Tanzania: Opposition Tables 29tri/ - Agriculture Based Plan

OPPOSITION camp in parliament yesterday unveiled its 29.03tri/- alternative budget, with agriculture, industries and education getting the lion share of total spending.

The opposition has planned to spend 4.97tri/- less than the government's fiscal plan of 33.1tri/-.

Presenting the alternative budget yesterday, Deputy Shadow Minister for Finance and Planning David Silinde (Momba- Chadema) stated that the opposition would have focused on agriculture, with 20 per cent allocation of the total budget, industry and education, which would have received 20 and 15 per cent, respectively.

Mr Silinde mentioned other areas of priority as water and health, which would each be allocated 10 per cent while other sectors of the economy would get 30 per cent of the total budget.

The financial plan by the opposition allocates 15.735tri/- to recurrent expenditures, with the development votes getting 13.295tri/- during the 2019/2020 fiscal year.

According to Mr Silinde, if the opposition was in power it would have collected 23.292tri/- in taxes in addition to 2.588tri/- in non-revenue taxes, 1.941tri/- in revenues from local government authorities and 1.210tri/- in capital grants from foreign governments and international multilateral organisations.

Meanwhile, Members of Parliament (MPs) are pushing for speedy execution of Liganga and Mchuchuma projects to curb importation of construction materials for the major infrastructure projects.

They have particularly cited the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), ports and airports as the mega projects that need domestic sourcing of raw materials.

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Budget Chairman George Simbachawene (Kibakwe- CCM) argued here yesterday that execution of the two flagship projects will enable the country to domestically source steel and aluminum for the infrastructure projects.

"Implementation of the two projects-Liganga and Mchuchuma- will reduce importation of construction materials," Mr Simbachawene explained when presenting the committee views on the state of the economy for 2018 and budget estimates for the 2019/20 fiscal year.

He pointed out that the balance of payment in Tanzania increased by over 40 per cent from 1.427 billion US dollars during the 2017/2018 fiscal year to 2.005 billion dollars in 2018/2019.

"The increment on balance of payment, to large extent, was due to importation of construction materials for the railway line, airports, ports and roads," he explained.

During the period under review, Tanzania's exports of goods and services increased by 0.7 per cent with gold dominating the increase.

Quoting figures from the ministry of Finance and Planning, Mr Simbachawene said Tanzania exported goods and services worth 8.488 billion US dollars while imports stood at 9.916 billion dollars during the 2017/2018, representing the 1.427 billion dollar balance of payment.

According to the figures, exports during the fiscal year 2018/2019 stood at 9.916 billion dollars while imports soared to 10.550 billion dollars.

"It is thus important to have Liganga and Mchuchuma projects executed to reduce importation of the raw materials... this will play an important role in the balance of payment between Tanzania and its trading partners," he stated.

Contributing to the budget estimates that Finance and Planning Minister Dr Philip Mpango unveiled here last Thursday, Makambako MP Deo Sanga (CCM) said it was high time the two projects were revived for the betterment of the national economy.

"Implementation of the projects will play a crucial role in the economy of the southern highlands regions and Tanzania as a whole," argued the MP.

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