24 May 2018

Tanzania's Cashew Did Not Get 65% of Export Levy, MPs Ask Why

Photo: The Citizen
Cashew nuts.

Dodoma — Speaker of the National Assembly Mr Job Ndugai has asked the Ministry of Finance and Planning to assess itself on why it delays releasing the funds as allocated by the Parliament.

Mr Ndugai was speaking in Parliament on Thursday when he responded to demands by the member of parliament that he suspends all other businesses to discuss delays of money meant for buying pesticides for cashew nuts.

The motion started with Mr Nape Nnauye (Mtama-CCM) who wanted the Parliament to suspend its businesses to discuss why the government did not release 65 per cent of the cashew nut export levy which was supposed to go to the Cashew nut Board of Tanzania to support farmers with pesticides. The money has not been released for two years now.

Mr Nnauye raised the point during the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture and he was told to meet the Parliament's Budget Committee.

"The committee has not addressed the issue and as I speak, there is a disease threatening the production of cashew nuts. This is the spraying season and if farmers miss it, cashew nuts grown in 17 regions and an important traditional export will crash," said Mr Nnauye.

The Budget Committee chairperson Ms Hawa Ghasia said the matter had nothing to do with the committee, saying 65 per cent of the export levy was supposed to go to the cashew nut board and 35 per cent to the main treasury fund.

"I therefore rest the case to you Mr Speaker," she said.

Mr Zitto Kabwe (Kigoma Urban - ACT wazalendo) said the point was very important, noting that there was a problem with the current government in obeying laws that govern fund releasing.

"I attended a meeting of the Budget Committee and learned that even the railway development levy was not released to Railway Holding Company (Rahco). The current government is ignoring laws enacted by the Parliament and we have to discuss the issue in that context," he said.

Mr Ndugai told the MPs to wait as he would engage the Prime Minister on the issue he described as frustrating.

"The Ministry of Finance and Planning must evaluate its way of doing things, especially in releasing funds. The Minister of Agriculture cried in a meeting with the Budget Committee requesting the money released... Why should we reach there?

"Imagine, you ask for your own money and you bow for it. This is not acceptable," he said.

"Agriculture issues are also very sensitive because once the season ends without spraying, we will not have the desired results. I will engage the PM and if that fails, I will bring the issue to the National Assembly," he added.

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