POVERTY in relation to the availability of food and other basic needs has affected the rural population more than those living in Dar es Salaam and other urban areas, a Household Budget Survey (HBS) for 2011/12 has revealed.
The food poverty level in rural areas reached 11.3 per cent while Dar es Salaam registered the lowest ever level of 1.0 per cent. The population in other urban areas was found at 8.7 per cent.
On the poverty of basic needs, the average for rural Tanzania was recorded at 28.2 per cent against 33.3 per cent for the rural areas and 21.7 per cent for the urban areas other than Dar es Salaam, which registered the lowest poverty level for basic needs at 4.1 per cent.
Apart from assessing the poverty levels on the basis of income, the survey, conducted between October 2011 and October 2012, also looked into other indirect poverty issues, including secondary education growth, electricity usage and the state of habitat.
According to the HBS, houses built with modern materials have been on the increase from 33 per cent in 2007 to 46 per cent in 2012.
Unveiling the survey findings in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Dr Servacius Likwelile, said that on the other hand, 66 per cent of the population live in modern corrugated iron-roofed houses compared to 55 per cent in 2007.
"Although we are moving forward, poverty remains a problem as 35 per cent of people do not get basic needs, while 16 per cent are unsure of the food.
However, our economy grew at a rate of seven per cent," said Dr Likwelile According to Dr Likwelile, the school enrolment rate has increased by 29 per cent in 2011/12 from 15 per cent in 2007 due to the increase in secondary schools construction.
On the levels of income poverty, Dr Likwelile said that apart from the survey, it shows that both extreme and basic needs poverty are more of a rural phenomenon compared to Dar es Salaam and other urban areas. During the survey, a total of 10,186 out of the intended 10,400 households were interviewed in both rural and urban areas of Tanzania Mainland.
Dr Likwelile further added that while the national average food poverty percentage stands at 9.7, rural has 11.3 per cent and Dar es Salaam has the lower of the extreme poor 1 per cent, followed by other urban areas - 8.7 per cent of people who are extremely poor.
"We are almost fulfilling the MKUKUTA II goals and are even going to exceed as we are supposed to reach 12.5 per cent of food poverty by 2015.
We are now remaining with 2.8 per cent," he elaborated. He further said that the overall basic needs poverty level on the Mainland is 28.2 per cent, 33 in rural and 21 in other urban areas, out of which Dar es Salaam has the lowest per cent of 4.1.
A Senior World Bank (WB) statistician, Mr Richard Martini, said that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has done an immense job, adding that the new poverty rate which is estimated at 28.2 per cent represents people who are incapable to consume at least a basket of basic needs, goods and services.
"We look forward to the completion of the task of reanalysing the 2007 data using the same improved methods as in the new survey, in order to have a proper sense of the trend in poverty rates between 2007 and 2012," he said.
Mr Martini further said that from the survey, NBS set the basic needs poverty line at 36,482/- per adult equivalent per month, which is based on the cost of a food basket that delivers 2,200 calories as well as an allowance for basic non- food necessities.
Meanwhile, the WB has congratulated the NBS for Thurday's release of the initial poverty statistics from the 2011/12 Household Budget Survey.
The new poverty rate for Tanzania is estimated at 28.2 per cent in 2011/12, which represents the proportion of Tanzanians who are not able to consume a minimum basket of 'basic needs' goods and services.
"We congratulate the NBS for producing the new figures, in line with international best practices, "the WB Country Director for Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi, Mr Philippe Dongier, said.
"We look forward to the completion of the task of reanalysing the 2007 data using the same improved methods as in the new survey, in order to have a proper sense of the trend in poverty rates between 2007 and 2012," he added.
He said for this survey, the NBS set the basic needs poverty line at 36,482/- per adult equivalent per month; this is based on the cost of a food basket that delivers 2,200 calories per adult per day, as well as an allowance for basic non-food necessities like clothing, health and education.
Mr Dongier said through the improved analysis of the 2011/12 Household Budget Survey and exercises such as the population census, the Government of Tanzania and all stakeholders now have the data needed to deepen understanding of the characteristics and causes of poverty in Tanzania.
The WB has supported this effort through technical assistance and as part of joint donor funding for the NBS for surveys and capacity strengthening, he added.