Monday, April 11, 2016

Tanzania: EU - We Haven't Suspended Aid
By Alvar Mwakyusa

The European Union (EU) has not made any decision to suspend financial aid to Tanzania, stressing that it is not the objective of the politico-economic union of 28 member states to cut support for the African country's progress.

"We are not happy with what happened in Zanzibar. But as members of the EU, we have not reached a decision to suspend aid to Tanzania," the Head of the EU Delegation in Tanzania, Ambassador Roeland van de Geer, told the 'Daily News' in an interview.

He added that according to his understanding, even the recent decision by the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to suspend its financial support to Tanzania did not mean that the US will not support the country in other areas.

The envoy pointed to the fact that the EU recognises Tanzania's enviable reputation on upholding democracy, noting that it was significant for the nation to maintain the status.

"We have hopes in President John Magufuli as a dynamic leader who will bring a solution to the situation in the islands. I understand that things are still evolving in Zanzibar," the head of the EU Delegation told this newspaper.

Ambassador van de Geer made the confirmation in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday on the sidelines of an event to launch a brochure about EU engagement with civil society and local authorities in Tanzania in which the regional bloc will provide about 7.4bn/- for the purpose.

"We have regular consultations with the government of Tanzania and if there is anything it will be discussed in these forums.

The EU is looking at all dimensions as far as Zanzibar is concerned," the envoy explained. He, however, cautioned that the government of Tanzania ought to take responsibility to solve the political impasse in Zanzibar after the leading opposition party, the Civic United Front (CUF), boycotted the general election re-run on March 20.

All the 28 EU member states are among major development partners of Tanzania.

The countries have been supporting the country either individually or jointly as a group. According to Ambassador van de Geer, between 2014 and 2020 the EU has allocated a total of 620 million Euros (about 1,538trl/-) for financial support to Tanzania in a six-year cycle.

"We are still in preparation and discussions of support for the coming 2016/2017 fiscal year out of the six-year allocation," he explained.

Early this week, the Ministry of Finance and Planning denied claims reported by a local media outlet to purporting to show that 14 Western Development Partners (DPs) had announced withdrawal of general support to the country.

The ministry stressed that the Western DPs are still supporting the National Budget through three modalities; namely General Budget Support (GBS), Basket Funds (BF) and Direct to Project Fund (DPF).

In the financial Year 2015/16, a total of 8 development partners pledged to provide GBS. These include African Development Bank (AfDB), Canada, Denmark, the EU, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and the World Bank (WB).

In the coming 2016/17 national budget, the AfDB, Denmark, EU and the WB have so far confirmed provision of the GBS; while other DPs will continue to provide support to the 2016/17 national budget through BF and DPF.

These include Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, the United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA) and Switzerland.

Others are International Multilateral Development Agencies, including AfDB, BADEA, Global Funds, OPEC Fund, Saudi Fund, EU, United Nation's Agencies and the WB. The MCC announced recently that it will not release to Tanzania 470 million US dollars for funding electricity projects.

According to a statement from the United States Embassy in Dar es Salaam, the corporation's board decided to cease all activities related to the development of a second compact with Tanzania.

The MCC Board of Directors reportedly deferred a vote on the re-selection of Tanzania for compact eligibility, citing the nullification of election results in Zanzibar and the Cybercrimes Act, claiming that the law was used to limit freedom of expression and association.

No comments: