Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Monday, February 8, 2022.
Tanzania finally agrees to approve EU trade deal
European Union Foreign Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Mr Josep Borrel told The East African newspaper that Tanzania has finally agreed to join the rest of the East African Community (EAC) the new Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU.
The EAC was unable to enter the agreement as a block because Tanzania was against some of the agreement’s provisions. The agreement will see the region enjoy quota-free and duty-free access to the lucrative European market.
The change of Tanzania’s position on the matter has been attributed to the change of leadership in the East African nation where President Samia Suluhu Hassan replaced the late John Magufuli as the president following the latter’s death in March 17, 2021.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta [of Kenya] told me that, finally, it seems that we could have an agreement for the whole region because the new government in Tanzania is accepting to sign the agreement,” Mr Borrel was quoted as saying.
Kenya and Rwanda were the only two countries in the region to sign an EPA deal with Europe in 2016 under a special arrangement under a temporary pact with the EU to allow its goods to access the expansive market duty-free.
In 2015, President Magufuli declined to sign the agreement against the background of heavy criticism of the agreement by such people as the late President Benjamin Mkapa who described it as “antithetical to Tanzania’s as well as the region’s trade and development prospects.”
“The costs for the country and the EAC region would have been higher than the benefits,” President Mkapa wrote then.
“As a Least Developed Country (LDC), Tanzania already enjoys the Everything but Arms (EBA) preference scheme provided by the European Union i.e. we can already export duty-free and quota-free to the EU market without providing the EU with similar market access terms,” Mkapa pointed out. “If we sign the EPA, we would still get the same duty-free access, but in return, we would have to open up our markets also for EU exports.”
Tanzania: New environmental policy in the offing
The government has completed reviewing the old National Environmental Policy and it will soon launch the new one, Permanent Secretary in the Vice President’s Office Union and Environmental Mary Maganga said over the weekend.
Ms Maganga said the new 2021 National Environmental policy has incorporated six new issues, including the conservation of electronic waste from mobile and computer.
Other items include climate changes, invasive species (e.g. water weeds), control of safe use of modern biotechnology, pollution control in oil and gas exploration and extraction activities, and the use of chemicals.
“Before the inauguration of the new 2021 National Environmental Policy, the stakeholders agreed to carry different activities to make the capital city green,” Ms Maganga told reporters in the capital Dodoma.
The new policy is expected to be inaugurated on February 12, 2022, in Dodoma.
Uganda, Tanzania elected members of AU’s Peace and Security Council
Uganda and Tanzania have been elected to be members of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, a 15-member organ comprised of member states from each of the five regions of the bloc.
The Peace and Security Council is also the African Union’s standing decision-making body for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflicts on the continent.
Other members elected are Morocco and Tunisia (Northern Region); Cameroon, Burundi, and Congo (Central Region); Nigeria, Ghana, the Gambia and Senegal (Western Region); and Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe (Southern Region).
Council members are elected by the AU Executive Council then endorsed by the Assembly of the Union.
The Council voted on February 3 at the bloc’s 40th Ordinary Session of its Executive Council that was held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
“Uganda obtained 34 votes in the third round of voting, in a race that also attracted the United Republic of Tanzania and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia,” Uganda’s Foreign Affairs ministry said in a statement. “Uganda has been elected for a two-year term from 2022 to 2024 and will be joined by Tanzania and Djibouti as the representatives of the Eastern Region.”
Recently, the country sent troops to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to flush out the Allied Democratic Forces, a rebel group that has roots in Uganda and is blamed for attacks on civilians in both countries.
Samia wants PCCB to be proactive in preventing corruption
President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Monday directed the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) to keep its eyes open on various development projects that the government is undertaking across the country.
The Head of State told the anti-corruption body not to wait until corruption has been reported so that they can investigate, urging them to be more proactive in preventing it from happening.
“Why wait for the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) performance reports?” President Samia asked shortly after laying a foundation stone for the clean water project in Bunda during her four-day working visit in the Mara region. “It is useless for PCCB to wait until the fund is swindled for it to take action.”
President Samia also tasked Internal Auditors in the councils to work diligently by ensuring that they unearth all dubious acts on time.
“Sometimes such faults are not revealed on time because internal auditors also share the public funds,” she pointed out.
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