16 May 2018

Tanzania: Agriculture Budget Approved After Two Days of Hot Debate

Dodoma — The budget of the Ministry of Agriculture has sailed through after two days of intense debate surrounded by resistance from lawmakers who threatened to block the estimates until it's reviewed.

The budget was approved on Wednesday night.

MPs said the budget was little to the sector which contributes about 30 per cent to Tanzania's gross domestic product (GDP).

The lawmakers were also irked by the low price of cotton, delays in paying the agents for farm inputs and ban on maize exports, among others.

When the Parliament sat as a committee, some lawmakers including Nape Nnauye (Mtama-CCM) and Paschal Haonga (Mbozi-Chadema) wanted to further debate of some issues.

Minister for Agriculture responded to some issues including the saga of maize markets. He said the government had lifted export ban on maize.

He also said that having little budget for agriculture was due to scarce financial resources and the fact that almost 80 per cent of agriculture sector issues were implanted by other ministries.

Parliamentary chairman Mr Mussa Azzan Zungu also ordered the Parliamentary Budget Committee to meet on Thursday after the questions-and-answers session in the morning to discuss the issue of export levy charged on cashew nuts which was raised by Mr Nnauye.

Sessions will resume on Thursday morning and the Ministry of Livestock will table its estimates for 2018/19 after the questions and answers.

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