Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Tuesday, October 11, 2022.
Taxing cannabis ‘aggressively’ may reduce consumption, scholar says
Advice has been given to Tanzanian authorities on the best way to deal with cannabis consumption in the East African nation: aggressive taxation of the drug.
Cyprian Mostert, Assistant Professor of Global Health Economics and Lead Mental Health Economist at the Brain and Mind Institute at Aga Khan University offered the advice in an article published in The Conversation on October 9, 2022.
The article was made in commemoration of World Mental Health Day which is marked worldwide on October 10th of every year, calling on stakeholders to take deliberate efforts to address the issue.
According to the scholar, it’s documented that cannabis consumption erodes mental well-being. It has adverse effects on school, work, and social life, he writes. The consumption of cannabis has also been linked to increases in domestic violence, according to the expert.
He says bold political commitment is needed to improve the financing of mental health programmes, suggesting the introduction of excise taxes on cannabis corporations, an option he describes as “feasible.”
Mostert considers Tanzania as best poised to decrease cannabis consumption through taxation. He describes Tanzania as “among the countries with the highest prevalence of domestic violence and assault cases worldwide,” citing World Bank figures which report that 40 per cent of all women aged 15-49 years in Tanzania have experienced physical violence.
The scholar argues that in the East African region, Tanzanians are the largest consumers of cannabis, citing a 2018 study by New Frontier Data which showed that up to 3.6 million Tanzanians are using the drug.
Based on this reality, there appears to be room to legalise and allocate excise taxes on cannabis corporations for investments in mental health programmes in Tanzania, the expert writes in The Conversation.
“Taxing cannabis aggressively may reduce consumption,” he concludes.
“Tanzania collected about US$9 billion in tax in 2020, according to government statistics. This amount covers only about half of the government’s expenses,” he added. “Hence, it would be impossible for Tanzania to fund mental health programmes sustainably. The growing population needs other essential services too. So Tanzania would have to collect more taxes to fund mental health programmes.”
Mostert thinks that the Tanzanian government can learn much from the US and other high-income countries that opted to legalise and tax cannabis corporations aggressively, describing the criminalisation of cannabis as “regressive.”
“According to the American Civil Liberties Union, it costs US$3.6 billion per year to enforce laws on cannabis possession alone,” he writes of the US. “Police officers must invest many hours and resources in arresting and booking suspects for cannabis possession.”
Mwinyi arrives in Oman for four-day state visit
Zanzibar President Hussein Ali Mwinyi on Tuesday arrived in the Sultanate of Oman for a four-day state visit aimed at boosting ties between the two historical allies, the Omani press reported.
Omani Deputy Prime Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Affairs and Personal Representative of His Majesty the Sultan Sayyid Asa’ad bin Tarik Al Said led the welcoming party at Muscat International Airport for Mr Mwinyi and his delegation.
Dr Mwinyi was accorded an official reception. When the jet touched ground at the airport, HH Sayyid Asa’ad met the guest and his spouse at the foot of the ramp, welcoming them and wishing them a fruitful visit and a pleasant stay, according to a report by the Times of Oman.
President Mwinyi was also received by Sayyid Badr Hamad Al Busaidi, Foreign Minister. After that, Dr Mwinyi introduced members of his accompanying delegation to HH Sayyid Asa’ad.
Then, HH Sayyid Asa’ad accompanied Dr Mwinyi to the Dais of Honour where the Royal Oman Police guard of honour saluted them and played the National Anthem of Tanzania and the Royal Anthem of Oman.
After that, the commandant of the guard of honour proceeded to the dias asking the President and HH Sayyid Asa’ad to inspect the front row of the squad.
Dr Mwinyi’s visit aims at consolidating the long-standing relations and the historic and cultural ties between the Sultanate of Oman and Zanzibar, according to a statement released on Monday.
It aims to push existing cooperation forwards towards further growth, development and prosperity in the service of the common interests of the peoples of the two friendly countries, the statement added.
Five perishes, 31 injured in Mbeya road accident
Five people have died and several others sustained serious injuries after a mini-bus, carrying mourners, collided with an upcountry bus at Ibula village in Rungwe district, Mbeya, it was reported on Tuesday.
Rungwe District Chief Medical Officer Dr Diodes Ngaiza told the government-owned Daily News newspaper that 14 of 31 injured people were rushed to Igogwe Mission and 17 were brought to Rungwe District Hospital.
Earlier reports suggested that two people died on the spot and others passed away at the hospital, according to the paper.
“Three died while receiving treatment while four injured victims were referred to Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital,” Daily News quoted Dr Ngaiza as saying.
The accident occurred at 8.30 AM, according to reports.
Rungwe District Commissioner Dr Vicent Anney confirmed the accident saying the upcountry bus involved in the deadly crash owned by Kyela Express Bus and Toyota Coaster which was travelling from Dodoma to Kyela in Mbeya, the paper reported.
Kiwira Ward Councilor in Rungwe District Michael Simon who was among people who arrived at the scene said the Toyota coaster carrying mourners was at a high speed hence the driver failed to control the vehicle before colliding with the bus, Daily News reported.
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