10 August 2017

Tanzania: Commonwealth On Cost-Cutting Drive As Secretary General Jets in

Major reforms are looming at the Commonwealth Secretariat through an array of cost cutting measures expected to save three million pounds per annum (about 8.76bn/-) under Secretary General of the inter-governmental organisation, Ms Patricia Scotland.

Ms Scotland, who jets into the country today for a three-day working visit, is expected to discuss these changes during a meeting with President John Magufuli tomorrow, according to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation, Dr Aziz Mlima.

The restructuring is slated for approval during Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in London in April, next year. Ms Scotland took the position in 2015 from Mr Kamalesh Sharma of India who served in the position between 2008 and 2016.

"The objective of her visit is to brief leaders within the community on the looming changes, new priorities and measures being taken to strengthen the organisation," Dr Mlima told a news conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Through the reforms, Ms Scotland plans to drop the three Under-Secretary Generals at the secretariat and replace them with senior officers for five geographical areas in the Commonwealth namely Africa, Caribbean, Europe and America, in addition to Asia and South Pacific.

Ms Scotland was elected to the position during the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in November 2015 in Malta and brings with her reforms to improve efficiency and cut-cost at the secretariat.

Apart from plans to drop the three Under-Secretary Generals, the Commonwealth's top executive also plans to reduce the number of directors at the secretariat from twelve to six, Dr Mlima explained.

During her visit in Tanzania, she is also scheduled to hold meetings with the Minister of State in Vice-President Office (Union Affairs and Environment), Mr January Makamba as well as Minister for Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Prof Joyce Ndalichako, after which she will depart for Mozambique on August 12.

Dr Mlima said Tanzania has had a number of trade benefits through the Commonwealth, explaining that all leading countries with investment in Tanzania; namely United Kingdom, India, Kenya and South Africa; are members of the organisation.

Tanzania joined the 52-member organisation soon after independence in 1961, joining other countries which were former colonies of Britain. Rwanda and Mozambique are some of the member countries which have never been colonised by the British but were admitted into the league after the criteria of being a former colony was dropped.

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