Three issues irk Samia as she tours Mtwara, Lindi

President Samia Suluhu Hassan speaks to the people of Nanguruwe village in Mtwara Region yesterday as she continues in a tour of the southern regions. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE

What you need to know:

  • Her irritation was palpable as she addressed residents and leaders, particularly when she mentioned the misappropriation of funds in local councils,

Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday expressed her frustration over fund embezzlement, mismanagement of agricultural inputs, and residents’ failure to fully utilise the free education opportunity provided by the government.

Addressing a rally at the Majaliwa grounds in Tandahimba District yesterday, the Head of State was categorically clear that the three issues should be addressed promptly.

President Hassan is on a five-day work visit in the Mtwara and Lindi regions.

Her irritation was palpable as she addressed residents and leaders, particularly when she mentioned the misappropriation of funds in local councils, as hinted earlier by the Minister of State in the President’s Office-Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG), Mr Mohamed Mchengerwa, when he addressed the same gathering.

“How come the money that is allocated to the council is misused? Why should it be misused? Where are the councillors? Where are the political committees? Where are the district executives?” she asked in a tone that reflected great concern over the misuse of government resources.

The President, who is visiting southern regions for the first time since ascending into power in March 2021, also directed her attention to the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), questioning the agency’s role in preventing the vice.

“PCCB’s job is to prevent and fight graft; they should not wait for the vice to happen. They should prevent misuse of public funds and stop corruption,” she said.

She expressed bewilderment at the situation, considering the presence of a host of government officials at the regional and district levels.

President Hassan instructed all leaders under the PO-RALG to come together and identify the root causes of the problems, particularly highlighting the role of councillors as primary council managers. She stressed that the government’s funds were intended to serve the people and solve their problems.

“Funds allocated by the government are not limitless. We have decided to serve the people and solve their problems, which is why we are allocating these funds. The money should be used as intended,” said the President underscoring the importance of accountability.

Regarding the agricultural sector, President Hassan expressed her concern about subsidies provided by the government to fund the sector.

She noted that the money collected from crop sales often fell short of the subsidies given to farmers. President Hassan urged farmers to increase productivity, as the subsidies were aimed at building their capacity and doubling their incomes.

The Head of State also addressed the issue of input distribution, sniffing the rat on the exercise and saying; “I know there are some tricks. You are doing tricks to bring in false statistics and deny farmers the provision of inputs.” She called on councillors and Local Government Authority (LGA) leaders to ensure that farmers receive the inputs provided by the government so that they can transform their agricultural activities.

The President revealed that the government was allocating a substantial amount to the tune of Sh105 billion for the inputs, with the expectation that the level of crop production would significantly reach and surpass the targets.

Speaking on the government’s commitment to transform the country’s education sector, she said the free education policy has been implemented in the country.

She urged parents to take their children to school, emphasising that educated youth would significantly contribute to the region’s development.

The President’s commitment to tackling corruption and ensuring government resources are utilised for the benefit of citizens was evident throughout her address, which was carried live by the national broadcaster, TBC.