Friday, June 12, 2009

Bongo needs stimulation?

I was never the one to be excited when budget sessions were on. Over the years I have learnt to recognize the sense of de javu whenever some politician starts to utter the miracles he will perform next year. You shrug it all off with a ‘seen it all’ attitude.

Agriculture or whatever is left of it is the backbone of our entire economy, we are told. This year agriculture has been allocated Shs 666.9 billion, an increase of 30% compared to 513 bn in 08/09. The song of agriculture being the ‘backbone’ of our economy has been sung to us by our politicians since the days we were in nappies to date. What do we see? Nothing. Zilch!

Where are all those billions going to? We want to see Black Tanzanian farmers be the background of our agriculture. No bloody wawekezeji from abroad. We want to see that money be loaned to Black Tanzanians to be able to do their lands. We want statistics, their names from each region. We want them to be role models for our children and people in rural areas. The demented thought that foreigners are waiting to save Tanzania with basketful of dollars should be banished to hell.

Education. They have been allocated Shs 1.74 trillion, an increase of 22% compared to 1.4 trillion in 2008/09. Are the teachers going paid decently, or what? Are our little tots going to stop the government-condoned practice of sitting on floors in their classes? Where does the money go? To buy silly looking scarves during elections?

Health. It has been allocated Shs 963 bn, an increase of 5.7% compared to Shs 910.8 bn in 08/09. Hey, I was surprised when I witnessed a baba, at the Mwananyamala being forced to go and buy new nappies and new stuff for his newly arrived baby. He said he had not money.

The hospital said they were not releasing the baby wrapped in rags. He went out and got a loan. The geezer had to realize that he had his fun manufacturing the baby – now it was payback time. See? It needs just as little bit of imagination to right the wrongs in society.

Water. That has been allocated Shs 347 bn, an increase of 50%, compared to 231.6 bn in 2008/O9. Lack of access to safe drinking water is also a national scandal. Water is life. Some 45 years since independence and we still have not realized that. Tanzania is flooded with water resources nearly everywhere. But our water management is dismal. Why? And where does the money go? To buy silly looking hats and T-shirts during elections?

Energy and minerals. The disaster ministry. Politicians have been frightening the voters in the recently-held elections in Busanda that if they don’t elect a CCM candidate the small scale miners will be fixed. If they elect CCM the district will be electrified post-haste. A load of rubbish, of course.

The big mining companies are all teeth with joy. They have managed to persuade (I didn’t say grease some palms) the government to continue being exempted from paying tax.

Finance minister, Mustafa Mkulo announced in his budget speech that the decisions to abolish tax exemptions on petroleum products will not affect already existing mining companies. Which means someone was playing with words here - since no mining company is coming in now.

The mining rip-ff is to continue with the approval of our rulers. Gold mining is the fastest sector of Tanzanian’s economy. Minerals now account for nearly half of the country’s exports, making it Africa’s largest gold producer.

Abolishment of tax exemption on petroleum products that mining companies have been enjoying is one of the key recommendations of the presidential mining review committee chaired by Judge Mark Bomani. But it has been ignored by the government which is strictly on the people’s side.

The show now shifts to the legislators. Are they going to take the ‘infrastructure’ budget sitting down? Plans for a double-lane highway where the prez, comes from. Next year there could be plans to build an international airport and even a deep sea harbour at Msata. That won’t surprise me!

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