On June the 14th this year the Finance Minister will present the Government Budget for approval by Parliament. As it is well known the budget is the annual instrument for implementing a country’s development strategy.
In the build up to this year’s budget I am taking this opportunity as Shadow Finance Minister to invite everyone to put forward their ideas/suggestions on what areas should be of priority in this year’s budget.
Your views will be collected and analyzed to form part of the Shadow Budget to be presented to Parliament and play a pivotal role in influencing MPs to adopt the proposals to improve the Government Budget.
Some of the major areas of concern that we are focusing on are;
1. Inflation which is largely contributed by food and energy prices (56.7% of the basket of goods and services with an inflation rate of 27%). Ideas on cutting inflation and hence prevent further deterioration of our poor people’s income are largely welcome.
2. Unemployment especially youth unemployment is a mammoth challenge in our country. Tanzania’s phenomenal growth (economic growth) has not had a trickledown effect and in turn not translated into enough jobs which have increased the potential of a demographic bomb instead of dividend of having more young people and hence larger work force.
3. Reducing the current account deficit by cutting down on Imports & increasing Exports. Statistics shows that by the year ending March 2012 Tanzania import bill totalled USD 12.6bn while exports were a mere USD 6.9bn. The current account deficit stands at incredible USD 5.2bn! Tourism and Transport sectors have the potential of being even bigger forex earners as well as the proposed gas fired electricity generation would help cut down imports. Ideas in this area are needed.
4. More domestic revenue to finance development projects that are badly needed. By closing tax loopholes and reigning in on tax exemptions. Simultaneous cuts in recurrent spending and scaling up of development spending would foster strong growth.
5. The National Debt has drastically increased from TZS 7 trillion in 2009 to TZS 11 trillion in 2010 to a whopping TZS 22 trillion by March 2012. The costs for servicing this debt is the largest budget item in the proposed 2012/13 budget at TZS 2.7trillions is what we are paying this year to service our debt. This is equal to 34% of the whole budget for recurrent expenditure 21% of the total budget. Our nation’s spiraling debt is bankrupting the future of Tanzania’s children and put them at the mercy of our lenders.
Your ideas to help us improve the budget in order to foster growth and poverty eradication will be taken very seriously. Be part of transformation you want to see for Tanzania.
By Zitto Kabwe