Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Wednesday, September 7, 2021.
IMF approves over Sh1.3 trillion loan to support Tanzania’s efforts against COVID-19
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a disbursement of US$567.25 million, which is an equivalent of Sh1.3 trillion, to help the East African nation’s urgent balance of payment needs stemming from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the international lender said in a statement on Tuesday.
Tanzania had applied for the soft loan immediately after President Samia Suluhu Hassan held talks with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on May 3, 2021. On June 10, 2021, Finance and Planning Minister Mwigulu Nchemba told the parliament in Dodoma that the government had started a discussion with the Bretton Wood institution to facilitate the granting of the loan.
Tanzania receives the loan as authorities are implementing a comprehensive pandemic response plan—Tanzania COVID-19 Socioeconomic Response Plan (TCRP) — to address the fallout of the COVID-19 shock.
IMF deputy managing director Bo Li said in a statement that Tanzania requires urgent financial assistance to implement the plan and avert the severe health, social and economic consequences of a reported third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Emergency support under the Rapid Credit Facility and Rapid Financing Instrument will substantially contribute to filling immediate external financing needs and help catalyze donor support,” said Mr Li.
He said that temporarily loosening macroeconomic and financial policies will mitigate the pandemic’s adverse impact on Tanzania, by deploying a vaccination campaign, increasing health and social spending, and supporting the private sector.
“Prioritizing the health response, strengthening coordination and transparency to ensure that funds received are spent on fighting the pandemic, and regularly and transparently reporting epidemiological data will be critical for the plan’s success,” Li emphasized.
Although IMF officials in Dar es Salaam were quoted in June this year that for Tanzania to qualify for the loan it must publish COVID-19 data, only once did the government do so. It was during a meeting with editors of Tanzania’s media outlets in Dar es Salaam where President Samia for the first time revealed the number of COVID-19 patients in the country.
But IMF said in a statement that Tanzania “faces an urgent balance of payment need of about 1.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” justifying the release of the loan to support authorities’ efforts to implement a comprehensive plan to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and preserve macroeconomic stability in the face of a reported third wave of the virus.
Mbowe’s terrorism case gets new judge
Judge Mustapher Siyani will now be overseeing a terrorism case against CHADEMA national chairperson Mr Freeman Mbowe and three others at the court’s Corruption and Economic Crimes Division following the decision by Judge Elinazer Luvanda who was overseeing the case withdrew.
Mr Mbowe told Judge Luvanda on September 6, 2021, when his case was brought for hearing, that he and his co-accused do not have confidence that the latter will oversee a fair trial in the highly sensitive case that the fifty-nine-year-old opposition figure is facing. The case has been postponed until further notice to pave way for a replacement.
Mr Mbowe was brought before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate Court for the first time on July 26, 2021, accused of taking part in conspiracies to blow up fueling stations and other public gatherings as well as funding terrorist acts before his case was transferred to the High Court.
He was arrested in Mwanza together with eleven other CHADEMA cadres — who have since been released — ahead of a New Constitution conference that BAVICHA had called and which Mr Mbowe was expected to be the guest of honour. Others in the case No. 16/2021 are Halfan Hassan, Adam Kasekwa and Mohamed Lingwenya.
Judge Siyani was sworn in by then-President John Magufuli on April 20, 2018, after being appointed as one of Tanzania’s new High Court judges on April 15, 2018. At 40, he was the youngest person to be appointed as a High Court judge, with the late Magufuli saying that he hopes [Siyani] will be a good judge.”
Born on February 25, 1977, in the Tunduru district of Ruvuma region, Judge Siyani graduated as a law student from the University of Dar es Salaam in 2000. He practised as a resident magistrate before he went back to UDSM for an LLM where he graduated in 2009.
Before being appointed the judge of the High Court, Siyani served as the deputy Court Registrar, in Dar es Salaam, a position he held from February 2015 until April 2018. Immediately after being sworn in, Siyani told journalists at the State House in Dar es Salaam that two things would characterize his service as a judge.
“Competency and integrity,” he said. “It is very important to consider that competency goes hand in hand with integrity. These are the two things that I’ll consider as a judge.”
Tanzania, Germany ink over Sh67 billion grant agreement
Tanzania signed a €25 million (Sh67.82 billion) worth grant with the German Development Bank (KfW) on Wednesday, August 8, 2021, which aims at financing sustainable development of protected area ecosystems project, The Citizen newspaper reported.
The grant was signed by the Finance and Planning Permanent Secretary Mr Emmanuel Tutuba, on behalf of Tanzania, and the KfW Director for East Africa and the African Union Christoph Tiskens.
According to Tutuba, some €8 million (about Sh21.7 billion) of the total amount will go to finance the development and protection of the Serengeti ecosystem.
This was the second phase of funding from the German government whereby during phase one €20.5 million was provided as a grant through the agreement signed in 2013.
He added that €17 million (about Sh46.12 billion) of the €25 million will be used for financing the development and protection of the Katavi, Rukwa and Greater Mahale ecosystems.
“The government of Tanzania commends KfW for its valuable support,” The Citizen quoted Mr Tutuba as saying. He said that every cent of the grant would be used as intended.
Tanzania: Inflation remains unchanged at 3.8 per cent
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced yesterday that the inflation rate remains at 3.8 per cent, similar to last month.
While this is the highest rate in 20 months, NBS has accounted for the stagnation of the rate as a result of the fall in the price of various food items such as maize flour by 7.2 per cent, meat by 6.3 per cent and vegetables by 2.3 per cent. Food and non-alcoholic beverage inflation have decreased from 5.1 per cent to 3.6 per cent.
On the other hand, inflation of all items without food and non-alcoholic beverages has increased from 3.3 per cent recorded in July to 4 per cent. Items that have increased in price include clothes by 4.7 per cent, charcoal by 1.9 per cent, gas by 2.1 per cent and rent by 5.1 per cent.
The inflation rate comes as there are reports of an increase in freight costs in countries like China due to the global shortage of shipping containers, which means the price of imported goods might continue to increase.
The increase in prices of imported goods has also been noted on the prices of fertilizers in the country, with many local farmers complaining.
The report comes as there are also complaints from farmers on a maize price drop. On September 2, 2021, for example, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa committed to purchasing Sh15 billion worth of maize from farmers through the National Food Security Agency (NFRA).
But there are reports from regions like Songea that NFRA purchase was not enough to clear stock from farmers. With the falling price of maize and the fertilizer price hike, analysts think that the government will have to intervene to ensure that farmers are not affected and remain resilient for the next season.
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