PUNDITS have criticized the country's 2012/13 budget for failure to invest in people by not addressing issues of job creation and developing local capacities to enhance productivity.
During a seminar organized by Deloitte Tanzania Consulting Limited, panelists expressed pessimism over the budget proposal, noting that it is only pro-government and not for the benefit of the majority of Tanzanians. Mr Bill Page, Tax Partner and Energy and Resources Leader for Deloitte East Africa, said on Monday evening that the budget does not show how the government intends to create jobs and reduce dependency.
"It is enormous to depend on donors by 29 per cent. I am from Europe and the money is not there any more, we will soon have to send money to Europe. Finance ministers have to realize that the aid which is coming in now will no longer be available in the near future," he said.
He was particularly critical of the failure to address development of local capacities to enable people provide essential services to the envisaged enormous investments following discovery of natural gas and prospects for oil. "The government has to be involved; this should not be left to the private sector alone. The discoveries should benefit the people," he noted.
The Chairman of Tanzania Confederation of Tanzania Industries, Mr Felix Mosha, noted that while the Kenyan government has allocated more in the education sector, Tanzania has not made the sector a priority. He said that the increase in the budget by 11 per cent is also meagre compared to that of other member states of the East African Community (EAC) who increased their budgets by 16 per cent. The sentiment was echoed by Mr John Ulanga, the Executive Director of the Foundation for Civil Society, who
said that the government should have invested more in people to ensure that the country increases productivity. "Most poor people would not be amused by this budget. We talk about improvement in microfinance performance in terms of GDP but we also have an increased number of poor people, growth is not shared in this country," he said.
The Managing Director of Sumaria Group, Mr Jayesh Shah, also pointed out on the importance of education, saying that the country lacks skilled labour and professionals. Overall, the panelists discussed the impact and rationale of the taxation changes introduced by the budget and also some of the anticipated changes that did not feature in the budget.
They also discussed the Government's plans of raising revenue, the budgetary allocations and the Budget's overall impact on the economy. "The seminar gives our clients purposeful insights into the environment in which they operate in and further allows them to be able to generate discussions around the budget proposals with a view to help them make their working and living environments better," Mr Page later told reporters.