Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Monday, June 6, 2022
Over 1,000 CCM youths tour Ngorongoro amid looming ‘eviction’ threat
Over 1,000 members of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) youth wing (UVCCM) led by the wing’s national chairperson Mr Kenani Kihongosi are touring the Ngorongoro conservation area in what they say is part of the efforts aimed at boosting local tourism in Tanzania.
Mr Kihongosi told journalists on Sunday that the plan is to visit a number of tourist attraction sites located within the conservation area, adding that what moved them to organise themselves for the tour is to “support President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s Tanzania: The Royal Tour film.”
In the film, Emmy Award-winning journalist Peter Greenberg travels with President Samia throughout Tanzania. The Head of State acts as a guide who showcases the country’s history, culture, environment, food, music, and high-profile tourist sites.
“The youths funded the trip with their own money,” Mr Kihongosi told journalists. “We hired a total of 149 tourist vehicles with each carrying 19 youths. We came here to Ngorongoro to witness the tourist attractions we have as a country and encourage other Tanzanians to visit them.”
The youths’ trip to Ngorongoro, however, comes at a time when the UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage site is embroidered in a deep controversy following the government’s attempt to ‘relocate’ the native people of the area to Handeni, Tanga and Simanjiro, Manyara.
The government says that continued human and livestock activity in the area threatens its World Heritage status but indigenous people from the area have instead blamed the destruction of the site on underregulated tourist activities there.
Mr Kihongosi did not address this controversy when he spoke to journalists when the UVCCM tourists arrived in Ngorongoro. He instead spoke of how their initiative supported the entire tourism value chain by paying for food services, accommodation and transport.
But some activists advocating for indigenous peoples’ rights in Tanzania were not pleased with the UVCCM’s decision to flock to the Ngorongoro conservation area with such a number of vehicles, claiming that it could contribute to the environmental degradation in the site.
Susanna Nordlund, who blogs at View from the Termite Mound, a blog about threats against Maasai land in Loliondo, said in a Twitter post that the UVCCM’s trip to Ngorongoro is just another proof that the government’s motivation to “evict” Maasai people from Ngorongoro is far from environmental concerns.
“Baby CCM in 142 vehicles celebrating their mama and the destructive tourism industry, making it, if possible, even clearer that the threats against Maasai land have nothing to do with environmental concerns,” wrote Ms Nordlund who has been outspoken when it comes to defending Maasai rights in Tanzania.
BoT publishes new update on the conduct of monetary policy in Tanzania
The Bank of Tanzania (BoT) on Monday published a new assessment from its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) on the conduct of monetary policy in March and April 2022 and the recent global and domestic economic situation, reporting “satisfaction” with the implementation of monetary policy in Tanzania and the outcome thereof.
BoT reported that liquidity in banks remained adequate and interbank interest rates stabilized at low levels, something it said was creating a “favourable environment” for lending to the private sector at affordable cost.
The bank said that domestic economic activity in Tanzania was satisfactory in 2021, growing at 4.9 per cent compared with the target of 5 per cent in Tanzania Mainland, and 5.1 per cent in Zanzibar compared with the target of 5.2 per cent.
Inflation was higher in 2021/22 than in the preceding year, BoT said, a phenomenon it associated with rising commodity prices, especially oil and consumer goods. Money supply expanded in line with the target, bolstered by accommodative monetary policy and improving business conditions.
Private sector credit growth was 13.4 per cent, which BoT said was consistent with the target of at least 10.6 per cent; and fiscal operations were on track, with revenue collection recovering consistent with economic activities and improved tax compliance.
The external sector faced global challenges, but foreign exchange reserves remained adequate at around USD 5.5 billion, the bank reported. The exchange rate was stable, depreciating gradually by less than one per cent, year-on-year.
“The Bank will closely monitor the risks for inflation and recovery of the economy arising from high world commodity prices and take appropriate measures, including gradual reduction of monetary policy accommodation,” BoT said in a statement.
Walkabout Resources encounters delays at Tanzania graphite project
Australia-listed Walkabout Resources said on Monday that shipments of equipment from China for its Lindi Jumbo graphite project, in Tanzania, have been suspended, pending the completion of the drawdown of $20-million in debt.
According to a report by Mining Weekly, the company said that one of the conditions precedent (CP) for the drawdown of the debt was the provision of a standby letter of credit (SBLC). The SBLC submitted had not been confirmed as per the loan requirements and Lindi Jumbo had been informed that the bank had to issue a replacement SBLC.
While Walkabout was confident that a replacement SBLC would be sourced, it said that the process would require time to complete.
Lindi Jumbo had received a short-term commitment from its major contractors to continue construction works, however, further shipments of equipment from China had been suspended until the final CP had been completed and the drawdown occurred.
Walkabout said it was in discussions with various contractors about the delay and how it might impact their activities, Mining Weekly reported. The company noted that the shipping suspension would have a negative impact on the project schedule and that the full extent would only be determined once shipments resumed.
“The unexpected issues associated with finalizing the standby letter of credit required for initial debt drawdown and the consequent shipment suspension are enormously disappointing as the development of Lindi Jumbo is proceeding remarkably well and we were quite advanced in preparing for commissioning,” Mining Weekly quoted CEO Andrew Cunningham as saying.
Tanzania to review laws that prevent women from land ownership
Minister for Constitution and Legal Affairs Damas Ndumbaro said on Monday that it is in the process of reviewing laws that are preventing women from owning land in the East African nation.
Mr Ndumbaro told the parliament in the capital Dodoma that the number of women owning land was still low in Tanzania, something he associated with some hurdles, including the traditions and cultures of some communities in the country.
Mr Ndumbaro said the country’s constitution clearly states that every person is entitled to own land and has a right to the protection of his property held in accordance with the laws but women are still marginalized when it came to owning land.
He was responding to a question by Neema Lugangira, a Member of Parliament on women’s special seat ticket, who had wanted to know the position of the government when it came to women’s land ownership.
The lawmaker pressed the government to explain when it will review the laws that are contravening the constitution over land ownership for women.
Study finds ‘a very high rate’ of inappropriate antibiotic prescription in Tanzania
A new study on the prescription of antibiotics in Tanzania has found that there is “a very high rate” of inappropriate antibiotic prescription in the East African nation, with 86.0 per cent of informed standardized patients and 94.8 per cent of uninformed standardized patients prescribed an antibiotic.
Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most serious threats to global health, with researchers pointing out that little progress has been made in reversing its spread.
Inappropriate use of antibiotics in humans is a major driver of antimicrobial resistance, and rates are high and growing in lower- and middle-income countries, researchers explain.
Antibiotics are thought to be subject to supplier-induced demand, whereby providers prescribe them to patients who do not know they are unnecessary.
Researchers in a study titled Pushy Patients Or Pushy Providers? Effect Of Patient Knowledge On Antibiotic Prescribing In Tanzania conducted a randomized field experiment in 227 private health facilities in Tanzania, with standardized patients presenting uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection symptoms.
According to the study’s authors, its findings suggest that broader health systems factors are at play and that interventions should be aimed at systems, health facilities, and providers.
“The very poor antibiotic prescription practices found in this setting indicate that unnecessary prescription of antibiotics is entrenched in medical practice in this context,” the study’s authors explain.
“The small effect size suggests that patient education alone cannot eradicate inappropriate antibiotic prescribing, especially as we cannot say that education would change patient behaviour, but it may be an important part of a combination strategy,” they added.
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