Saturday, December 30, 2017

Mpango: We’re optimistic about attaining 7pc growth rate

Finance and Planning minister Philip Mpango

Finance and Planning minister Philip Mpango 

By Deogratius Kamagi and Josephine Christopher @TheCitizenTz

Dar es Salaam. The government is optimistic about Tanzania’s achievement of the economic growth target of 7 per cent this financial year.

Finance and Planning minister Philip Mpango told journalists yesterday here that the implementation of various major economic projects such as the construction of the standard gauge railway, expansion of airports and the construction of crude oil pipeline from Hoima in Uganda to Tanga Port would contribute to that growth.

Other projects are the construction of a hydroelectricity power plant at Stigler’s Gorge, the Kinyerezi power plant as well as those in transport, communications, finance, insurance and manufacturing sectors.

Dr Mpango was giving a briefing on the country’s economic trend.

“The economy is set to rise as the government is collecting revenue accordingly, improving social services and fighting corruption in earnest.”

The economy expanded at 6.8 per cent in the first half of this year, down from 7.7 per cent in a similar period in 2016.

According to the minister, the shrinkage was caused by a small shake in major sectors such as tourism and agriculture, which have high and low seasons.

“In business there is a high and low season. This variance causes changes in the economy. However, generally we are doing well,” he said.

“The target is to hit the 7-per cent mark of economic growth.” On the national budget for 2017/18, he said as of November, the government had disbursed a total of Sh10.4 trillion: Sh8.4 trillion being for recurrent expenditure and Sh2.04 trillion for development projects.

“Sh2.7 trillion was for salaries, Sh4.1 trillion for national debt settlement and Sh1.6 trillion for other expenses.Of the money released for development projects, Sh1.8 trillion was domestic sources and Sh221.5 billion from development partners.”

Dr Mpango said Sh4.06 trillion was collected in the first quarter of this financial year, slightly higher than Sh4.03 trillion in 2016/17.

However, the revenue collected was below the target of Sh4.79 trillion. Non-tax collection was Sh378.8 billion and tax collection was Sh3.56 trillion, while local government authorities garnered Sh124.7 billion.

The government has banned the charging of customers in foreign currencies instead they have to pay it in shillings in any business except in tourism effective from July 1, 2018.

“Those who breach the directive will face legal action,” he warned.