the market for locally grown agricultural crops.

“We will also empower the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) so as to enable it to issue loans to more small-holder farmers,” she said.

The government will also purchase eight fishing ships to work in Zanzibar and the Mainland so as to improve the fishery industry.

“If we want to grow economically, we have to invest in industrial parks so as to attract investors from various parts” she said: “These will create more employment opportunities for our people.”

The sixth phase government will continue strengthening markets for minerals by setting up more selling centres and processing units, she added.

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