DO NOT LEAVE YOUR GOLD IN THE ROOM.
African Concord in its October 1st issue wrote about gold mining in the Lake region. It reported that in a hotel lobby in Mwanza there is a notice warning residents not to leave gold in their rooms and to deposit it with the hotel cashier. Mwanza, it reported, had become the trading centre for thousands of local and foreign fortune seekers combing lake region hills and valleys. They dig pits six to eight metres deep; two or three strong men enter with pick axes and begin to tackle the hard layer. A guard, armed with a club, bush knife or gun keeps an eye on the gravel shovelled out of the pit. Large caves have been made underground without any supporting pillars for safety.
The miners are said to sell their finds to both legal and illegal dealers at five times the price of Shs 27,000 an ounce offered by the State Mining Corporation. The local ‘godfathers’ use couriers at aiports, seaports or on donkey back to transport the gold to overseas ‘goldlords’ through a watertight ring founded on trust. The gold business accounts for a large part of the imported goods now abundant in the region – goods imported under the guise of liberation of trade. The once empty shops are full of commodities but at sky high prices to make up for the high risk in earning the dollars.
FIRST LOAN SYNDICATION AGREED
The African Economic Digest in its October 16th issue states that Tanzania has reached an agreement with commercial banks for a £50 million revolving credit to support coffee exports. The initiative, led by the US Bankers Trust, is the first internationally syndicated loan to be made to Tanzania. The loan, made to the National Bank of Commerce at 1 3/8 % interest margin over base rate will be drawn down in tranches according to shipment and contracts of sale. The African Economic Digest stated that donors have regained confidence in Tanzania’s economy and that commercial banks were impressed by Tanzania’s recent economic performance.
AIDS – WHERE DOES TANZANIA STAND?
African Farming in its October/November issue published a table comparing the number of aids cases currently reported in 20 countries. The worst affected, on a per capita basis. is Bermuda with 1,071 per million of population followed by French Guiana. Based on a reported figure of 1,130 cases the proportion for Tanzania is 48 per million compared with 173 for the USA, 113 for Uganda and 56 for Zambia.
According to the October 9th issue of Marches Tropicaux, the
accounting situation in Tanzania’s para-statal bodies is beginning to show a ‘tendance encourageante’. The journal recalled that President Mwinyi instructed the para-statals in 1985 to get their accounts into good order not later than November 1987. Rumours were said to be circulating in Dar es Salaam to the effect that some 400 institutions are now showing positive progress but a further 100 were still showing deficits.
NEW CHAPTER FOR TANZANIAN INVESTORS
Under this heading African Business in its November 1987 issue stated that the Government is planning legislation which will clearly spell out the areas of investment open to foreigners and the policy on repatriation of dividends and profits by foreign companies and individuals. Economists at the Treasury were said to be blaming part of Tanzania’s ills on the wholesale nationalisation of private property in 1967 which some experts say led to a flight of capital and skilled personnel.
Party Chairman Nyerere was said to have acknowledged recently that in many socialist countries the state was withdrawing from direct control of the sensitive agricultural sector by giving a role to private firms. He had said that this is what he thought Tanzania should do to revamp its agricultural sector.
However, the journal reported that restive and growing adherents of Ujamaa, Party cadres known as “watoto wa chama waliolelewa na chama” (Party cadres who were brought up by the Party) were said to be unhappy with the Government’s flirtation with the West – “This noisy group who have made inroads into the Party’s top decision making bodies may derail President Mwinyi’s drive to attract foreign investors”. “The talk about making tactical reverses is nothing but an excuse for the capitalists to re-coup and settle old scores they suffered after the Arusha Declaration” one youthful Party cadre was quoted as having said.
MENACE OF DESERTIFICATION IN IRINGA
Marches Tropicaux in its September 4th issue quoted Iringa’s Regional Planning Officer as having stated that unless rapid action is taken to control deforestation in Iringa, one of the country’s main agricultural regions, it will become a desert within 20 years. The case of Ismami, one of the districts in the region, was quoted. It was said to have been rich and fertile in the 1970’s, but then to have attracted large numbers of new people who had cleared off the trees to build their houses and to find a place to cultivate. Now the district could only be described as sterile, bare and dry. The Government was having to force people to cut down on the cultivation of maize and an Irish organisation, Concern, had been brought in to help reafforest the area. Some 340,000 trees had been planted in 1986 and 500,000 in 1987.
SISTER AND DAUGHTER INDUSTRIES
The Norwegian publication Sor-Nord Utvikling (No, 5 of 1987) had a lengthy article on a Swedish ‘Sister Industry Project’, This is a cooperative venture involving FIDE, a consulting firm, the official Swedish aid agency, SIDA and the Small Industries Development Agency in Tanzania. Some 20 Swedish firms have been involved in helping to set up about ten Tanzanian small firms during the last ten years, The article went on; “It is not often that sisters have children but the sister industry project defies the usual biological laws. With FIDE as midwife, three of the Swedish-Tanzanian sisters plan to produce daughters. The intention is that the Tanzanian sister firms are to help to start up further new small firms,”
A NEW TYPE OF TRACTOR
Tanzania is now producing a new type of tractor – the Valmet 604 4WD. It has 4-wheel drive and is designed for rice farming where it has to operate in wet conditions and also for steep hillsides where extra traction and stability are important. The first of the new models came off the assembly line on October 18th 1987 midst much jubilation at the TRAMA plant in Kibaha, near Dar es Salaam.
NO MORE TRUCK SAFARIS
The Tanzanian Government intends to ban truck safaris because they are economically not viable, ‘Tourism experts’ had advised that persons participating in these safaris brought their own food, drinking and sleeping facilities (thereby interfering with facilities provided by the Government) and contributed little in foreign exchange while damaging safari routes.
No sooner had this news been published in the Daily News than it brought an angry letter from a reader to the effect that the ‘tourism experts’ were making ridiculous allegations. It would be better if they thought more about improving the present hotel facilities and thus tried to ease the problems faced by tourists.