TANZANIA'S economy is on the right track and the government is doing the needful to keep inflation in check, hoping to achieve a single digit by June this year while overseeing stronger macro economic growth.
Addressing members of the diplomatic corps during the new year sherry party he hosted for them at the State House in Dar es Salaam on Monday, President Jakaya Kikwete said foreign trade continues to expand and exports of goods and services have increased reaching an all time high level of US dollars 8,531.7 million by November 2012, compared to 7,384.4 million dollars in November 2011.
Mr Kikwete said the economy continued to grow at a fast pace, noting that the rate was expected to reach 6.8 per cent compared to 6.4 per cent in 2011. "What is of interest to note is the increase in the contribution of the following sectors -- mining, tourism, manufacturing and agriculture in this equation.
Unfortunately, trade balance continued not to be in our favour as we imported more than we exported," President Kikwete explained.He however added that the bulk of the imports comprises of capital goods and petroleum products which signifies promotion of more growth in future.
He said last year recorded high investments flow into the country with projects worth USD 19.6 billion compared to USD 7.1 billion the year before.He noted that although last year's performance was better than expected, the country wished it would have done much better.
President Kikwete noted that 2012 ended with the local currency gaining strength compared to the opposite situation in 2011. He, however, noted that despite the recorded gains, inflation rate remains high. He explained that inflation declined from 19.8 per cent in December, 2011 to 12.1 per cent in November, 2012, adding that the government is determined to get back to single digit by June this year.
"All in all, we are happy with the state of our economy and the progress being made. We are ready to do whatever it takes, to improve our performance this year and in future. We will maintain the economic reform pace," he told the diplomatic corps. On Agriculture, President Kikwete said the country will continue to give due attention to the sector and particularly strive to attain the targeted allocation of 10 per cent of the budget in the next financial year.
He noted that in 2012 the nation continued to enjoy peace and political stability with democracy continuing to take roots and respect to freedom, human rights and the rule of law sustained."There were unfortunate incidents which were, however, dealt with through dialogue and legal mechanism. We hope to see greater progress this year and no more religious or political threats to the country's peace and stability," he stressed.
He added that the government will continue to use both tracks but will exercise a lot of firmness in dealing with such issues to prevent the country from plunging into anarchy and lawlessness, adding that the government will not allow anyone to incite or divide the country on religious, racial or geographical grounds.
Commenting on food security, he said the situation in the country was good in 2012 although, some parts experienced food supply stresses due to shortage of rains.Last year he said, the government extended food support to 765,381 people in 39 districts, noting that the problem will persist until the next harvest season assuring those in need of continued government support.
Regarding the ongoing constitution review process, Mr Kikwete said: "My government is satisfied with the pace of the process. If all goes as planned, by next year Tanzanians will have a Constitution of their own creation." On the issue of the boundary with Malawi over Lake Nyasa, President Kikwete said the government will continue with efforts to ensure the matter was resolved through dialogue.
"As you know, our two countries submitted, on 22nd December, 2012 a joint request to the Forum of Former African Heads of State and Government, through former president Joaquim Chissano, the former President of Mozambique and Chairperson of the Forum. We have asked them to assist us with mediation. It is my conviction that the matter will soon be resolved amicably," he explained, adding:
"I want to assure you that Tanzania is determined to see the issue comes to an end in a friendly manner. Neighbours should not fight over something which can be resolved through dialogue."