In a statement that was issued last week, the Irish Ambassador to Tanzania, Anne Barrington, called upon the government to dedicate more of its resources to the improvement of the Tanzania agriculture sector.
According to Ambassador Barrington it was a good sign that, in addition to the emphasis on developing markets and attracting investments, Tanzania has also placed a significant emphasis on the improvement of inputs, technology, extension, education and research
However, in spite of these efforts, the ambassador still recognized a need for increased attention to agriculture.
“The objective facts remain,” said Ambassador Barrington, “agriculture is allocated only 6.2 per cent of the national budget – up significantly from last year- but inadequate just the same.”
Ambassador Barrington went onto request that other donors join the improving Agriculture Sector Development Program.
In addition to these developments in the agriculture sector, Ambassador Barrington also encouraged increased improvements in the Tanzania health sector.
In her statement, the ambassador spoke highly of the improvements that have been made in the health sector to date, specifically in regards to the improved statistics on infant mortality, malaria, HIV and AIDS.
Following these remarks, the ambassador called on the Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and other development partners to continue working to reduce the maternal mortality rate through the further development of planning and budgeting in the health sector.
According to Ambassador Barrington one-third of all aid coming into Tanzania was intended to be used for HIV/AIDS.
“Most of this money coming in is not coordinated, does not come within the Health Sector Plan nor does it go through the Health Sector basket funding mechanism,” said the ambassador.
Ambassador Barrington went on to question whether or not the off plan and off budget nature of the funding that was coming into Tanzania had the unintentional result of worsening the already elevated maternal mortality rates.
According to her statement, the ambassador indicated that it would be most beneficial for all programs if the health funding that was coming into Tanzania was on plan and on budget, thus making it possible to provide services both to HIV/AIDS patients as well as pregnant women.
The Irish government has indicated its continued commitment to support various sectors in Tanzania, particularly in regards to the agriculture and health sectors, with plans to allocate approximately TZS 270 billion in funding to the government between 2007 and 2010.