Jan 10, 2015

Honourable Bernard Membe (MP), Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation;
Your Excellency Juma Alfan Mpango, Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps;
Excellencies, Heads of Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Welcome Remarks
          I welcome you all to the State House. I thank you for accepting my invitation to attend this traditional event to commemorate the end of 2014 and welcome 2015. 
I do hope that, those of you who joined the diplomatic community in Dar es Salaam in 2014, have settled down, and are receiving the necessary cooperation of my government and of your diplomatic colleagues.  I extend our very best wishes for the New Year to you all and through you to your Heads of State and Government, Heads if your respective institutions, your people, your spouses and staff,.
Economic and Political Development
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;
The year 2014 has been a very eventful year for Tanzania.  We are witnesses to important landmark events happening in the social-political and economic landscape of the country.  The economy continued to register strong macro-economic performance.  GDP growth is expected to be 7.4 percent compared to 7.3 percent in 2013.  Inflation rate dropped from 6.0 percent in January 2014 to 4.8 percent in December 2014. This drop is a result of an increase in food production. Last year, we produced a surplus of 3.25 million tonnes of grains which is an increase of 31.4 percent compared to a surplus of 2.23 million tonnes in 2013.    The objectives of Kilimo Kwanza and SAGCOT are working and succeeding.
We also registered an increase in export earnings.  By 31 October, 2014, Tanzania exported goods and services worth USD 8.539 billion compared to USD billion 8.332 recorded at the same time in 2013. Had it not been for the fall in the world prices of coffee, tea, cashew nuts, cotton and gold, we would have done much better.
          In another development, last year, we concluded the rebasing exercise of our economic statistics.  The base year will now be 2007 instead of 2001.  Accordingly, therefore, the GDP of Tanzania in 2013 was 70 trillion shillings using 2007 base year compared to 53.7 billion shillings using 2001 base year.  Likewise, GDP per capita is 977 USD compared to 742 USD using 2001 figures.  Please be informed that this is the 5th time such an exercise was undertaken in Tanzania.  Previously it was done in 1966, 1976, 1992 and 2001.
Social Progress
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;
We also registered commendable progress in the social-economic services particularly in education, health care, water supply, roads, airports and railways. The New Education and Training Policy was approved by Cabinet.  The Policy underlines improving access and quality of education and training as core tenet of the new policy.  Everything else is an elaboration of how to see this core policy tenet is realised.
 There are two important factors of the new Policy that are worth mentioning.  First the renewed emphasis on ensuring that Tanzanians get the type of education that will cater for the needs of the job market in terms of wage employment and self employment.  The second is the aspiration of making secondary school education free from next year, 2016.  The idea to make primary and secondary school education accessible to every Tanzanian is a major undertaking on our part.  That is why we in government have given ourselves the task of ensuring proper preparations are made so that this noble goal can be realised smoothly.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
There are three other landmark developments in education which occurred in 2014 that I would like to share with you today.  The first one is with regard to availability of primary and secondary school teachers.  With the employment of 36,339 teachers in 2014 we remain with a shortage of 45,233 teachers of which 26,946 are for primary schools and 18,288 are for secondary schools.  This is the lowest shortage of teachers we have ever been in the last seven years.  Indeed, the cooperative endeavour of some of you and us, to invest in teacher training is paying desired dividends.
 The other important highlight worthy mentioning is the fact that there is no more shortage of teachers of arts subjects in secondary schools in Tanzania unlike the situation seven years ago.  However, we are still contending with a shortage of 18,277 science teachers in secondary schools.  The capacity of our training institutions is to produce 2,500 teachers annually, compounds the problem.  In this regard, we welcome the innovative action by the University of Dodoma to design a diploma course for science and mathematics teachers.  The plan to enrol 5,602 students annually beginning 2014/2015 academic year should help ease and resolve the shortage of these teachers at the earliest possible time.
The second thing is the shortage of text books in primary and secondary schools.  We have been making steady progress in tackling this problem.  In 2005, for example, in primary schools the ratio of book to students was 1:6 while in secondary schools it was 1:5.  Through using own budgetary resources and support from development partners, in 2014 the ratio was 1:2 for both.  I would like, to use this opportunity to thank our development partners for their support.
 Allow me to recognise the United States of America for donating 2.5 million science and mathematics books for secondary school last month.  Our overarching ambition is to get to 1:1 ratio by 2016.  Your continued cooperation and support will be highly appreciated.
