In Summary
  • The raft of changes came at a time when the government is firmly focused on turning the country into a middle-income economy through a range of strategies, key among them investing in industries. By splitting the ministry, Dr Magufuli has reiterated his intention to boost efficiency in the dockets and introduce specialisation and micro-management in the two key sectors.

In an unprecedented move, President John Magufuli has split the Energy and Minerals ministry. In the new changes, which also affected other dockets, the President appointed Ms Angellah Kairuki minister for Minerals and elevated Dr Medard Kalemani to Energy minister.

The raft of changes came at a time when the government is firmly focused on turning the country into a middle-income economy through a range of strategies, key among them investing in industries. By splitting the ministry, Dr Magufuli has reiterated his intention to boost efficiency in the dockets and introduce specialisation and micro-management in the two key sectors.

It is worth noting that the decision has increased the number of ministries from 19 to 21, going against the President’s earlier promise to maintain a lean government. However, it is important to emphasise that the size of the previous ministry and the enormity of the challenges it faced are what prompted President Magufuli to act.

Too often those appointed to head the docket, including some of the country’s best brains, have found themselves mired in scandals related to corruption and bad contracts instead of focusing on creating efficiency at the ministry. The discovery of gas deposits in the country also expanded their responsibilities, making their job near impossible.

We, therefore, hail the President’s foresight in realising that while the energy sector needed to have efforts directed towards power generation for industrial development, the minerals sector was also ripe for a fresh start. While the appointment of lawyers to the new ministries and the recent fast-tracking of three key laws are also steps in the right direction, the move should be buttressed with the right personnel to ensure success.

It will not be enough to just split the ministry but maintain the mind-set that made it a behemoth that was virtually impossible to control effectively.

Strive to boost tourism

President John Magufuli announced a minor reshuffle of his cabinet on Saturday, which saw Dr Hamis Kigwangala become the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism.

Dr Kigwangala, who was the Deputy Minister for Health, succeeds Prof Jumanne Maghembe. The latter was dropped from the cabinet. However, Prof Maghembe’s efforts to transform the sector cannot go unnoticed.

As of May, 2017, tourist arrivals had hit 1,284,279, which was an increase of 12.9 per cent compared to last year. Dr Kigwangala has to build on the foundation of his predecessor.

He has no option, but to hit the ground running and address challenges that impede the speedy growth of tourism.

Tourism brings a lion’s share of Tanzania’s foreign currency. The tourists come for its beaches, wildlife and Mount Kilimanjaro.

We have made a stride in recent years, but we still have to tackle several issues in order to harness our maximum tourism potential.

There is a need to further market the attractions abroad and resolve protracted land conflicts around protected areas besides revisiting prohibitive taxes.

It is not a bad idea to take a leaf out neighbouring Kenya’s book. They are aggressive and once hit a record of 1.8 million visitors per year. Tanzania’s projection was to attract 2,000,000 visitors this year, but it remains to seen whether this will be achieved.