In Summary
  • Last year, for instance, the rate was 7 per cent. That, taken at its face value, made ours one of the world’s fastest growing economies! As 2013 came to a close, inflation was at what optimists would call an “all-time low”, for it stood at 5.6 per cent. Quite commendable, we may say.

Over the years, there has been a lot of talk by some of our economic experts – to the pleasure of politicians – that Tanzania’s economy is growing at a commendable pace.

Last year, for instance, the rate was 7 per cent. That, taken at its face value, made ours one of the world’s fastest growing economies! As 2013 came to a close, inflation was at what optimists would call an “all-time low”, for it stood at 5.6 per cent. Quite commendable, we may say.

The reason is, in today’s worldwide turbulent economic situations, any single digit inflation, that is, anything below 10 per cent, is considered healthy.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), inflation stood at 6 per cent in January, which, of course, isn’t too bad since that is a mere 0.6 per cent above last December’s figure.

This portrays a good picture if we are just looking at figures on paper, but how about the reality on the ground? Does the man on the street feel that Tanzania’s economy is doing well? It is quite unlikely he will be celebrating over such soothing figures when he was made to pay, effective January this year, 40 per cent more for electricity?

How can there be celebration over low inflation when the supply of the expensive electricity is so unreliable that goods producers and service providers who won’t suspend operations at any cost, are forced to turn to costly diesel powered generators?

Numerous man hours are lost daily in establishments that cannot afford standby generators due to intermittent power cuts – often unannounced! Surveys show that over 700 hundred jobs are lost annually due to power outages. No jobless Tanzanian will rejoice over statistics showing that the economy is growing.

Our policy makers and economists must seek ways to ensure that benefits of the country’s growing and apparently stable economy spills over tangibly to all Tanzanians.