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Major Projects, Austerity Measures Propelling Tanzania To Prosperity

Tanzania is gradually but surely moving towards a middle-income country thanks to some structural projects and austerity measures aimed at curtailing government spending and increasing the tax base. The East African country attained a 7 per cent growth rate from 2013 to 2016 and 6.8 during the first two quarters of 2017 is expected to hit 6.9 in 2019 according the African Development Bank. The country for now stands out tall as one of the best performing economies in East Africa. Public investment, particularly with ongoing implementation of larger infrastructure projects, is driving growth. The revival of the national airline, the construction of roads and bridges, free education and youth employment are some of the indicators pushing up growth in the East Africa’s third largest economy. Faster growth in mining, natural gas and construction activities propelled Tanzania’s economy higher in the third quarter of 2017, news reports quoted the country’s Statistics Agency. “Economic activities that increased at significant rates were mining and quarrying (20.8 per cent), water supply (19.1 per cent), information and communication (13.4 per cent), transport and storage (13.0 per cent) and manufacturing (12.4 per cent),” National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicated. The World Bank cut its forecast for Tanzania’s full-year GDP growth in November to 6.6 per cent versus the government’s revised growth target of 7.0 per cent, due to slowdowns in public spending and growth of credit to the private sector. NBS said growth in the mining and quarrying sector was largely driven by an increase in natural gas production, diamond and coal output. The austerity measures included the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), increase of tax on imported manufactured goods to encourage industrialisation while those on key raw materials were removed. Accounting officers were instructed to give priority to public institutions and those in which the government owns shares when they buy services such as insurance, financial services, transport, mail, Internet, telephone, transportation, packaging, and advertising. Tanzanian Finance Minister Philip Mpango also told the officers to continue cutting unnecessary spending by ensuring all meetings including board meetings, training, workshops and seminars are held in government halls and public institutions, and to do away with sitting allowances, foreign travel, printing T-shirts, hats and handbags amongst others. All of these measures taken by Tanzania authorities to streamline and cut spending while increasing the tax base have been yielding palpable results with positive effects being felt on the country’s economic growth.

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