Tanzania: Pmo Budget - Virus, Polls Dominate

Dar es Salaam — Debate about the budget of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) continued yesterday with legislators focusing on proposals to accelerate the fight against the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The MPs also hinted at floods affecting Rufiji, and the planned General Election scheduled for October 2020. Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa tabled the budget for his Office and institutions under him, including the National Electoral Commission (Nec) that will handle the coming elections.

The PM is also leading the newly-formed national coordination committee for the fight against Covid-19 and supervises the country's emergency fund.

Tanzania has so far confirmed 20 cases of coronavirus with two people having fully recovered and discharged and one dead.

The ministry of Health updated yesterday that all remaining patients were improving in the isolation centres where they receive medical care.

However, the lawmakers asked the government to step-up efforts against coronavirus spread demanding the fight to focus on saving lives of all Tanzanians.

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"People have increased water usage as they wash hands and the government can relieve them by removing taxes for at least three months," said Mr Ibrahim Raza (Kiembe Samaki-CCM) who contributed to the budget debate.

"Police and immigration officers should also increase surveillance on unofficial borders which some foreigners may use to get into Tanzania and spread the viral disease," he added. Ms Cecilia Paresso (Special Seats-Chadema) was concerned about preparedness of the country in terms of food in case Tanzania reaches a level of lockdown.

"There is this notion that coronavirus is like any other disease but we must acknowledge that it spreads faster and stealthily than others. How is the government prepared for emergency food especially if it happens the country is locked down? Yes, there are measures but for ordinary people risk is high. Consider the crowd in buses, markets and even jail," she said.

Mr Vedasto Ngombale (Kilwa North-CUF) was also of a similar view saying things were not well organized around ordinary people.

"The government should put more emphasis around ordinary people who are still at risk," he said.

Ms Amina Mollel (Special Seats-CCM) wanted more public awareness especially for people with disability who need special attention.

Floods, elections

Mr Mohamed Mchengerwa (Rufiji-CCM) touched on coronavirus issues asking Tanzanians to follow health guidelines but stressed on the need to support people in Rufiji who are affected by floods.

"As we speak, some 20,000 families have been displaced by the floods although it's raining in the southern highlands, a bit far from Rufiji," he said. He said the government responded but more support was needed.

Mr Joseph Mbilinyi (Mbeya Urban-Chadema) talked much about the coming elections by emphasizing the need for an independent electoral commission.

"We also need reforms in some legislations so that Tanzania allows challenging of the presidential election results in court after announcing," he stressed.

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