Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Monday, December 6, 2021.
Ndugai seeks Samia’s forgiveness over ‘soaring’ national debt remarks
Speaker of Parliament Job Ndugai was on Monday forced to apologise to Tanzanians over his remarks that Tanzania risks being auctioned off if the government continues with its current pace of borrowing from international lenders.
The head of the lawmaking body made the remarks on December 28, 2021, in the capital Dodoma where he cautioned that a ballooning national debt is not in the best national interests and instead of keeping on borrowing it is important that the government devices methods that will increase internal revenue collection capacity to fund its development initiatives.
“Is it healthy in having an Sh70 trillion national debt for a country like Tanzania,” asked Mr Ndugai who doubles as Kongwa MP (Chama cha Mapinduzi – CCM). The government’s figures put the national debt at Sh82.3 trillion by October 2021. “Is that an appropriate way of running a country? One day this country will be auctioned off [for failing to pay back the loans].”
But the remarks generated a strong and heated reaction from various quarters including from the State House, the Bank of Tanzania, within CCM, from members of the opposition as well as members of the general public. Most of the reaction has however been negative.
Not only did people remind Ndugai that, as a developing country, Tanzania cannot sustain its development trajectory without borrowing. They also told him he does not have the moral authority of criticising President Samia Suluhu Hassan for borrowing while he kept quiet when the late John Magufuli was doing the same thing.
The government’s records show that the national debt became enormous during the fifth phase of government under Magufuli, something which has been attributed to the increase of non-concessional loans that Magufuli took from lenders.
While Jakaya Kikwete’s ten-year rule added just Sh29 trillion to the national debt, making it Sh40.7 trillion by June 2015, during Magufuli’s less than five-year rule the national debt soared by Sh31.6 trillion, pushing it to Sh72.3 trillion by March 2021.
“We will continue to implement projects despite efforts to discourage us from borrowing,” President Samia, one among many people who responded to Mr Ndugai’s remarks, shot back on the same day during a function to sign the contract for the construction of the 368-kilometre SGR section between Makutupora and Tabora. “Even developed countries have debts. We will borrow to complete the development projects we have initiated.”
Critics accused Mr Ndugai that his concerns might not be on the growing national debt per se but the person behind the borrowing. Facing criticisms from both within his party CCM and the opposition, Mr Ndugai came out on Monday to do what he thought was imperative.
“I have decided to take full responsibility for what I said,” Mr Ndugai told journalists in the capital Dodoma today, January 3, 2022, after claiming that not only what he said was taken out of context but also twisted. “I have wronged. I’ve seriously wronged. May God forgive me. Forgive me, Tanzanians.”
He said that the debate generated by his remarks on national debt “caused inconveniences of here and there” without delving into further details and thus he thought it was important to come out and clarify some things.
“There was nothing [in my remarks] that constituted defamation or belittling any of the government’s efforts [in building the country],” Mr Ndugai said in a calm, composed voice, adding:
“The government is both our father and mother. We need the government and we support it and in my remarks, among other things, I urged my colleagues [within the government] to improve our economy [and that Tanzanians] need to pay taxes and related levies. This is what I insisted in my remarks.”
Tax stakeholders invited to share perspectives to improve Tanzania’s tax policy
The Treasury permanent secretary Emmanuel Tutuba has welcomed tax stakeholders to submit their perspectives on how to improve Tanzania’s taxation policy and its enforcement ahead of the 2022/2023 budget session.
Mr Tatuba said the ministry of finance’s Task Force on Tax Reform Secretariat is receiving stakeholders’ inputs on a number of issues that will be discussed during the secretariat-organised later in February.
Interested stakeholders can share their views on a number of topics that include how to improve the business environment in the country; how to enable the growth of smallscale and medium businesses as well as sustainable economy; how to improve the culture of paying taxes willingly; the use of ICTs in tax collection and other topics.
Stakeholders can come from a range of backgrounds that include government agencies and directorates; the private sector, non-governmental organisations; religious organisations; scholars; as well as research agencies.
Topics and recommendations should be submitted to the Treasury before February 10, 2022. You can find the addresses to submit your opinions here.
Three Tanzanian peacekeepers injured in Central African Republic
Three Tanzanian peacekeepers serving on the United Nations mission in the Central African Republic MINUSCA were injured on Thursday, December 30, 2021, when their vehicle struck an unidentified explosive device.
One of the soldiers was seriously hurt, and needed to be evacuated to Bouar for treatment and then on to the capital, Bangui, a MINUSCA statement stated.
No nomes were however given.
The ‘blue helmets’ were in the village of Batouri Bole, in Mambéré-Kadéï, in the southwest of the country, when the incident happened.
It took place around 11:00 a.m., local time, as their convoy left the town of Berbérati for the Force’s temporary military outposts in Gbambia and Amada-Gaza, which are located around 100 kilometres northeast of Berbérati.
In a statement, MINUSCA condemned the use of explosive devices by armed groups in contested areas of CAR, which have already caused dozens of deaths and injuries among the civilian population.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MINUSCA, Mankeur Ndiaye, wished a speedy recovery to the wounded peacekeepers.
“Despite the difficult conditions our peacekeepers face on the ground, aggravated by the appearance of improvised explosive devices, MINUSCA remains resolutely determined to carry out its mandate for peace and stability,” the statement quoted Ndiaye as saying.
According to MINUSCA, this is the third time that the mission’ peacekeepers have fallen victim to explosive devices detonating beneath UN vehicles.
Back in November, a rogue attack by elements of the presidential guard against a vehicle from the mission left ten unarmed Egyptian blue helmets injured in Bangui.
Road accident kills fourteen, injures 22 in Mtwara
At least 14 people were confirmed dead on Monday following a grisly road accident that took place on the morning of January 3, 2021, in the village of Lidumbe, in the district of Newala, Mtwara region, southern of Tanzania.
Mtwara Regional Police Commander Mark Njera told journalists yesterday that the accident was a result of overspeeding by a driver who was driving a Scania who after failing to control the vehicle it went to crash the fourteen people, causing their deaths.
Njera said the accident took place along the Uchumi road runs from Mtwara to Tandahimba to Newala to Masasi. Apart from killing the fourteen people, the car crash also injured 22 others, RPC Njeri said.
In her condolences message on Monday, President Samia Suluhu Hassan said that she was sorry for the families that lost their loved ones in the accident, wishing that injured quick recovery.
President Samia directed government authorities responsible for ensuring road safety to double up their efforts in making sure that they put an end to road accidents that continue to cost the nation its manpower.
Witness Narrates How Sabaya Extorted Arusha Businessman
Economic crime and money laundering case against the former Hai District Commissioner, Lengai Ole Sabaya, proceeded yesterday at the Arusha resident magistrate court.
The officer from the anti-corruption watchdog, Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), Mr Ramadhan Juma was on a stand yesterday. Mr Juma narrated how Sabaya’s assistant went in the bank, with Arusha businessman, Francis Mroso and forced him to handle over Tshs. 90 million.
Five accused were at the Bank on the said day, Nathan Msuya and Sadiki Kiiza who stayed in the car, Jackson Macha who was watching Mr Mrosso and guiding him on filling the Bank forms, Enock Mkeni and John Odemba were watching the surrounding.
The monies were later distributed among the accused by Lengai Ole Sabaya. The former Hai district commissioner who ruled Hai with iron fist, was found guilty of armed robbery in October 2021 and he is now serving a 30 years prison sentence.
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