A new initiative—in which the chief executive officers roundtable (CEOrt) is engaging a renowned economist who will analyse the country’s economic developments and advise the government accordingly—is good for Tanzania.
The Bank of Tanzania (BoT) and some government experts have always conducted that role so well that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) now ranks ours Africa’s second fastest growing economy after Cote d’Ivoire.
This is a commendable achievement. However, it should be noted that Tanzania’s economic growth has been satisfactory for almost two decades, averaging seven per cent. However, Household Budget Surveys for 2011/12 show that at least 28.2 per cent of the population in Mainland Tanzania still lives below the basic needs poverty. In other words, over a quarter of our country’s population cannot amply access basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, clean water and sanitation.
Though various reasons would be cited as contributing to this pathetic situation, the fact is that independent opinion on how to tweak the ailing economic sectors and ensure that each industry performs well for the general good of the national economy cannot be overemphasised.
The CEOs, under the guidance of a renowned economist, are better placed to show why certain economic activities aren’t performing as per the desired expectations. For instance, a thorough and independent opinion would be required to show why agriculture—which has the potential to hasten the pace at which the much publicised macroeconomic growth figures translate into meaningful gains at the microeconomic level—is not growing at a better rate.
An independent analyst would also show why private investment in agriculture is low and why the tourism potential isn’t harnessed to the optimum level. The goal of industrialising Tanzania can achieved if all people play their part effectively.