President Samia Suluhu on Thursday unveiled a grand plan for Tanzania’s economic transformation in the next five years, emphasising empowerment and job creation.
In her first address to parliament since she took over the presidency after the death of Dr John Pombe Magufuli, President Samia said her administration would promote investments by creating a good business environment.
“We intend to focus more on economic growth. We will continue the good work achieved during the previous administrations, change where necessary but with a view to promoting efficiency and productivity, guided by the national, regional and party manifestos,” she said
“Last year, our nation managed to enter the middle-income category where the per capita income increased to $1,080 from $1,036. It is a great achievement, but more effort is needed to accelerate the economy,” she added
Statistics show that Tanzania’s economy, like elsewhere on the globe, was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, shrinking to 4.7 per cent last year from 6.9 per cent the previous year.
“This means that in the next five years we need to focus on putting up more investments into productive sectors and create more jobs,” the president said.
She said the focus will be on a mission to restore investor confidence, giving room for strategic investors, attract more participation from the private sector in economic activities and facilitate investment.
“The government will be taking specific steps to promote investment by looking into investment policies, laws, and regulations, remove clauses that are hampering smooth investments, including unpredictable policies, an unstable tax system and unnecessary bureaucracies,” she stressed
She will continue to improve macroeconomic and monetary policies and ensure economic indicators including currency value, inflation, and interest rates remain stable.
“There will never be room for malpractice. We will not tolerate laxity, theft, negligence and misappropriation of public funds,” the head of state warned.
Livestock and fisheries
Although livestock and fisheries sector employs over 65 per cent of Tanzanians its contributions GDP is less than 30 per cent, she noted.
“It is a dream if we expect to develop the country without taking needed measures to improve the sector that occupies the most population in the country,” she said.
“Livestock alone contributes about 7.4 per cent to the GDP. In the next five years, we will abandon pastoralism and focus on promoting modern animal husbandry. We will focus on livestock production through inter-breeding to enable pastoralists have fewer livestock but bigger production capabilities,” she said.
Tanzania will also expand irrigation areas from 561,383 hectares to 1.2 million hectares to stop reliance on rain-fed cultivation.
On fisheries, President Suluhu said the focus will be on strengthening the management of sea fishing so that Tanzania can benefit from its resources.
“We intend to build a port for fishing vessels in the coastal zone and begin the allocation of fishing vessels, issuance of fishing permits in the high seas, and investment in quality fishing equipment as well as the establishment of processing plants for fish and other marine products.”
President Samia seeks to strengthen information and communication technologies to facilitate the industrialisation agenda.
The country seeks to increase high-speed communications (broadband) from 45 per cent to 80 per cent by 2025 and improve access to telecommunications nationwide.
The president pledged to strengthen the mining sector, which is currently providing about 1.5 million jobs, with the government seeking joint ventures with global mining companies.
“Emphasis will be placed on the quality and effectiveness. We continue making the environment conducive for small miners, provide them with relevant training, loans as well as equipment,” she said.
Also, the State Mining Corporation will be strengthened further to participate fully in mining operations.
“With these steps I believe, the sector will be able to achieve the target of 10 percent contribution to GDP by 2025,” she added
On the same line, President Samia said negotiations between the Tanzania and international oil and gas companies of the long-stalled liquefied natural gas (LNG) project should be put to an end.
“It has been six years since we started singing the LNG song, the long wait is over actual construction should start soon,” she said
Not long ago in their joint letter to the media, Royal Dutch Shell and Norwegian Equinor pledged the government of Tanzania to take immediate action to conclude talks on the country’s long-stalled LNG project, citing limited time to develop new gas resource
The plea was written by Frederik Grootendorst, managing director for Shell and Mette Halvorsen Ottoy, senior vice president and country manager for Equinor Tanzania said, “Timing is critical in terms of the project’s success. A mega project like this takes years to plan, design and execute and hence critical decisions are required now in order to supply the Tanzanian industries of the future with energy.
Talks on the host government agreement (HGA) were halted ion 2019 pending the country’s Public Agreement Production sharing agreement (PSA) review procedures that are yet to be revealed of its progress.