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The Chanzo’s Morning Briefing – July 2, 2021

In our briefing, today: CAG says money withdrawn from BoT was done properly; Ministry of ICTs launches its five-year strategic plan; CHADEMA we are yet to meet Samia, says Mbowe; Majaliwa attends Bujumbura’s independence celebration; and TRA in the process to resolve CSOs tax issues.

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Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Thursday.

CAG says money withdrawal from BoT was done properly

Controller and Auditor General (CAG) Charles Kichere told President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday that the withdrawal of money from the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) in the period between January and March this year was done in accordance with law and arrangements with an exception of a few irregularities noticed on the transactions especially those that originated from the Treasury.

CAG Kicheere made the remarks yesterday at the State House in the capital Dodoma while presenting President Samia with the findings of the former’s investigations into the transactions that took place at Tanzania’s central bank in the said period. President Samia ordered the investigations on March 28, 2021, while receiving audit reports from the CAG for the 2019/2020 financial year.

“But a lot of losses [of public money] takes place at the BoT and you [the CAG] have admitted it yourself, saying all is not well,” President Samia said then while ordering the CAG and the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) to conduct the investigations. “Let me direct you [the CAG] and the PCCB go and investigate all the money withdrawn between January and March this year which went to fund development projects. We want to see them.”

But in a statement by the director of presidential communications Jaffar Haniu yesterday, the only questionable transactions that took place at the bank in the given period are the Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) and the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), which either did double payment to a single service offered or delayed in using the money approved for a certain activity.

Ministry of ICTs launches its five-year strategic plan

Information and Communication Technologies minister Dr Faustine Ndungulile yesterday launched the ministry’s five-year strategic plan (2021/2022 – 2025/2026) whereby some of the goals include increasing the contribution of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to Tanzania’s gross domestic product (GDP) from the present 1.5 per cent to three per cent in the coming five years.

Speaking during a launching ceremony which was accompanied by the launching of the ministry’s website in the capital Dodoma, Dr Ndungulile said that by making sure that 80 per cent of Tanzania’s population is covered by ICTs, more people have access to the internet, the e-government services provided to the people are improved as well as making ICTs products available to as many people as possible at a very affordable price there is no way ICTs can fail to contribute a fair share to Tanzania’s GDP.

“[The ministry] has the capacity of contributing more to [Tanzania’s] gross domestic product (GDP),” said Dr Ndungulile while addressing the participants of the launching function. “Ours is an enabling ministry [with the role] of making sure that all sectors in the country function properly. When you see revenue collections improve through [Tanzania Revenue Authority] TRA, it is thanks to our works.”

The launching ceremony was attended by a number of union and Zanzibar governments’ officials as well as other ICTs stakeholders in the country. The Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies was established on December 5, 2020, by the late President John Magufuli with the goal of preparing Tanzania for the fourth industrial revolution and placing it in a better position to reap opportunities offered by the growing local and global digital economy.

According to Dr Ndungulile, some of the strategic plan’s priorities in the coming five years include the improvement of the national fibre-optic network by expanding it from its current 7,910 kilometres to 15,000 kilometres. The plan also aims at making Tanzania the centre of communications in the East and Central Africa region, with Ndungulile saying that a total of six countries among the eight that surround Tanzania have already been accessed through its national fibre-optic network. The plan also aims at creating an enabling environment for the growth of e-commerce in Tanzania. 

CHADEMA we are yet to meet Samia, says Mbowe

CHADEMA national chairperson Freeman Mbowe said yesterday that the party would not beg for a meeting with President Samia Suluhu Hassan, saying it is the president’s responsibility to meet with various groups in Tanzania, one of them being opposition parties that Mr Mbowe said have been adversely affected in the past five years.

Mr Mbowe’s statement comes almost three months since President Samia promised to meet with Tanzania’s opposition parties and see how she can partner with them in building a better Tanzania. She made the promise during her speech in the parliament where she outlined her priorities in the next four years of her administration. But despite meeting with various groups like women, youth and religious organizations the Head of State is yet to meet with the country’s opposition parties.

“So we can’t dictate when exactly [President Samia] should meet us,” Mr Mbowe said during a meeting organized by CHADEMA’s youth wing BAVICHA in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Dubbed Constitution Day, the meeting aimed at mobilizing the party’s members and the general public on the need for the New Constitution. “It’s upon [President Samia] to decide when the meeting will take place. In case she declines to meet us all together it is all fine with us, we will continue to move forward.”

During this meeting CHADEMA chairperson underscored that they are not going to heed the call from the President of not organizing political rallies, and wanted regional leaders to get ready when the party starts to do rallies.

Majaliwa attends Bujumbura’s independence celebration

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa was in Burundi yesterday for a one-day official trip where he went to represent President Samia Suluhu Hassan in Burundi’s celebration of its 59 years of independence from Dutch colonialism.

Mr Majaliwa congratulated his host the president of Burundi Mr Evariste Ndayishimiye for his efforts to promote peace, democracy and the economy for the benefit of all Burundians.

“President Samia assures you [President Ndayishimiye] of her commitments to preserving the brotherly and historic relationship that exists between our two nations,” said Mr Majaliwa during her speech at the celebration that took place at the Burundian capital of Bujumbura according to a statement by the Office of the Prime Minister. “[President Samia] has also promised to visit Burundi in the very near future.”

TRA in the process to resolve CSOs tax issues

Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) taxpayer services and education director Richard Kayombo informed members of Tanzania’s civil societies yesterday that the taxman is in the process of analyzing tax challenges that non-government organizations have been raising in an attempt to improve their efficiency and impacts in the communities they serve.

Mr Kayombo made the revelations during an internal meeting with NGOs that the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) organized to train the organizations on taxation issues. Some of the common challenges that NGOs have been complaining about include the Skill Development Levy (SDL), NGOs not being included in tax exemption programs and huge penalties following minor wrongdoings.

“[TRA] in a partnership with the central government will continue to look for ways to resolve these challenges because most of the money that comes in Tanzania through NGOs is money paid by other country’s taxpayers,” Mwananchi quoted Mr Kayombo as saying.

TRA noted that about 78 percent of revenue from NGOs went directly to contributing to development  such as provisions of social services and 22 percent went to running operations of NGO. The taxman highlighted that for now it’s not possible to know the exact tax contribution from NGOs ,as many organizations are registered under different laws, something that the government has been working to streamline.

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