THE year 2012 can rightly be described as one of the most exciting and at the same time highly challenging in the country's recent economic history.
Economists say that given careful budgeting, the economy is expected to maintain a steady growth from the current 6.5 - 7.0 per cent to higher levels during this and next year, supported by strong performance in mining, services and telecommunication sectors.
The huge discoveries of natural gas are also expected to give a big boost to the country's economy over the next 10 to 15 years -- the time when Tanzanians are scheduled to have achieved the National Development Vision. It is anticipated that by the year 2025, Tanzania will graduate from the current Least Developed Country (LDC) status into a middle income nation.
However, the government is still facing several Herculean tasks. First is the frequently asked question among the people who want to see the macro-economic achievements translated to the man on the street. People, many of whom are currently mired in poverty, want to feel on gradual basis, more weight in their purses or afford many goods and services.
The youths expect to have access to more jobs or any means of lawful income. Many critics say mass poverty is still widespread despite the encouraging and ever-improving economic scenario. The trend is attributed to the fact that growth has largely concentrated in a few capital-intensive areas, particularly mining, telecoms and gas.
Such sectors cannot produce widespread job creation, especially in rural areas where over 70 per cent of the population lives. Fortunately, the government is already having the right answer in the policy of Kilimo Kwanza, loosely translated as agriculture is the priority.
This inclusive policy will definitely address the welfare of the majority of the people, especially those in rural areas. It is hoped that this year, the government will throw much of its weight behind Kilimo Kwanza.