Exchange rates (August 15): £1 = TShs 1,200 $1= TShs 800
Minister of Finance Daniel Yona announced on May 25 that the budget requirement for 2000/2001 would be in excess of Shs 2.4 trillion but that the government could provide only 50% of this -Shs 1.3 trillion from its own resources. The estimate was almost double the previous year’s budget but Tanzania expected some $200 million (about Shs 160 billion) in debt relief under the HIPC initiative. Shs 15 billion would come from the sale of parastatals. Representatives of over 30 governments and international agencies at the Consultative Group meeting had promised about $ 1 billion (Shs 800 billion) for each of the next three years. Tanzania had achieved an average annual growth rate of 4.1 % during the last three years; it had not had to borrow from banks and inflation had come steadily down to 6% in April.
Main features of the budget:
-excise duty on cigarettes, beer and spirits up by 5%
-excise duty on 46 products abolished
-more money for social services
-reduction of the present 70 petroleum companies to only those with permanent infrastructure -to stem the loss of revenue
-an increase of up to 40% of the budget for social services (20% for defence)
Britain remains one of Tanzania’s main trading partners with some Shs 64 billion earned by British exporters last year said British High Commissioner Bruce Dinwiddy while launching ‘Trade Partners UK’ at the Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair on July 3. He expressed the hope that with Tanzania’s booming gold mining industry, exports to Britain, which currently consisted mainly of commodities, would grow so as to narrow the trade gap. He was delighted that the UK had been chosen as a safe depositary for Tanzanian gold. Under ‘Trade Partners UK’ a website offered details of 55,000 companies wishing to develop overseas trading links, he said -The Guardian.
There was a well attended Trade and Investment Forum at the American Embassy in London on April 27 at which the keynote addresses were given by Industry and Commerce Minister Iddi Simba and High Commissioner in London Abdul Shareef. It was designed to provide opportunities for US companies, especially those with regional headquarters in Europe, to interact with Tanzanian officials and business representatives.
President Mkapa commissioned the $165 million Geita Gold Mine on August 3. It is capable of producing 500 ounces (16 tonnes) of gold a year -Daily News.
The largest hotel operator in Africa, Southern Sun, a subsidiary of South African Breweries has launched a Rands 85 million project to build a Holiday Inn in Dar es Salaam -South African Times.
Tanzania has confirmed that it will withdraw from the 21-state Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) when its one-year notice period ends.
Libya has announced that part of the $46 million debt Tanzania owes it will be turned into Libyan investment projects in Tanzania -East African.
The Government awarded 35% of Tanzania Telecommunications (TTCL) to the consortium Detecon of Germany and MSI of the Netherlands which is paying $120 million and has agreed to increase the number of connections from the present 140,000 to 800,000 by December 2003 -The Guardian.
The First Adili Bankcorp Ltd closed shop on May 15 and was placed under statutory management by the Bank of Tanzania.
A semi-autonomous agency -TANROADS -will take over from the Ministry of Works responsibility for maintaining and rehabilitating roads starting next year. According to the East African this action follows pressure from the EU which has set aside $200 million for roads but doesn’t want the government to manage the programme -East African.
Tanzania is the first African country to sign for a World Bank ‘Programmatic Structural Adjustment Credit’ ($190 million) to help sustain economic reform and speed up poverty reduction.