President Samia hints at a cabinet reshuffle, tells off critics
Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Tuesday gave the closest hint that she will soon reshuffle the cabinet.
Speaking during the release of the “Report on Development Expenditure for National Welfare and the Fight against Covid-19”, President Samia, who appeared unhappy over criticism on the country’s debt, asked those who are opposed to the country’s borrowing and development plans to quit before she cracks the whip.
She linked the criticism to ‘2025 election fever politics’ and said she would focus on development rather than on early presidential campaigns.
“I have been in office for eight months now. I said I was learning you and you too were learning me and how I have been performing,” President Samia said at State House Dar es Salaam.
“The day I last carried out a reshuffle of ministers, I just made a few changes. But I want to inform you that I will soon release a new list.”
The Head of State said she had granted government officials, including District commissioners, Permanent Secretaries and Ministers, sufficient time to perform their duties without interference.
But she was now concerned that while some focused on her government plans, others were hell bent to wreck it from within.
“Those I feel can continue to work with, especially in the development interests of Tanzanians, I will continue to work with them.
“But those I think their dreams are focused elsewhere and are working with their main focus on 2025, I want to release them so that they can prepare well while out there. Because, if I retain them inside my government, that will only be disturbing them. Let me give them a chance to go outside where we shall meet on that journey,” she said amid ululations from those in attendance.
President Samia added that the government will not stop borrowing for development as this will benefit Tanzanians.
Read: Ndugai apologises to Samia over comment on Tanzania's external borrowing
In a thinly veiled attack on parliamentary Speaker Job Ndugai following his remarks that the current state borrowing was not sustainable, she defended her plans to borrow saying it was prudent and sustainable.
“Borrowing did not begin today. It began after independence. We have been through the IMF Structural Adjustment Programmes till today where we are able to borrow and at the same time service our debts,” she added.
“Borrowing is a must. When you borrow, you pump money into the economy. When the money circulates in the country, it is the people who benefit.”
She added that the borrowing is sustainable as Tanzania will only take low interest loans and repay them in a structured manner.
Read: Tanzania not at risk of debt distress, says central bank boss
Finance and Planning Minister Mwigulu Nchemba earlier said the national debt is sustainable in the short, medium and long term.
“The national debt limit is 55 percent but so far we have reached 31 percent, so our country is still in debt and has all the credit criteria,” he said.
Speaking at the same function, Vice President Philip Mpango said Tanzania is one of the countries whose economy offers access to credit from international institutions, so it will borrow for development and not vice versa.
The Vice President explained that the 1.3 trillion-shilling loan provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to Tanzania has been very productive, and it will help improve access to social services for citizens.
In the past four years, Tanzania has taken syndicated loans to push forward its infrastructure plans.
In August 2017, it turned to Credit Suisse Bank for a $500 million five-year loan and returned to the market two years later to tap a $1 billion syndicated loan from the Trade and Development Bank.
Since March 2021, when President Samia took over, the country has received over $3 billion in debt, including concessional loans and relief funds from the World Bank, the IMF and the African Development Bank.
According to the World Bank report in October 2021, Tanzania has been listed as one of the countries whose economies are stable and is not in the group of non-lending countries.