Tanzania, along with other member states of the East African Community (EAC) are looking to build stronger economies in the 2022/2023 financial year following the presentation of national budgets of respective countries.
The past two years have been largely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to massive disruption of economies across different sectors as the world looked to shield itself from the adverse effects of the global pandemic.
As a slither of hope was being realised, February 2022 saw the world take a tumble following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Ukraine-Russia war has remained a constant threat to global economic recovery, and East Africa is not immune to the imminent threat and ripple effect. Already Tanzania and her neighbours are going through the war impact as prices of goods continue to skyrocket due to a disruption in supply chains. This has made government’s refocus priorities when setting yearly budgets and goals.
It therefore comes as no surprise that the national budget tabled by Tanzania for 2022/2023 has a strong focus on stimulating the economy and mitigating the cost of living. The former key area is a shared target by Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. Rebuilding the economy remains top on the list as the region tries to devise different ways of coping with the bitter and costly war.
As Minister of Finance Mwigulu Nchemba presented Tanzania’s Sh41.4 trillion budget for 2022/2023, the different focus areas as pin-pointed by the government have been dissected by analysts from various sectors ranging from banking, accounting, auditing and the political sphere. Some have applauded the government’s elaborate intent to fortify the economy by addressing the challenge of spiraling fuel prices, however, others have criticised some of the proposed reforms especially regulatory in as far as tax is concerned, with the abolition of the Value Added Tax (VAT) exemption on gadgets raising concern that the digital drive that has been fervently pushed by the Ministry of Information, Communication and Information Technology will be set back a couple of years. But also, this move threatens the intentional efforts to bridge the digital access gap between Tanzanians living in urban settings and those found in the rural areas or city outskirts due to increase in price of gadgets.
Strategic appraoch to chellenges
It is apparent that there are a plethora of challenges Tanzania is facing and it is through a strategic approach in the national budget that the country will be able to have a clear sense of how to approach such challenges. A stimulated economy will only be possible if interlinked sectors and services are given top priority. The fact that basic necessities such as certain foodstuffs and fuel have become so expensive for a common citizen to afford means that the government has a lot of strategizing to do.
How we move forward from here will determine the success rate of achieving outlined goals and objectives set for the country as the globe tries to overcome pressing challenges that continue to impact the lives of everyone.
What should remain a key focus is having our priorities in check and implementing strategies without leaving any loopholes.