In the past, I was a firm believer of providing free education funded by the state. However, more recently, my view has shifted to the opposing argument. I now believe that both the individual and the state should fund education. To be clear, everyone should have a right and an opportunity of getting the best education, regardless of their income or background. I believe education can be given at differential prices, wherein the government subsidises the fees depending on set factors, such as income level for example, where by some students can get free education, some a subsidized one and others that cover their own fees.
In the 2015 presidential campaign, the opposition promised free education as opposed to the subsidized one by the government. I believed these to be a superficial promise that would only diminish the quality of education. My reasons being that first, accomplishing this would need a lot of funding and no one knows where it would have come from or in expense of what. Secondly, the prevailing government system had its own responsibility while individuals and local community had their responsibility. What I mean by this is for example the government paid teacher and for the cost of running the school whereas the community had to build school. The truth is that both the government and the community have failed to fulfil their responsibility to a point of taking others responsibility. Thus, the promise of free education is at least with the prevailing socio-economic condition an immature one.
Soon after the election, the president announced free education, which was a demand from the masses of the public. A lot of effort has been channelled to ensure that children get free education for instance the desk campaign. Nevertheless significant challenges on free education have occurred. Today the president has given clarification on what free education means and directed two minister to ensure that it is implemented. The president’s announcement comes as a response to former PM Sumaye’s view on the state of free education in the country. The biggest question on free education is whether there are enough funds to provide uncompromised education.
I think the government should not remove people from the responsibility of providing education to their children. There are different ways that people can contribute on education apart from fees, through firstly providing moral support, secondly, physical support – parents and guardians can physical supports schools in different ways that can be directed to improve the quality of education provided and the educational resources available. Lastly, I suggest the government should return the notion of charging fees so that people should know the cost of education. Then, the government can provide waivers to schools in certain areas depending on the ability of the surrounding community to meet fee requirements. A school in town should not get the same government support as a school in a rural village. All in all we should think on better ways that we can redistribute our resources in a fair and responsible way that will allow us to make a step forward in the right direction as a united nation. Equal distribution of resources taking from those capable and giving to those in need.
In 2017, most Tanzanian people felt the effects of contractionary policies, which led to the rise of the popular slogan ‘vyuma vimekaza’. The majority of people lamented on taxes and scarcity of money in circulation. Nevertheless, as we start 2018, there is an indication that the situation will change, given the two important announcements that were made. This entry will speculate the reasons for what lead to the rise of vyuma vimekaza and why this era is ending in 2018.
One of the explanations given to vyuma vimekaza is due to the crackdown on corruption. This explanation holds the truth when looking at the economic history of the country. Initially, with Ujamaa policy which pioneered self-reliance the government controlled all means of production and the private sector was very minimal. With the fall of Ujamaa policy, the private sector started to nourish, in some parts due to people who wanted to benefit themselves resulting in malpractice between the public and private sector partnership. Regardless of the malpractice, in part, greed incentivised the economy to grow at the expense of growing inequality. The current administration with an eye of reducing the inequality and increasing efficiency on the public sector, took measures to revisit their relationship with the private sector and thus the private sector started to suffer liquidity. For example, the government directed all public parastatal to use the central bank and the banks, which were accustomed to trade with the government money, therefore leading to the banks experiencing liquidation.
Taxation is another reason that can explain vyuma vimekaza. The new administration has increased tax collection, which leaves people with less disposable income. Majority of people have raised their concern on the tax regime, for example with the EFD machines, which small business argue that they cannot afford to buy. In addition, some people have expressed concern on been taxed, even before their business started. In short, there are many challenges with the tax regime. In reality, anywhere around the world from the time of the Roman Empire, no one loves the taxman.
Despite the above reasons, the good news is that the revenue authority TRA has changed some of its policies, which will ease the way people pay tax. It has recently announced that they will only collect taxes once the business has started operation. Such changes are significant as they indicate a change in fiscal policy, which can arguably lead to expansionary policies and hence in 2018 people might start saying vyuma vimeachia.
Furthermore, today the President has announced an injection of 200 billion that will go to pay the private sector, owed to them by the government. This injection will increase liquidity and hence increase the levels of trade and investment within the economy. I personally believe that these two announcements are indication that the government is moving towards expansionary policies and perhaps in due time, more announcements will establish whether the government has decided on this direction
As we are in the final hours of twenty seventeen, reflecting on my year I feel grateful of the year that God blessed me with. There a lot of things that happen during the year which I won’t remember them all and even if I try to it will be too long for this entry. The year encompassed a lot of events with all types of feelings, from happiness to dejection, derailments to opportunities. But in all this am very grateful on how God gave a me a good comeback.
