Dar es Salaam. President John Magufuli today July 22, swore in Mr George Simbachawene as Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office (Union and Environmental Affairs), hinting at some of the shortfalls bedevilling the docket.
President John Magufuli announced on Sunday - through the Director of Presidential communications, Mr Gerson Msigwa - that he had revoked the appointment of Mr January Makamba as Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office (Union and Environmental Affairs) and replacing him with Mr Simbachawene.
Dr Magufuli also appointed Nzega Urban MP, Mr Hussein Bashe, as Deputy Minister of Agriculture. He was also sworn in on Monday, 22 July 2019.
Speaking shortly after the two had taken their oaths, President Magufuli said there was a lot of sluggishness in the way tasks were being handled at the ministry.
“Investors are still exposed to a lot of delays in accessing Environmental Impact Assessment (Eia) certificates. If need be, it should reach a point whereby investors should start investing and acquire the certificates later,” said Dr Magufuli.
At a time when some quarters were pouring praises on Mr Makamba on the way he handled the government’s ban on plastic bags, President Magufuli said on Monday, 22 July 2019 that it actually took four years for the outlawing to be implemented.
“The Vice President spoke about it. The Prime Minister spoke about it. There has been a lot of dillydallying until I issued an ultimatum,” said President Magufuli.
Bashe is the man
On Bashe’s appointment, President Magufuli said he decided to appoint Mr Bashe as Deputy Minister for Agriculture basing on the latter’s candid contributions in Parliament.
“I heard how you contributed to the budget for the Ministry of Agriculture [for the financial year 2019/20] in Parliament. I was impressed by the analyses shown through your contributions in Parliament and I want you to go and put that into practice,” said Dr Magufuli.
Contributing to the debate on the budget for the Ministry of Agriculture for the financial year 2019/20 in Parliament on June 18, 2019, Mr Bashe said there was a close link between the Ministry of Agriculture; Livestock and Fisheries Development and that of Industry and Trade.
Unfortunately, he said though agriculture, livestock and fisheries contributed about 30 per cent to gross domestic product, the development budget for the sectors left a lot to be desired.
“If you consider that we are spending Sh12 trillion on development projects, you will realise that in total, the ministries of Agriculture as well as that of Livestock and Fisheries Development will take only Sh61 billion which is equivalent to only 1.3 per cent of our total development funds,” said Mr Bashe.
He said at a time when Tanzania depended on its cash crops, it was worrying that production of most of its cash crops was on the decline.
He said for Tanzania Revenue Authority to collect Sh1.7 trillion every month during the 2019/20 financial year, the country must focus on stimulating production.
President Magufuli exuded confidence that Mr Bashe would deliver.
The sector is massive but it also faces numerous challenges, said President Magufuli, hinting at how the Sugar Board of Tanzania was doing a commendable job even as it faced resistance from dealers.
“I want you to work on this. Farming in business and farmers must earn profits and become rich through farming. If you can work with the Ministry of Industry and Trade as well as with the Prisons Department, you can do wonders,” he said.
He asked Mr Bashe to work with the Minister for Agriculture and that of Livestock and Fisheries Development to arrange a meeting so that the Head of State can meet and hold talks with all livestock keepers across the country.