Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Absence of ministers irks JPM


By Gadiosa Lamtey & By Alfred Zacharia @TheCitizenTZ news@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. President John Magufuli yesterday expressed his disappointment over absence of two ministers at the 11th Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) meeting, which he chaired at the State House.

The minister for Agriculture, Dr Charles Tizeba and his Livestock and Fisheries counterpart, Mr Luhaga Mpima were conspicuously absent from the meeting, which brought together senior officials from the public and private sectors for the sake of discussing the best way to improve Tanzania’s business and investment climate.

During the course of deliberations, members of the business community presented several views that needed explanations from the two ministers, prompting the President to ask for their whereabouts from the Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa.

Dr Magufuli wondered why even the ministers’ deputies, Ms Mary Mwanjelwa (Agriculture) and Mr Abdallah Ulega (Livestock and Fisheries) as well as permanent secretaries were also not in attendance. “Issues have been raised by members from the business community from the agriculture and livestock sub sectors….I am not sure if some of my appointees understand what I want,” said Dr Magufuli. Earlier, the managing director for Asas Dairies, Mr Faud Abri called on the government to focus on the dairy industry, saying it had a huge potential of contributing immensely to the country’s economy.

Absent ministers respond

Speaking to The Citizen yesterday, the deputy minister for Livestock and Fisheries, Mr Abdallah Ulega said he was unable to attend the important meeting because he was assigned some responsibilities that saw him travel to Kigoma in the company of a Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Water.

“My boss, Mr Luhaga Mpina had assigned me the task of accompanying a parliamentary committee to Kigoma….While there, I also took time to visit other government projects,” he said.

Similarly, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Yohana Budeba said he was in Dodoma – the country’s capital – at the time of the meeting in Dar es Salaam.

Both Dr Tizeba and his deputy, Ms Mwanjelwa said they were attending some meetings by the time The Citizen sought response from them.

“I am in a meeting at the moment. I cannot talk,” each of the two said separately.