The Chanzo’s Morning Briefing – July 24, 2021

In our briefing, today: ACT-Wazalendo, NCCR-Mageuzi join chorus in condemning Mbowe’s arrest; Ndugai defends controversial mobile money transaction levy; KCMC reports critical shortage of oxygen; and BoT approves Cellulant as payment solution service provider in Tanzania.
The Chanzo Reporter24 July 20214 min

Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here once again with all the big stories that broke in Tanzania on Friday, July 23, 2021.

ACT-Wazalendo, NCCR-Mageuzi join chorus in condemning Mbowe’s arrest

Opposition parties ACT-Wazalendo and NCCR-Mageuzi have called the arrest and continued detention of CHADEMA national chairperson Mr Freeman Mbowe “an unacceptable behaviour in any society built on the foundations of democracy and justice.” The two parties made the statement in a joint statement on Friday.

Mr Mbowe is reportedly being held at Oysterbay Police Station in Dar es Salaam after the police had arrested him over what the law enforcement agency spokesperson David Misime said Thursday was his involvement in conspiracies aimed at assassinating some government leaders. According to Misime, Mr Mbowe is held together with six other people who are accomplices in the alleged conspiracies.

“On behalf of our respective parties, we demand the police to immediately release Mbowe and his fellow detainees unconditionally,” ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe and NCC-Mageuzi national chairperson James Mbatia said in the joint statement. The two opposition figures called on Tanzanians across the political spectrum to condemn in strongest terms the police’s actions that “diminish our national harmony.”

“We are calling on government and political parties leaders to meet and discuss better ways through which we can organize our politics,” Mr Kabwe and Mr Mbatia suggested. “It is high time now that Tanzania holds a serious political dialogue [about its future as a nation].”

Meanwhile, CHADEMA said yesterday that police had denied Mr Mbowe’s children access to their father, even refusing them to send some food to him. The party said that police were trying to do whatever it takes to deny anyone access to see Mr Mbowe, including his advocates.

Ndugai defends controversial mobile money transaction levy

Speaker of Parliament Job Ndugai yesterday defended the controversial mobile money transaction levy, saying it was the parliament that approved the plan because of the prospects it offers for Tanzania’s development, especially in areas of electricity and water supply in rural areas.

The levy, together with that on airtime, were introduced as part of the government 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 them. The mobile money transaction levy became operational on July 15, 2021, following an amendment of the Finance Act, 2021. The airtime levy is expected to become operational in the following month of August.

“So if you boycott, it’s okay. Whatever your reaction [to the levy] is, it’s okay too,” said Mr Ndugai during an internal meeting which was called by Dodoma regional commissioner Mr Anthony Mtaka in the capital yesterday. “We shall go to the [mobile money] transactions and levy a small amount [of money] in those transactions. The money collected is not the ordinary tax. It goes straight to a special fund and it will be taken back to citizens themselves through water and electricity supplies among other services.”

The levy has been described as “extortionist” that threatens to exclude millions of people from the highly needed financial services. Facing this backlash, on July 19, 2021, President Samia Suluhu Hassan directed her Minister of Finance Dr Mwigulu Nchemba and the Minister for Information and Communications Technologies Dr Faustine Ndugululile to work on people’s complaints about the levy.

KCMC reports critical shortage of oxygen

Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) Executive Director Dr Gilleard Masenga told Mwananchi newspaper yesterday that the hospital is currently overwhelmed with patients who need oxygen therapy, with one patient estimated to need a total of eight plants per day while the hospital’s capacity is to produce only 400 plants per day.

“Normally, our daily uses of oxygen ranged between 50 and 60 plants per day,” Prof Masenga said during the interview. “But from March 2020, the situation got out of control. Right now, our oxygen factory [here at the KCMC] has been overwhelmed by the demand for oxygen. The situation is very bad.” Prof Masenga urged people to take COVID-19 seriously, calling the disease “very dangerous.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Health Dr Dorothy Gwajima told journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the third wave of coronavirus has claimed a total of 29 lives of Tanzanians with the country registering a total of 176 new cases on Thursday only, making the number of people who have contracted the virus to reach 858 countrywide.

“Let me remind everyone that COVID-19 is here and people are dying of it,” Dr Gwajima said. “We would not like to share this information with you [Tanzanians] but we have to because we want you to take precautions against it.”

BoT approves Cellulant as payment solution service provider in Tanzania

The Bank of Tanzania (BOT) has issued an approval in principle to Cellulant Corporation to operate as a Payment Solution Service Provider in Tanzania having satisfied all the necessary requirements, IBS Intelligence reported Friday.

This approval means that Cellulant, a multinational payments company in Africa, becomes one of the top Payment Solution Service Providers (PSSP) in Tanzania endorsed by the BoT to provide digital payments solutions across the East African nation.

‘‘Cellulant is a critical component of Africa’s Payments ecosystem and a key actor in delivering seamless payments solutions,” IBS Intelligence quoted Mr Edwin Kiiru, recently appointed Country Manager for Cellulant Tanzania, as saying. “This approval sets Cellulant into a select group of few payment aggregators that operate as PSSPs in Tanzania and will help add millions of economically active but financially excluded Tanzanians into the digital payment ecosystem.”

This is it for today and we hope you enjoyed our briefing. Please consider subscribing to our newsletter (see below) or follow us on Twitter (here) as that is the best way to make sure you do not miss any of these briefings.  And in case you have any questions or comments, please consider dropping a word to our editors at editor@thechanzo.com.

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