Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here once again with all the big stories that broke in Tanzania on Thursday, July 15, 2021.
Uproar as mobile money levy becomes operational
Tanzanians across the country reacted in the way many observers had anticipated as the new government levies on mobile money transactions and airtime as per the Finance Act, 2021, became operational yesterday. As Tanzania’s mobile money operators informed their customers of the new levy, many Tanzanians criticized the government for the move as they claim it will exclude the majority of people from financial services.
The government introduced the two controversial levies as part of its strategy to finance its Sh36.6 trillion budget for the 2021/2022 financial year, with a total of Sh1.65 trillion expected to be collected from mobile money transactions and airtime levy. Finance Minister Dr. Mwigulu Nchemba told the parliament on June 22, 2021, that the money will be allocated to water projects, rural roads, higher education loans, education infrastructures, health, and on the standard gauge railways.
For a perspective, it means that sending Sh1 million to someone and having it withdrawn will cost a total of Sh29,300. This is from just Sh11,500 people used to pay in the past and Tanzanians, particularly those who are online, seem not to be happy about it.
With the shrinking economic growth to 4.8 percent and the cash crunching projects, it was just a matter of time before the government looked for new sources of revenue. Some of these projects include the revival of the national airline which has cost sh.1.2 trillion for the purchase of eight planes and sh450 billion was allocated this year for five more planes, the Julius Nyerere Hydro Power Project which take sh6.55 trillion and by far sh2.495 trillion has been paid and the standard gauge railway project whereas more than sh3 trillion has already been allocated.
The coming months will be interesting in underscoring the impact of the levies on the consumers’ behavior, as with the introduction of levies bank options become much more affordable in comparison. The National Bureau of Statistics 2017 finscope survey shows that banking penetration is still low at 17 percent, making mobile money the most preferred financial option at 60 percent.
Samia holds talks with UAE envoy
President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday met and held talks with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) special envoy Sheikh Shakhbout bin Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan at State House in Dar es Salaam where the latter presented the Tanzanian leader with a letter from Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (MBZ), the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
A statement released yesterday by the director of presidential communications Mr. Jaffar Haniu said that the two leaders discussed the Tanzania-UAE bilateral relations and how they can be improved especially in the area of gender equality, infrastructures development, and the global coronavirus pandemic where Sheikh Nahyan promised his host to provide Tanzania with the deadly disease’s vaccine.
Tanzania and UAE have been maintaining robust ties. According to TanzaniaInvest.com, UAE’s direct accumulative investment in Tanzania rose to $991.5m between 2003 and 2016. The trade balance between UAE and Tanzania is estimated to stand at around $2 billion, with Tanzania occupying the 41st rank in the list of UAE’s non-oil trading partners, according to the website. Tanzania imports mainly refined petroleum products from the UAE, while the UAE is the largest buyer of cloves from Tanzania.
Sheikh Nahyan becomes the second diplomat from the Persian gulf who has visited Tanzania since the new administration came into play. On May 25, 2021, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah visited Tanzania and had discussion with the Tanzania President on investment, trade, and bilateral ties between the two countries
What motivates violence against women?
We are winding up this briefing with analysis by our contributor Mary Ndaro on what motivates violence against women in Tanzania and beyond.
Ms. Ndaro, who is a gender and development specialist, analyzed a recent report by the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Camilius Wambura which revealed that between January and June 2021, Tanzania recorded a total of 15,131 incidents that involved violence against women.
Wambura cited witchcraft and jealousy as the leading causes for the violence, something that Ms. Ndaro thinks is downplaying the superiority vis-à-vis inferiority between men and women, which she thinks is the main motivation behind the incidents. You can read Ms. Ndaro’s analysis here.
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