Dar es Salaam
Newly appointed Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office (Union and Environmental Affairs) George Simbachawene was sworn in on Monday a day after Tanzanian President John Magufuli fired his predecessor Mr January Makamba.
Nzega Urban MP Hussein Bashe was also sworn in as Deputy Minister of Agriculture.
Speaking shortly after the two had taken their oaths, President Magufuli said there was a lot of sluggishness in the way tasks were handled at the ministry.
“Investors are still exposed to a lot of delays in accessing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificates. If need be, it should reach a point whereby investors should start investing and acquire the certificates later,” said Dr Magufuli.
At a time when some quarters were pouring praises on Mr Makamba on the way he handled the government’s ban on plastic bags, President Magufuli said it took four years for the law to be implemented.
“The Vice President spoke about it. The Prime Minister spoke about it. There had been a lot of dillydallying until I issued an ultimatum,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Head of State said he appointed Bashe as the Agriculture deputy minister because he was impressed by his contributions in Parliament.
“I heard how you contributed to the budget for the Ministry of Agriculture [for the financial year 2019/20] in Parliament. I was impressed by the analyses shown through your contributions in Parliament and I want you to go and put that into practice,” said Dr Magufuli.
Contributing to the debate on the budget for the Ministry of Agriculture for the financial year 2019/20 in Parliament on June 18, 2019, Mr Bashe said there was a close link between the Ministry of Agriculture; Livestock and Fisheries Development and that of Industry and Trade.
Unfortunately, he said though agriculture, livestock and fisheries contributed about 30 per cent to gross domestic product, the development budget for the sectors left a lot to be desired.
“If you consider that we are spending Sh12 trillion on development projects, you will realise that in total, the ministries of Agriculture as well as that of Livestock and Fisheries Development will take only Tsh61 billion (about $26.5 million) which is equivalent to only 1.3 per cent of our total development funds,” said Mr Bashe.
He said at a time when Tanzania depended on its cash crops, it was worrying that production of most of its cash crops was on the decline.
President Magufuli exuded confidence that Mr Bashe would deliver.