Through a unique Public People Partnership, close to 3,500 community secondary schools have been built since 2005 todate.  Because of serious oversight on the part of leaders, 3,463 of these schools did not construct science laboratories.  Two years ago, I launched a major campaign to build laboratories in these schools.   Good progress has been made.  So far 40.5 percent of the laboratories have been completed, work is at advanced stage for 54.8 percent and 4 percent of the laboratories is at initial stage of construction.   I believe in six months time all of these schools will have physics, chemistry and biology laboratories.  Any support we can get from your great nations with regard to provision of laboratory equipment and other needs will be highly appreciated.
After dealing effectively with the issues of shortage of teachers, text books and science       laboratories, the next big thing ahead of us will be teacher’s houses.  We will launch a major initiative in the next budget to build houses for teachers beginning with rural areas.  There is a huge shortage.  We will seek your support in this last mile action in primary and secondary school education development in Tanzania.  We look forward to your cooperation and support as you have always done in the past. 

Health Sector
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;
Equally important progress was made in the health sector.  This was in terms of building and equipping health delivery centres and dealing with diseases.  With regard to employment, in 2014 we employed 8,345 health professionals of whom there were doctors, nurses and other professionals. With regard to training of health personnel, we were able to reach 97 percent of our target of admitting 10,000 students by the year 2017.  I am sure, therefore that, we will surpass that target by far by that time. 
We registered remarkable progress in infrastructure development in 2014.  The tarmac road network was extended by 1,459 kilometres with 19 tarmac roads completed in 11 regions.  This year we expect 24 roads to be completed in 12 regions.  This will add another 1,339.06 kilometres.  We also expect work to start on eight new roads in Dar es Salaam, Iringa, Shinyanga, Simiyu, Kilimanjaro, Katavi and Arusha regions.  Thousands of kilometres of earth roads have been improved using the Road Fund whose budgetary allocation has been increased to 751.7 billion shillings in 2014 from 504.4 billion shillings in 2013.
  Implementation of the rural electrification programme being undertaken by the Rural Energy Agency (REA) has been a tremendous success.  3,836 villages have been electrified by 2014 and we expect another 1,500 will be reached by June, 2015.  This means 43 percent of all villages in the country will be covered giving an access to electricity for 38 percent of Tanzanians as compared to 18.4 percent in 2012.  This is no small achievement in a short period of two years.  A lot has been achieved as well in the railway, ports and water sub sectors.  For brevity of time I will not go into details today. 
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;
It would be remiss of me, if I did not acknowledge, appreciate and thank some of you gathered here for your country’s or institution’s kind support.  It has made a huge difference.  I appeal for continued support and cooperation in 2015 and other years to come. 
50th Anniversary of the Union
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;
Another landmark event of last year was the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the Union between the People’s of Republic of Zanzibar and the Republic of Tanganyika on 26th April, 1964, which gave birth to the United Republic of Tanzania.
The people of Tanzania had every reason to celebrate because it is a momentous achievement.  Our Union remain one of the few examples of successful and long surviving mergers of two sovereign republics into one new nation.  The secret behind this success has been the continued goodwill of our cooperating states and our readiness to openly discuss challenges facing the union and resolving them. 
I initiated Constitutional Review process in the same spirit.  There are some issues which require action in the Constitution.  I am glad the Constitution Review process went well and if the Proposed Constitution is endorsed in the Referendum a last solution will have been resolved.  The Electoral Commission is finalising preparations for the referendum to be held on April 30th, 2015.  We are doing everything within our powers to ensure that the problems identified in the pilot registration of voters exercise and others, are addressed speedily. 
It is critically important that the exercise succeeds because   the Voters Register being developed for the Constitutional Referendum is the same one that will be used in the General Elections later in October 2015. With regard to support for the General Elections, let me use this opportunity to thank the UNDP and all other partner states and institutions that have expressed readiness to assist our government in the preparations.  Please expedite the disbursement of the promised resources.  I want to assure you of the readiness of my Government to work with you all.   

Local Government Elections
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;
On 14th and 20th December 2014, respectively, the country conducted local Government elections. The successful conduct and conclusion of these elections speaks volume about the vibrancy and consolidation of democracy in Tanzania.  I commended the Parties and the people who contested the elections.  I also congratulated the winners.  I commended my Party CCM for the landslide victory and the opposition parties for the stronger performance. I deplored violence by followers of political parties and mistakes committed by some election officials.  We took action against both, we are sending a strong message that such action will not be tolerated in the General Elections in October, 2015.
