Mixed reaction welcomes 2020/21 budget

Tanzanians have greeted with mixed expectations the 2020/21 budget delivered to the public recently at a time when the country continues to grapple with the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

The budget was presented last Thursday by Finance and Planning Minister, Dr Philip Mpango. The pandemic has led to massive job losses, a slowdown in economic activities, increased expenditure in the health sector and reduced revenue collections. 

“MSME sector is not fully satisfied. However, budget provisions expect- ed to increase the purchasing power of people and government spending on diverse projects will benefit our country,” Hawa Rajab, a small scale businesswoman told Business Times. 

Mkatia Issa who is a trader at Kariakoo said traders have not received any relief from this year’s budget even as businesses continue to shutting down while others send their workers home on unpaid leave. 

“The COVID-19 illness has greatly affected the country’s economy and therefore I did not think there was going to be anything new in the bud- get to support businesses,” said Issa.

A shoe shiner at one of the Dar es Salaam building along Uhuru Avenue was looking forward to see how treasury would intervene for distressed Tanzanians. 

“I expected to hear how the budget would empow- er Tanzanians after the COVID-19 since we are in problems, no financial aid, our children are stuck at home and we have nothing to do,” said Chacha Makenge. 

For Agnes Komba, a restaurant worker said the government should remove taxes on small scale businesses. “I did not expect the government to continue taxing small scale traders, they cannot compare us to huge businesses that are already established while for us we are just starting,” she explained.

Sudi Said noted that the Budget may not provide immediate benefits or reliefs, but the measures announced in it will certainly help in picking up the growth momentum. “The budget has made big provisions for agriculture and rural sectors. Exempting VAT on agricultural crop insurance will help farmers to insure their produces from natural calamities tragedies such as floods, uncontrollable pests and droughts,” he said. 

“We don’t think the budgetary provisions will end the slowdown in the traditional market. The government should have taken more measures to increase cash flow and capital in the market,” said Zena Abeid, an entrepreneur. 

Tanzania’s 2020/21 budget is Tsh34.88 trillion up from Tsh33.11 trillion spent in the 2019/20 fiscal year, out of which, Tsh20.86 trillion shillings was recurrent expenditure and Tsh12.25 trillion was development expenditure.