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Tanzanian Legislator Demands Answers for ‘High Inflation’

  • Peter Clottey

Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete delivers his speech in Dar es Salaam (File photo)

Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete delivers his speech in Dar es Salaam (File photo)

The leader of Tanzania’s parliamentary opposition says the government’s inability to urgently address high inflation rate and a weak currency is creating economic hardship.

Hamad Rashid said the government’s economic policies could plunge many Tanzanians into poverty.

“We demand detailed explanation from the government as to why the inflation is going [up] very fast,” he said. “The price of commodities like food is very high and today a kilo of sugar from 1800 is now about shillings 3000 [$1.72].”

Rashid said his party will continue to pressure the administration to implement “sound” economic policies he says will benefit all Tanzanians. He blames current policies for what he calls large capital flight and for contributing to the weakness of the shilling.

Rashid argues that government policies are also to blame for the current energy crisis.

“We have an energy crisis for the past five years now, which they have not properly addressed, said Rashid. “We are spending 1.5 million shillings [$859.500] this time just to take measures to overcome the problem, but temporary and not a permanent solution,” said Rashid.

He also said the administration seems unable to root out graft in awarding energy contracts.

“We employed some companies to supply energy [but] if you compare the cost of one company against the other, you will find that the government maybe paying more than $2,000,000 for nothing,” he said.

Supporters of the ruling party dismiss the accusations as unfortunate, saying the government has implemented policies that have brought energy relief to hundreds of thousands of Tanzanians.

They contend that rising food and commodity prices are a result of the global economic downturn, which they said affected the country’s economic growth.

They also say the opposition leader’s rhetoric is a calculated attempt to create panic to score what they call cheap political points.

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