Post 2015 Development Agenda
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;
The year 2015 is a special one as far as the global development agenda is concerned.  It is the year when the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) comes to a close and the negotiations on the Post 2015 Development Agenda will be concluded.
          We in Tanzania would like to see the unfinished business of the MDGs to form part of the post 2015 development agenda. For effective implementation of the post 2015 development agenda Tanzania emphasizes on a clear mechanism to ensure stable, predictable and reliable sources of financing for its implementation.  We promise to play our part well in the negotiations of the Post 2015 Development Agenda.
Regional Integration
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;
At the regional level, Tanzania will continue to be a committed and proactive member to the EAC, SADC and ICGLR.   Last November, Tanzania assumed the Chairmanship of the East African Community (EAC). In our one year tenure of office, we will strive to consolidate the gains made todate and work to advance the East African integration agenda to the greatest heights possible.  We shall equally remain committed to the SADC and participate fully in the implementation of the Regional Indicative Development Plan (RIDP), the SADC Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO) and all decisions of the SADC Summit and its Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.
The International Scene
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;
At the continental and global scene, Tanzania will remain a faithful member of the African Union and the United Nations.  Currently, we have contributed over 3,000 troops to UN peace keeping mission in the DRC, Darfur and Lebanon.   Tanzania is the 6th contributor of military and police peacekeepers in Africa and 12th globally. In making this noble contribution, we are advancing both our foreign policy objective and upholding the ideals of the United Nations Organisation. I promise continued contribution to UN peace keeping efforts whenever requested to do so.
Let me use this opportunity to set records straight about Tanzania’s position and role in the evolving security situation in the Eastern DRC and the on going voluntary surrender and disarmament exercise by the FDLR rebels.  We have always been supportive and will continue to be supportive of these efforts to ensure the Eastern DRC is free of armed groups that threaten the security of the people of Congo and Congo’s neighbours.  Any misrepresentation of Tanzania’s position is done by people who pretend to read Tanzania’s mind and make their thinking the truth.  This is preposterous and contemptible.  It is done by people who have ill intensions against our country.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;
Another development which I would like you to know is about South Sudan.  In October, 2014 Tanzania through the ruling party Chama cha Mapinduzi facilitated the Intra – Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) dialogue, in Arusha.  This was done following the request of His Excellency President Salva Kiir of South Sudan and the leadership of the SPLM in August, 2014.  They requested CCM to help unify the conflicting factions within the SPLM.  It is these decisions in SPLM which is actually responsible for the ongoing conflict and war in their dear country.  
The first round of the dialogue went very well, and at its conclusion the three factions signed a Framework Document.  President Salva Kiir, Former Vice President Riek Machar and I, were present to witness this occasion.  The parties are now back, and in accordance with the Framework Document, they will now address the root causes of the conflict within the party and devise the way out. 
I am of the view that, if the negotiating teams maintain the spirit they demonstrated in the first round, this process will be crowned with success.  They will be able to reunite their Party and pave the way for ease and success of the IGAD peace negotiations in Addis Ababa.  We urge the international community and all other people of good will to spare no effort in assisting the SPLM teams involved in the negotiations in Arusha to reach an amicable solution. Let us help them agree to reunify their Party – the SPLM and end the armed conflict which has caused untold suffering and deaths to innocent people in this youngest nation in the world.  The newest member of the African Union and the United Nations. 
Bilateral Relations
Your Excellency Dean of the Diplomatic Corps;
Excellencies, Heads of Diplomatic Missions;
Representatives of International Organizations;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
          Last but not least in importance, I would like to say a few words about our bilateral relations.  I am amply satisfied with the state of relations between Tanzania and the countries and organisations you represent.  You have been important contributors to our development endeavours.  Some of you have been important partners in regional, and global political-diplomatic arena as well. 
On behalf of the government and the people of the United Republic of Tanzania and on my own behalf, I thank you so much for your friendship, cooperation and support.  Let us strive to do more in 2015 and advance our bilateral relations to greater heights. You will always find in Tanzania a trusted and dependable friend and partner.
The year 2015 will be an exciting one, especially on the political front with the Constitutional Referendum and the General Elections.  We look forward to your usual cooperation, support and understanding.  Please do not do otherwise. 
After these many words, I once again thank you for accepting my invitation.   I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year 2015.  Thank you for your kind attention.


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