Economists argue that government expenditure is a major policy regarding fiscal matters. They say it is this expenditure, among other factors, that helps to stabilise the macroeconomy.
Earlier in the week, the government announced that it paid nearly Sh900 billion in arrears to various public servants and service providers during the past eight months.
There is a close relationship between government spending and economic growth. A nation’s wealth creation is very much dependent on this symbiosis, among other factors.
It should also be noted that this development has come as a huge relief to private service providers. A number of them were going through tough times as a result of the government’s delay in paying them.
While it is understandable that reasons for the delays included verification of debts by the government, it is worth noting that Tanzania’s economy is still relatively nascent. Most private service providers operate on bank loans and small capital, and even a slight delay in paying them can prove costly.
While we commend the government for taking measures to clear the arrears, we urge it to put in place a verification mechanism that will speedily and accurately determine who is owed what.
This is crucial to building the capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Most SMEs run on small capital, and their survival and growth depend on the turnaround of their businesses. A slight delay in paying them is enough to push them out of business.
This also applies to money owed to public servants. When they are paid on time, they too are able to fulfil their financial obligations. Fulfilment at the workplace, studies show, helps to boost performance.
The government’s decision to clear the arrears is commendable as it is a continuation of measures that help to improve relations between the government and the private sector.
Let the government continue fulfilling its 2017/18 pledge to clear back arrears after verification.
Watch what you eat
According to research, there is a high risk of people aged between 15 and 59 dying from diseases arising from what and how they eat.
Stroke and coronary and rheumatic heart diseases are the leading causes of death and an important factor contributing to long-term disability. Cervix, uterine and breast cancer, among women, and lung and prostate cancer, in men, are leading killers.
The shared related risk factors include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy eating habits, physical inactivity, high blood pressure and high blood lipids and blood sugar.
These so-called lifestyle diseases, which were previously associated with the developed countries, are now prevalent in developing countries, where awareness is still relatively low.
The good news is that these diseases are preventable. People should consider limiting sugar consumption, eating whole meal cereals, vegetables and fresh fruits; restricting animal fats; encouraging fish and vegetable oils and avoiding adding salt to prepared food.