19 August 2012

Tanzania: Pinda Pledges More Budget Rise for Agriculture

BUDGET allocation to the agriculture sector will likely reach 10 per cent next year, almost a decade since African Union heads of states and governments agreed in Maputo in 2003.

Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda said while adjourning the marathon budget session of parliament last Thursday that the government has gradually increased the agriculture budget since 2003 annually to meet the Maputo Declaration.

"I would like to inform parliament that the government is implementing agreement based on financial availability which has seen budget allocation to agriculture increasing from 233.3bn/- in 2005/6 or an equivalent of 5.6 per cent to 926.2bn/- in 2011/12 financial year which is an equivalent of eight per cent," Mr Pinda said.

The premier pointed out that this year, the government has allocated over 1.1trn/- to the sector which is the backbone of the country's economy, being nine per cent of the 15.1trn/- budget, hence predicting that the allocation may scale to 10 per cent next year.

In July 2003, AU leaders meeting in the Mozambican capital Maputo, resolved to fight food insecurity and poverty by committing 10 per cent of their national budgets to agriculture which employs many rural people and feeds majority of the population.

The famous Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa contained several important decisions regarding agriculture, but prominent among them was the commitment to the allocation of at least 10 per cent of national budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development policy implementation within five years.

"It's my hope that by maintaining this momentum, we will reach the 10 per cent allocation to agriculture sector as agreed by African Union any time starting next fiscal year," said Pinda who also assured the nation of enough food supply.

Meanwhile, the Premier also pledged that the government will increase budgetary allocation to the health sector as agreed by Ministers of Finance and Health at an African Development Bank convened meeting in Tunis last July.

The PM said, "The object is that our people remain healthy for sustainable economic growth." He said the meeting which was jointly organized by AfDB and Harmonization for Health in Africa, observed that economic growth and healthy people are complementary.

The country's health budget has been on the increase from 365.8bn/-, an equivalent of 8.8 per cent in 2005/6 to over 1.2trn/- or about 10 per cent of the national budget this year which shows that reaching a 15 per cent target is possible within the next few years. The PM adjourned parliament on Thursday evening until Tuesday, October 30, this year.

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