Tanzania announced that it will start releasing Covid-19 data amid pressure from the UN and Bretton Woods institutions to do so as a precondition for lending.
“Soon, the government will officially announce measures on how to address the Covid-19 pandemic in Tanzania,” government spokesman Gerson Msigwa told The EastAfrican.
The assurance came after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on June 9 pushed Dodoma to start publicising Covid-19 infections and measures, with a threat to withhold a $571 million loan.
“In order to justify emergency financing in the context of the pandemic, you need to publish relevant public-health data. Publication of such data would be a precondition moving ahead,” said IMF’s resident representative in Tanzania Jens Reinke.
However, Tanzania had already moved forward with plans to deal with the pandemic, after a task force formed by President Samia Suluhu and chaired by Said Aboud handed in a Covid impact mitigation plan.
“The government has made arrangements on how to address the Covid-19 pandemic. When the government states its official position, it will include all that the IMF is asking for,” said Mr Msigwa.
And on Thursday during the presentation of the 2021/22 budget, Finance Minister Mwigulu Nchemba announced that the government is in negotiations with the IMF to secure $571 million to mitigate the economic and social effects of the pandemic.
“The government intends to direct the funds towards bolstering official foreign reserves, improve expenditure in health and water sectors as well as boost tourism services,” he said.
Minister Nchemba said President Samia had held a virtual meeting with IMF Executive Director Kristalina Georgieva to strengthen economic and social relations, including strategies to address the impact of Covid-19.
“The pandemic has adversely affected service receipts, foreign reserves and economic growth. The government will continue to take appropriate measures to revive economic activity,” Mr Nchemba said.
Statistics show that Tanzania’s economic growth was highly affected by the global pandemic with the country’s economic growth rate estimated to grow at an average of 4.8 percent this year from prior estimation of 6.9 percent rate.
Dar stopped reporting cases of Covid-19 on April 29, 2020 when the country had 509 infections, 183 recoveries and 21 deaths. A few weeks later, President John Magufuli declared the country pandemic-free.
Source: Luke Anami, The East African