Tanzania: Dar es Salaam, IMF Strengthen Bond

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has appealed for continued cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in supporting productive sectors that were affected by Covid -19.

President Samia said the Covid- 19 has slowed down the country's economic growth from 6.9 to 4.7 per cent.

She also called upon the IMF to keep on supporting Tanzania on the implementation of flagship projects including the ongoing construction of a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and the Julius Nyerere Hydroelectricity Power Project (JNHPP) that is expected to produce 2,115 Megawatts of electricity, upon completion.

President Samia made the requests Monday to IMF Director General Kristalina Georvieva, during their meeting held virtually, where she thanked the financial institution for its support on various development projects in the country.

However, she assured the IMF boss of Tanzania's commitment to maintain and strengthen the already made bond.

Ms Samia, who was speaking from her office at Chamwino State House in Dodoma, equally briefed the IMF boss that Tanzania has already started taking measures in efforts to revive the economy.

"Some of the efforts include improving the environment for business and investment, addressing challenges on tax administration and land, improving good governance as well as tackling climate change," said President Samia, in part of the statement issued by the Director of Presidential Communications, Mr Gerson Msigwa.

On her part, Ms Kristalina assured President Samia that IMF was ready to provide quick support to Tanzania to revive sectors that were highly affected by Covid-19, citing them as tourism, and health as well as production and provision of social services.

She said, IMF would immediately start working on Tanzania's request to secure soft loans.

According to her, in the second phase, the IMF has planned to spend 650 billion US dollars as an emergency fund to support various developing countries that have been affected by Covid-19.

Due to that, President Samia instructed the Minister for Finance and Planning Dr Mwigulu Nchemba and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Amb Liberata Mulamula to finalise the process for applying for the loan.

During their talks, Ms Kristalina conveyed her condolences to President Samia on the demise of the former President the late John Magufuli, and congratulated her for being sworn in as a sixth president of Tanzania.

Meanwhile, President Samia Suluhu Hassan has underscored the need for African countries to strengthen cooperation and remove barriers that hinder growth of trade and investment.

President Samia also called for enhanced efforts to curb continuous conflicts afflicting the African continent.

The Head of State issued the call when she met former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo at Chamwino State House in Dodoma. During their talks, the two leaders discussed economic and security issues among other agendas.

According to the statement issued by the Directorate of Presidential Communications, President Samia and her guest discussed the security situation in Africa continent and the need for African leaders to conduct dialogues and seek resolutions to unabated conflicts that cause deaths of innocent people, especially women and children.

"The leaders also discussed development issues, particularly in economy and stressed the significance of enhanced cooperation among African countries, and removal of barriers for trade and investment," added the statement issued by the Director of Presidential Communications and Chief Government Spokesperson, Mr Gerson Msigwa.

Mr Obasanjo passed his condolence message to President Samia following the deaths of her predecessor, former President John Magufuli, who passed on suddenly in March 17, this year at the age of 61, and thirdphase President, Benjamin Mkapa, who died on July 24, 2020, aged 81.

The former Nigerian leader congratulated Samia for being sworn-in as the sixth President of Tanzania. She took the oath of office on March 19, this year and was elected the ruling CCM party's chairperson on April 30, this year.

In another development, President Samia is on Tuesday expected to start a two-day state visit to Kenya, with the two East African nations looking to bolster and broaden long-existing social and economic ties.

President Samia is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with her host, President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House before addressing a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the Senate.

While in Kenya, President Samia will also attend and address a forum of Kenyan and Tanzanian business people in Nairobi for the purpose of addressing various issues of trade and investment between the two EAC giants.

"It should be recalled that Kenya is the leading investor in Tanzania among all African nations, therefore, Madam President will use the business forum to promote investment opportunities available in the country for the mutual benefits of the people of Tanzania and Kenya," Msigwa said on Sunday when briefing on the President's trip to Kenya.

This will be President Samia's second trip outside the country since assuming the presidency following the death of President John Magufuli on March 17, this year.

She made an official trip to Uganda on April 11 for the signing of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline deal.

President Samia's visit to Kenya has excited observers, who believe it is a move in the right direction as the two nations seek to strengthen economic relations.

"In my view, top on her priority list should be to remove the non-tariff barriers to trade between Kenya and Tanzania. The Kenya-Tanzania bilateral trade is largely latent and needs Suluhu to make it kinetic," Dismas Mokua, a political risk analyst for businesses involved in crossborder trade, was quoted as saying by the Nation of Kenya.

In a speech to Parliament last week, President Suluhu told legislators that her administration will pursue economic diplomacy with partners in the region and across the world.

Her visit to Kenya comes a few days after receiving an invitation from President Kenyatta.

On April 10, the Kenyan leader sent the Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amina Mohamed to Tanzania to formally deliver Kenya's invitation to President Samia.

President Samia promised to honour the invitation and assured Nairobi that the Dodoma government was ready to resolve all the differences - perceived or real - that Tanzania has with Kenya.

The Tanzanian leader said the two countries share a rich history, and that the ties should not end over issues that can be resolved.

Ms Samia said Tanzania and Kenya should revive the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC), which she suggested would play a crucial role in strengthening bilateral ties.

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