17 Mar 2009


By Mkinga Mkinga

The Government is assessing the impact of the global financial crisis on the Tanzanian economy.

The deputy minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr Omar Yusuf Mzee, told The Citizen yesterday by phone that officials from his ministry had been dispatched to regions to talk to stakeholders on problems facing them as a result of the global financial crisis.

"I am in Kigoma on a similar mission and my colleague [deputy minister Jeremiah Sumari) is in southern regions," he said.

The assessment is aimed at collecting crucial information on the crisis. He said his tour would take him to Kigoma, Tabora, Singida and Dodoma regions while Mr Sumari would visit Lindi and Mtwara regions to gather similar information.

"We need to know the real picture when we call stakeholders to a national meeting to discuss the crisis.During the meeting we will focus on how we can help businesses which have been affected," he said.

He said a national roundtable with chief executive officers of various firms to discuss the situation would be held soon after completing the assessment.

Bank of Tanzania (BoT) Governor Benno Ndulu, did not say what the Government could do to shore up businesses amid the crisis.

"I cannot say that the Government will offer stimulus packages to affected businesses. But we are aware of the situation and we are planning something for our local entrepreneurs," he said. Prof Ndulu said BoT was closely following the developments.

He noted that so far there was no indication that local banks would face difficulties in the near future as a result of the global crunch.

"People should go on with their activities; there is no need to worry as we are closely following the developments here and abroad. In case of any serious problem, we will issue an alert immediately," he said.

Recently, Finance and Economic Affairs minister Mustafa Mkulo did not rule out direct Government intervention, as members of the business community called for a state plan to save them from collapse.

He said during the forthcoming roundtable meeting, the Government would discuss with CEOs and draw up a joint strategy to deal with the problem.

"Our intervention will be within the limitations of the budget and it is my hope, as the Finance minister, that our engagement will be effected as soon as possible. It should be before the conclusion of the budget proposals," he said.

"If employers are thinking of retrenching workers, this will be discussed to see the best way in which the Government could assist," said Mr Mkulo.
Many countries are offering stimulus packages to private companies.

Such countries include the United States where the financial crunch started, sending financial institutions crumbling.The ministry has dispatched its team to regions at a time when businesses are calling for quick plans to remedy the situation.

The Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE) has confirmed that it had received urgent appeals for assistance from three companies. ATE executive secretary Aggrey Mlimuka warned of difficult times ahead unless the Government intervened.

The Tanzania Horticultural Association bemoans a 50 per cent business slump.It has urged the Government to support the small-scale growers and supply chains using a portion of the money that President Jakaya Kikwete pledged to give to agriculture.

It has also asked for the rescheduling of loans through commercial banks with BoT's intervention.
SOURCE: The Citizen

EACH REGION HAS A REGIONAL COMMISSIONER,REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE SECRETARY,REGIONAL PLANNING OFFICER,etc,etc,...AND SO ARE THE DISTRICTS.DOES THIS DECISION TO DESPATCH OFFICIALS FROM THE MINISTRY SUGGEST THAT THOSE AT REGIONAL/MUNICIPAL/DISTRICT LEVEL HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS THAT THEY CAN'T FURNISH THE GOVERNMENT WITH THE DATA NEEDED FOR THE ECONOMIC ASSESSMENT,OR THEY ARE TOO DUMB TO TALK TO STAKEHOLDERS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE ADMINISTRATIVE AREAS, OR IT IS ALL ABOUT THE NOTORIOUS PER DIEM SYNDROME AT THE TIME WHEN WE SERIOUSLY NEED TO KEEP OUR EXPENDITURE IN CHECK...!?

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