TANZANIA NEWS IN BRIEF

a) Economic depression

A Bank of Tanzania bulletin earlier this year gave details of recent economic performance. In the season 1974/5 coffee output was down by 7%; cashewnut production down by 20%; sisal production for the first nine months of 1975 was down by 18%; the 1975 cotton harvest was the lowest for years. The export of industrial goods fell by 50% in the first nine months of 1975. The total export earnings were down 10% from the same period in 1974 and Tanzania’s trade deficit had significantly increased.

b) Economy measures

The civil service in Tanzania has grown rapidly. Early this year there were an estimated 140,000 civil servants – 70% more than the official figure for early 1975. However in July 1975 President Nyerere announced plans to reduce the civil service by 20% by means of early retirements, cutting of over-manning, etc. In March 1976 the Ministry of Manpower Development confirmed that 9,496 civil servants had been declared redundant effective from February 29th.

c) Operation Maduka

The Tanzanian Government has decreed that all private shops in state farms, ujamaa villages and the vicinity of state owned industries should close and be replaced by cooperatives run by local residents and workers. After the district licensing committee in Mwanza rejected 285 applications for individual trade licences and the district Secretary told a rally that no further licences would be issued for private shops and guest houses, the government modified its intention to implement the decree ‘with immediate effect’, and announced a phased plan whereby private shops would be allowed to operate in areas where no cooperative ‘ stores yet exist. But every effort will be made to set up cooperative stores throughout the country and thereafter private shops will cease to exist. The magazine Africa comments in its June issue:

‘Regional trading corporations – have been established and they act as the sole distribution agents ,in the countryside. Even the smallest of the cooperative shops in the remotest village can, therefore, be assured of commodities. More than 90% of Tanzanians today live in communal villages. Each village will be registered as a co-operative unit to handle trade and act as the marketing agent for crops. To check against the dangers of village tycoons capitalising on the venture, it has been decreed that no person can purchase more than ten shares. The State bank has been directed to loan village cooperatives to help them set up shops. The Housing Bank likewise has been asked to assist villages to put up modest business premises. And the Regional distributors have been told to give villages preferential treatment. To make the cooperatives more viable and efficient a World Bank assisted programme has been established to train village heads in basic business techniques and accounting procedure. The main fear seems to be the ability to find able men and women to operate the cooperative shops in the countryside … the socialisation of petty trade usually necessitates heavy documentation which may well render the shops unable to meet credit obligations. Indeed, the pertinent question remains: will Tanzania be able to run petty trade on socialist structures when the entire economy framework is firmly tied onto the international capitalist system ?’

d) Foreign Policy

In statements this month the Tanzanian Government has condemned the Israeli raid on Entebbe and has announced the withdrawal of Tanzanian athletes from the Olympic Games. Both statements amount to more than routine reactions. Tanzania has in the past strongly condemned the regime of General Amin but makes the distinction between the right of Ugandans to resist a regime which has oppressed them and the lack of legitimacy of the Israeli action. In Bayi the Tanzanians possess one of the leading athletes of the world; withdrawal from the Games has deprived the nation of an ‘almost certain medal.

e) The magazine Africa in its July issue carries a 30 page Saba Saba supplement in which there are features on the implementation of ujamaa, the movement of the capital to Dodoma, mining, communications, etc., and a general survey of political, economic and social developments.

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