Finance Minister Saada Mkuya Salum

Finance Minister Saada Mkuya Salum

The latest World Bank ?Tanzania Mainland Poverty Assessment? launched last week confirms earlier findings by the Government?s 2012 Household Budget Survey (HBS) that the basic needs poverty rate declined from around 34 per cent to 28.2 per cent during that period.

?The reduction in poverty is important news that should be applauded,? says Philippe Dongier, Country Director for Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda.

?But what is more important is for the country to accelerate the trend further so as to address the important challenges that still remain. The majority of Tanzanians remain close to the poverty line. In fact, more than 70 per cent of the population lives on less than US$2 per day.

There is a lot of work ahead to improve the living standards of all Tanzanians.? ?There are emerging signs of pro-poor growth,? adds Dongier.

?These can be seen in the improved levels of education, access to basic services and ownership of land and other assets among poor households. In addition, the economic returns to the poor?s economic activities have also increased, particularly outside agriculture.?

The Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Saada Mkuya Salum, pointed out that the report came at a right time when Tanzania was preparing a successor plan for National Strategy for Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction (MKUKUTA II) and Five-Year Development Plan.

?This report is relevant and timely. It suggests policy options and technical solutions, which should be the part of government?s pre-occupation in the coming years,? she noted.

The minister said that Tanzanian economy has expanded as reflected in growth in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about seven per cent per annum since 2001.

?The percentage of Tanzanians living below the poverty line declined from 34 per cent in 2007 to 28.2 per cent in 2011/2012. This is significant decline noted since 1991,? Ms Salum affirmed.

She, however, asserted that despite poverty decline, the number of poor people remains high due to relatively high rate of population growth. According to available statistics, in 2011/2012, about 12 million Tanzanians were still poor and majority of them were based in rural areas.

Among other key findings, the assessment shows a reduction in the level of deprivation of those who remained in poverty as well as a slight decline in inequality at the national level.

But despite these positive changes, the number of poor remains high, particularly in rural areas, and the welfare disparity between the geographic regions is widening, according to the World Bank.

Poverty declined more rapidly in Dar es Salaam than in the rest of the country. The capital city has experienced the highest poverty reduction at a rate above 70 per cent between 2007 and 2012, while rural areas registered a reduction of only 15 per cent.

Even though there are emerging signs of increased participation of the poor in the growth process, they continue to suffer from lack of capacities and limited access to better job opportunities. Persistent high population growth will continue to challenge poverty reduction efforts in Tanzania.

However, the investments made by the Government and its development partners to better measure and understand the determinants of poverty reduction in Tanzania are important steps towards designing improved development programmes.

Source Tanzania Daily News

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