Tanzania: Nine Issues that Analysts Expect in Samia's First Address to Parliament

Tanzania's President Samia Suluhu Hassan (file photo).

Dar es Salaam. With President Samia Suluhu Hassan scheduled to make her maiden address to the Parliament tomorrow, pundits expect she will touch on at least nine issues that they need pressing.

Key on their expectations include, concrete steps to improve the business environment, fostering discipline in the utilisation of public money, workers' welfare, sustainability of development projects, constitutional review, democracy, employment and former students' higher education loans repayment model.

The blueprint

In 2018, the cabinet approved a blueprint that set the stage for a raft of amendments to laws and regulations governing the conduct of businesses in Tanzania.
The aim of the document – which was prepared after thorough consultations with various private sector associations and World Bank officials - was to improve the country's business environment and attract an increasing number of investors.

Though some steps have been taken towards that goal, members of the business community say speeding up implementation of the blueprint could have positive outcomes as the country endeavours to attract more investors.
This, they say, will boost the government's chances of creating eight million jobs as promised during the ruling party's 2020 election manifesto.

"Putting something on paper is one thing and implementing it is another thing. Speeding up implementation of the blueprint will see businesses flourish," said the Tanga Fresh chief executive officer, Mr Innocent Mushi.

He said he was also expecting the President to touch on what her administration will do to boost local manufacturers. This, he said, should be done in such a way whereby the government creates an environment that enables locally-produced products to compete fairly with imported ones.
He also expected the President to talk about the realistic macroeconomic targets.

"This is important because all those things at macro level trickle down to the micro level. The latter is what an ordinary person sees in his or her daily life," he said.
On public service discipline and workers' welfare, Mr Mushi said he expects the head of state to state measures that her administration will take to discipline in public service as well as on what the government will do to improve lives of civil servants and the retired officials.

Covid-19 jabs
Tanzania was going its own way in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic during the administration of the fifth phase government under former President John Magufuli.
However, President Hassan recently announced she had already formed a team of experts to advise her on the way forward.
This, analysts say, could also come up clearly as the President addresses the Parliament tomorrow.
Keds Tanzania Company Limited general manager Ben Song expects the President would state exactly when Covid-19 vaccines would arrive in Tanzania for vaccinations to start being administered.

"The Covid-19 topic goes beyond healthy living. If you don't address the pandemic, you are also booting investors confidence. Investors will be confident to come and invest because much as they believe Tanzania is a peaceful country and that the country has resources, their health and those of their employees while in the country also matters," he said.
He expects the President will speak about concrete measures to be put in place to attract investments.
On the same topic of boosting the morale of investors, Lodhia Group of Companies managing director Sailesh Pandit is expecting news about simplifying the process of importing scrap metals that are used as raw materials in steel manufacturing.
"If complexity of getting permits is simplified, our factories will be working at 95 percent of the capacity, above the current 60 to 70 percent," said Mr Pandit.
A business expert, on the condition of anonymity, expected President Samia to institutionalise the good intentions she has for this country to realise its potential.
Sustainability of mega projects

The source also expects President Samia will set up a Presidential Economic Advisory Council just like the way it is in Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Africa and in the UK.
"Major decisions, including national strategic plans and projects and how we become number one investment destination are addressed in the council," he said.
It is his expectation that the President will set up an effective monitoring, evaluation and accountability structures to drive transformation in key areas.

He also expects installation of a constitution that ensures that no one has unfettered powers and that there are checks and balances at all levels including Local Government Authorities (LGAs).

Democracy
The leader of the ACT-Wazalendo, Mr Zitto Kabwe, is looking forward to the state of the nation address because it would also give the country's trajectory on democracy and how the administration plans to promote it.

"State of the Nation Address by President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Thursday evening would give clear hints of her vision for the country and how Tanzanians can work together to rebuild our democracy," he said.

Speaking on Sunday during a conference for religious leaders that was meant to thank God for the life of former President Magufuli, President Samia also stipulated that one of the things that she would focus on was preservation of the national values that include peace, unity, union, solidarity and the Holly Zanzibar Revolution.

Looking forward to her address tomorrow she is also expected to speak on strengthening the country's unity and democracy. Democracy entails respect for the rule of law and freedom of expression as enshrined in the constitution.

Employment
In his recent remarks in the national assembly, the minister of Finance and Planning, Dr Mwigulu Nchemba, said the government has created a total of 12.7 million employment opportunities.

However, the minister statement - which was aired during a debate on the Five-Year (2021/22 -2025/26) Development Plan - was received with mixed views by social media users regarding the reality of the data in the employment sector.

"Hundreds of thousands of graduates enter the streets every year searching for jobs and this has become a serious challenge nowadays because the available opportunities are inadequate," said Salum Mwinjuma, a recent university graduate.
He remains hopeful that the President will not forget to touch on this when he addresses the House.

High education loans deductions

A lawyer, Ms Nawike Samson, is of the view that President Samia will find a way of handling the deductions on loans that students incur while pursuing their university studies.

Ms Samson said people who studied using the government loans are now paying a high price as a huge chunk of their gross salary is being deducted for loan repayment.
"She should address this issue and help the beneficiaries by advocating a small percentage deduction," she said.

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