26 August 2010

Tanzania: Lipumba's Economic Medicine

Civic United Front (CUF) presidential candidate Ibrahim Lipumba yesterday unveiled his party's election manifesto, highlighting five major policies they hope to implement to mend the economy, should he be elected.

Speaking during the official launch of the 78-page document at the Peacock Hotel in downtown Dar es Salaam, Prof Lipumba, who is also the party's national chairman, said proper collection of revenue and prudent government spending, would rid the country of its heavy donor dependence.

The opposition party also announced grand plans to offer free education from kindergarten to college as well as health services to all Tanzanians.

Prof Lipumba, who will be making his fourth attempt to win the presidency, said CUF would also ensure that many Tanzanians are lifted out of abject poverty by formulating proper economic plans.

The CUF candidate first vied for the presidency in 1995, losing to Mr Benjamin Mkapa. The party sponsored him again in 2000, but he failed to dislodge President Mkapa from power. His third bid for the big office was against the incumbent, President Jakaya Kikwete, who trounced him in 2005.

He will again be in the race for President of the United Republic of Tanzania in the December 31 General Election, in which Mr Kikwete will be vying for his second and final five-year term. Others in the race include Chadema's outspoken Secretary-General, Dr Willibrod Slaa, who has given up his Karatu parliamentary seat to seek the highest office in the land.

Yesterday, Prof Lipumba also spoke about his party's plans to improve infrastructure, develop the energy sector, cut government spending and increase tax collection.

Through the CUF Manifesto 2010-2015, he said, it was envisaged that the economy would grow by one per cent every year by improving infrastructure, especially roads, railways and ports.

The country's strategic position, serving six landlocked neighbours, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia, Uganda and Malawi, was great potential that could be exploited to boost national revenue.

"We must use the ports efficiently as one of major income boosters. Improvement of ports will ensure us more income," he said.

More efficient ports would help to enhance local and cross-border trade, creating yet another source of income and employment. He said the performance of the ports and railways had declined by over 50 per cent since 2006.

"With reliable energy throughout the country around the year, the economy can grow by extra two per cent. We are sure we can do that. Let's remove the CCM regime, which has failed this country," said Prof Lipumba, who is a renowned economist.

Prof Lipumba cited the tourism sector as another major source of income, saying his party would ensure that tourist sites were properly developed and utilised. The government would realise 30 per cent of revenue from the sector.

"Tanzania is among the best holiday destinations in the world but the sector is not properly managed to contribute to the economy. We are only a few areas too much," he said.

Tanzanians would enable the economy to grow by between eight and 10 per cent within the first five years by electing his party, he said.

"We cannot celebrate that the economy is growing while it is donor dependent. The economy just depends on the generosity of President Kikwete's friends and aid from abroad. We need to develop a strong economy using our own natural resources efficiently and effectively," said Prof Lipumba.He accused the President of having turned the country into an international beggar.

Prof Lipumba is an economist of repute, who once worked as Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's economic advisor. He was later recruited by retired President Ali Hassan Mwinyi and worked in a similar capacity. He also had stints with a number of reputable international institutions, including the World Bank.

Yesterday, he said that a CUF government would increase the budgetary allocation to education to 25 per cent, while health would get 15 per cent.

Infrastructure would get between 25 and 30 per cent of the national Budget, with 10 to 15 per cent going to agriculture.

"If elected in October, we are going to offer free health and education to all Tanzanians. There are enough resources to do this. We only need to manage and use them well," he said.

On graft, he recalled President Kikwete's admission when he opened the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) building in Dar es Salaam that 30 per cent of the government Budget ended up a few people's pockets.

"The efforts to fight graft are still very minimal, making youth believe that you cannot succeed using straight ways. And through this, we have made the next General Election more corrupt," said Prof Lipumba.

CUF will campaign under the slogan: 'Vision for Change', which promises Tanzanians a government of national unity.

"We want an inclusive government, which will accommodate even experts who are not politicians and a new Constitution that will build pillars of democracy," said Prof Lipumba.

His government would give the industrial sector priority to enable it to produce more and provide employment to the majority jobless young people.

"The leading sector of industry has employed only 900,000 people out of a productive force of 21 million people," he said.

The party will today launch its presidential campaigns at Kidongo Chekundu grounds in Dar es Salaam.

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