One of the things that has occupied me during the year was my PhD. Given that this is my final year it feels like a final round of marathon. Where you are exhausted but you need to go to the finish line. A lot of my plans changed due to writing opportunities that emerged. Although these opportunities emerged they were challenge in themselves. For example, failing to attend a conference in Guimarães, Portugal due to limited time and other factors. Furthermore, some of my writings took more than expected and they had given me a low time that I almost gave up. However, am grateful that my supervisors and family encouraged me to go on and am very glad of the outcome. At least it landed me on my first academic publication on a 3-star journal. Reflecting on the whole process of writing and the emotions; I can’t agree more that the finest oil comes from grinding the nuts.
Another, thing that when I look back at twenty seventeen is my family. My family has always given me a lot of support and strength. In the middle of this year my mother felt sick and I was very low, but God full of mercy and grace healed her. The recovery of my mother is one of the things that I am very grateful of what God did to me in 2017. This brought back energy and joy not only to me but also to my family.
Lastly on reflecting back in my year, I am very grateful in my spiritual wellbeing and support that I receive from church, life group, friends and family. Though this year I have taken a lot of effort on my physical and mental wellbeing. Spiritual well-being is something that has kept me going on. Today’s sermon was about how God gave Abraham a promise, and in coincidence this week I read in Galatians on the Child of slavery and child of promise (Abraham children). I choose to be a child of promise and I believe twenty eighteen will be a year full of promises that God will bless me with. On my favourite quote from C.S.Lewis that ‘What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are’. In 2018 my resolution is on reflecting on what sort of person am I and this will also depend on the stand (decision and perspectives) that I will take to capture the promises of 2018. Happy new year to all of you and may God’s grace be upon you.
This week President Magufuli has sent seismic waves to the financial industry with his dissatisfaction of the underperforming banks, especially the ones which have not reached the minimum required capital. Today the Prime Minister Majaliwa, through the minister of finance Dr. Mpango, has order the central bank to close all banks that have not reached the minimum capital requirement by the end of this month. This is a shock to small community and commercial banks which are struggling to raise their capital. The Government is arguing that it is not ready to inject capital into struggling banks and that these banks are posing a threat to the economy. Given this argument and the potential impact of closing such banks, this entry is going to argue why closing is not a suitable option for the government to pursue.
Closing the small banks can trigger a financial crisis within the economy. Considering that most banks do not operate in isolation, inter-bank lending is a normal practice, thus an effect in one bank can trigger a ripple effect in other banks consequently, leading to collapse in the banking sector.
In addition, many financial institutions, business, communities and individual have invested in small-scale banks that are threatened with closure. Closing them will further jeopardise the capital that has already been invested in the banking industry. Given that these are small banks and most investor presumably are local investor who are trying to squeeze themselves into the financial sector, a move to close the banks is to squeeze the local investors out of the central engine of the economy.
Furthermore, these small banks cannot be compared to the well-established and aggressive commercial banks. These small commercial and community banks have less experience, expertise, and capital but they were implemented to serve segments of rural communities, however, the commercial banks ignored them for the bigger slice of cake. Most community and small commercial banks are the ones that were first to reach out in rural areas with cooperation of small financial institutions such as saving and crediting societies (SACCOS) and Village commercial banks (VICOBA). Thus, closing these banks is punishing the small communities, which lend through SACCOS and VICOBA.
A quick closure will almost indefinitely lead to the chaos of a bank run, similar to that experienced by Northern Rock during the 2007 financial crisis; the question is Tanzania ready with such situation? Likewise, the investors may withdraw their capital from banks fearing the instability caused to the banking industry. Thus, the government should be wary in their threats of closure to the banks, as this might lead to instability in larger picture of the financial sector.
Such a move will signal banks to stop their lending and call back their loans having significant implications to lenders who borrowed for investment. The lenders will be triggered to sell their guarantees at a much-discounted price in order to meet loan agreements. This in essence is public theft, taken from the people who decided to invest and/or lend for rural development.
Considering the potential threats posed by the government announcement, my personal suggestion are as follows:
- First, the government should not interfere with the central bank. The Central bank’s independence is very important for financial stability. The laissez-faire tendency of the Central bank to these commercial and community banks can be seen as a weakness by the ministry and executive branch, but a hard approach can have dire effects.
- Second, the government can top-up the capital in return for the shares, this will help boost the banking industry, which is inevitably the heart of the economy.
- Third, the government should capacitate the small banks with training and technical assistance on financial products and technologies, which in turn will allow assistance to our local communities as well as to muscle up and compete with foreign banks.