Extracts from Parliamentary reports in the Daily News:

MP’s have been told that a suggestion that there should be a Prime Minister’s question time as in the British parliament is not necessary as ministers respond to MP’s questions on a daily basis.

‘Colonialists’ were accused by Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Bakari Mbonde of causing disparities in development of Tanzania because they liked some parts of the country better than others. Places like Kigoma, Rukwa, Mtwara and Lindi were ignored and had therefore lagged behind other areas.

Richard Ndassa MP (Sumve CCM) asked the whereabouts of the peacocks, ostriches, elands, dikdik and Zebras which used to be kept in the gardens of State House. Minister of State Jackson Makwetta replied that several animals had died of old age, diseases, inadequate feeding and changes in weather patterns. Others had been given away as presents to foreign and local dignitaries. The CCM MP for Kwera admitted that he had received four animals. The Minister went on the say that the government would not allow the gardens to become a zoo; Tanzania had ample land to keep the animals elsewhere.

The Assembly has passed the Political Leaders Retirement Bill (1999) which allows retiring presidents, vice-presidents, prime ministers, MP’s and speakers to get a lump sum of 50% of their salaries while in service as their gratuity. Retiring presidents will also be given a house, nine servants and health insurance. Vice-presidents will get six servants, a car and health insurance. Monthly pensions and lump sum payments are also included, with MP’s, for example, getting 40% of their salary as pension and a lump sum equivalent to 20% of two years salary. All payments will be tax free and widows will get 20% of their late husband’s pensions.

Parliament has ratified the Bonn Convention on the protection of migratory wildlife species and the Ramsar Convention on the conservation of wetlands. Amongst migrating wildlife are elephants, between the Mkomazi reserve and the Tsavo National Park in Kenya; wildebeest from the Serengeti to the Maasai Mara; flamingos between Lake Natron at Ngorongoro and Lakes Naivasha and Nakuru; and, turtles and dugongs between Lamu/Mombasa and Tanga/Pemba.

Closing the January-February session Prime Minister Sumaye announced that he had banned the use of cereals in making local brews because of the critical food shortage facing the country. The problem had been caused by the El Nino floods last year which had washed away the crops and the persistent drought affecting the country since that time.

The Dar es Salaam-Bagamoyo road is expected to be built during the 1999/2000 financial year with EU funds according to Deputy Minister of Public Works John Magufuli.

UDP Leader John Cheyo attacked CCM MP’s for changing their minds over the Public Service Retirement Benefits Bill which increased the retirement age from 55 to 60. The Bill had been firmly rejected by the House in November. Cheyo said that the Bill blocked the employment of young graduates and that civil servants over 55 could not learn computers ¬≠something essential for Tanzania in the 21st century.

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