Tanzanian transporters strike will hurt the economy – experts

Economists have called on the government and transporters to resolve a standoff on the weight bridge measurement and end the on-going strike to avert disrupting the economy.

They told the ‘Daily News’ in separate interviews that the strike by truck and bus owners will hurt the economy if it continues unchecked.

Dr Honest Ngowi of the Dar es Salaam Business School of Mzumbe University, said disruptions in transport activities will affect other sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and business because it cut across all other sectors of the economy.

“The strike is a very serious problem…if it is not addressed we are going to see major effects to the economy,” said Dr Ngowi. “It is really a huge problem. We will have delayed delivery of raw materials to industries and fertilisers to farmers, for instance, but on immediate effects we will have disruption in food supply which is inflationary,” he said.

Disturbance in food supply will immediately result in increase in prices which will eventually lead to an increase in inflation as food prices count heavily on the inflation, he said. Transport and communication sector is among the key drivers of the economy in Tanzania which is enjoying a robust growth in the recent years.

The growth rate was estimated at 6.9 per cent for 2012 and is projected to reach seven per cent this year and 7.2 in 2014. The inflation is also going down as food prices maintained a downward trend.

Latest figures by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that the inflation rate went down to 6.1 per cent in September, this year from 6.7 per cent in August due to a slowdown in food and non-food price increase.

Dr Ngowi said the on-going strike would affect competitiveness of the Dar es Salaam port as business partners would opt to other ports. This newspaper reported yesterday that congestion was building up again at the Dar es Salaam port, derailing efforts to improve efficiency at the port.

Prof Haji Semboja of the University of Dar es Salaam said the strike by truck and bus owners was a serious social, economical and security issue of concern that needed to be dealt with immediately.

He said the government should have studied impacts of abolishing the five per cent allowable weight waiver on excess cargo by trucks. Prof Semboja said the government looked so slow in handling the issues raised by the transporters. “The government should delay in solving this issue.

They must be realistic. This strike is disrupting the economy,” said Prof Semboja. Truck and bus owners resorted to strike to protest against government decision to abolish the five per cent allowable weight waiver on excess cargo at weigh bridges.

By HENRY LYIMO, Tanzania Daily News

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