World Bank country director for Tanzania, Malawi, Burundi and Somalia, Bella Bird, unveiled the plan after meeting with President John Magufuli at State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
According to Bella, the bank’s overall support to Tanzania over the years now stands at 10.186trn/-.
She said: “President Magufuli and I chatted about the progress of a number of projects that we are already funding in the country… the implementation of most of these projects is progressing well.”
The latest pledge comes barely a week after the Washington-based global lender announced a temporary freeze on a $50 million (equivalent to 112 billion/-) grant to Tanzania over what it described as restrictions placed by the government on the publishing of independent statistical information concerning the country.
The $50 million disbursement was intended to support government statistical activities in Tanzania, but latest reports indicate that this support may have to wait longer.
The Worlds Bank has said it is “in discussions with the government of Tanzania on whether further support to building sustainable statistical systems is appropriate at this time.”
President Magufuli is expected to sign into law a new Statistics Act passed by members of the National Assembly in Dodoma on September 10.
The new law seeks to criminalize the collection, analysis, and dissemination of any data without first obtaining authorization from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Responding to an online query raised by Eye on Global Transparency, the World Bank said last week that it had “shared” its concerns with the Tanzanian government over the new law.
The bank is reported to have said the law is “out of line with international standards such as the UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics and the African Charter on Statistics.”
World Bank Tanzania communications officer Loy Nabeta has confirmed that what was reported by Eye on Global Transparency was indeed authentic.
“Yes, the link is factual – that statement by the World Bank was issued in response to the query from Freedom.org,” Nabeta said.
According to the World Bank: “We have shared our concerns with the Tanzanian authorities that the amendments, if implemented, could have serious impacts on the generation and use of official and non-official statistics, which are a vital foundation for the country’s development.”
The new law criminalizes the dissemination of “any statistical information which is intended to invalidate, distort or discredit official statistics.” Offences are punishable by a $6,000 fine or three-year prison sentence.