Tanzania: rufiji, ruvu and wami

Economic and Social Development Policies

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Economic and Social Development Policies

In an effort to improve the welfare of its people, the government of Tanzania has experimented with various development strategies. These strategies have frequently alienated people, rather than involving them in the desired development, because they have relied on command-and-control or top-down approaches to economic and resource management. The sustainability of these measures has always fallen short of expectation. A confrontational and patronizing relationship has persisted between the people and their government and, as a result, people have ceased to take responsibility for their own actions. Instead, they look upon the government as their provider.10 This undesirable attitude has had detrimental effects on the sustainability of numerous projects and programs initiated by the government.

The Ujamaa strategy (1974-76), which epitomized the Tanzanian brand of socialism, had good intentions of improving the welfare of the people of Tanzania through collectivizing them in Ujamaa villages. However, this type of development could not be sustained for long since it was too heavily dependent on foreign assistance. The strategy was also blamed for contributing to environmental degradation and hence biodiversity loss due to clearing for village settlements and farmland (United Republic of Tanzania, 1997b; Kikula and Mung’ong’o, 1992). Expenditure on social services grew rapidly while production capacity to support the growing social sector grew slowly. This poor growth was primarily due to non-performing para-statals, which turned out to be heavily dependent on government financing rather than generating expected revenues for the government.

In an attempt to resolve structural problems constraining the productive sector, Tanzania initiated several economic programs. The National Economic Survival Program (NESP) of 1981 was the first of what were to become known as Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) or Economic Recovery Programs (ERPs), which are being implemented in a number of developing countries today. The aim of this program was to rehabilitate the ravaged economy and restore balance in the external sector. It lasted only a year and was replaced by a three-year SAP in 1983, with similar objectives of solving structural problems and stabilizing the economy. SAP and NESP were home-grown programs as opposed to the subsequent Bretton Woods Institutions' programs known as ERP I and ERP II. A primary objective of the SAP was to improve economic performance of the public sector through introduction of incentives for increased production of goods and services for both domestic and export markets. The NESP and SAP programs could not be fully implemented due to financial constraints arising from the need for external finance, which was not forthcoming.

Soon after the SAP ended, ERP I was introduced in 1986. This three-year program, whose main objective was similar to the previous programs, differed in strategies and availability of funds.11 It aimed to establish market-economy fundamentals through measures that included decontrolling prices, removing subsidies, and enhancing labor efficiency and productivity by reforming employment in the public sector. Since these programs aimed at specific objectives of stimulating economic growth, it was no wonder that, in the course of their implementation, a lot of protests were heard concerning their adverse effects, especially on the social sector and the environment. These effects, though unintended, brought hardships on people through reduction of expenditures on education, health, and agricultural and forestry extension services. ERP II (1989-1992), alternatively known as the Economic and Social Action Program (ESAP), aimed at correcting the adverse effects of its predecessor while continuing with the objectives of ERP I.
ERP I and II achieved a positive impact through increased industrial capacity utilization and output. The value of non-traditional exports increased by 24 percent per annum between 1986 and 1990, and per capita income increased by 6 percent in real terms. The objective of moving toward a market economy was slowly being realized. However, dismantling of the state marketing structure resulted in hardships to farmers in areas where private traders were unwilling to go. Trade liberalization increased environmental degradation and biodiversity loss by promoting such crops as tobacco, which result in more land being cleared for agriculture. Moreover, infrastructure deterioration and poor social services delivery remained problematic (Bagachwa, et al, 1995).
One of the effects of these economic programs on the natural environment, and thus biodiversity, has been the loss of necessary funds for basic environmental services. National resource management, especially extension services, monitoring, and enforcement of rules and regulation, is a labor-intensive activity. The instruments used by the SAP policies included removal of subsidies from government sectors, reduction of staff in government departments, and freezing of employment. These measures have affected the delivery of services in the department of Forestry and Bee-Keeping in the MNRT, among others. Despite the existence of a Mangrove Management Project, funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), there are severe shortages of manpower and of funds for recurrent expenditures for daily monitoring and enforcement activities in the project area, including funds for boat fuel. This creates an environment conducive to the illegal harvesting of mangroves for charcoal-making in Bagamoyo and poles in Rufiji.

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