Tanzanian's in the Diaspora have a huge contribution to the country’s economic development, having injected in $2.3bn (over 5tri/-) in the past five years.
Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation Minister, Dr Augustine Mahiga, on Wednesday commended Tanzanians in foreign lands whom he said have also spent 29bn/- in buying residential units, commercial areas, office spaces and plots from the National Housing Corporation (NHC) between 2011 and 2017.
Dr Mahiga unveiled the data in the National Assembly here while tabling his ministry’s 177bn/- budget estimates for recurrent and development votes in the coming financial year.
He explained that statistics from the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) indicate that Tanzanians living in different parts of the world sent back home a substantial amount of money during the six-year period.
The 177bn/- budget proposal represents an increase by 20bn/- from the budget that the House approved last year for the current fiscal year.
“The national priority currently is economic diplomacy to enable the country to attain industrialized economy. We, the country, have to see how best we can tap skills and expertise of the diaspora to attain the goal,” the minister explained.
Dr Mahiga told the legislators that the government is using all means possible to mobilize the Diaspora to partner with Tanzanians at home to inject financial resources and tap available investment opportunities.
“There is a need to penetrate international markets to ensure that once we attain the industrialized economy, goods produced locally have reliable markets.
We believe our people abroad can lead us to avenues where there is high demand for such products,” the minister stated.
The seasoned diplomat acknowledged the fact that Tanzanians abroad have been contributing not only to the socio-economic development of their families but to the nation as a whole.
“It is high time we put in place legal systems and policies to facilitate Tanzanians in foreign lands to effectively participate and contribute to the local economy,” former Tanzania’s Permanent Representative at the UN remarked.
Dr Mahiga said during the current financial year, the ministry has coordinated and facilitated the signing of 22 international bilateral agreements aimed at improving various sectors of the economy.
In the 2018/19 financial year, Dr Mahiga outlined the ministry’s areas of priorities as monitoring and coordinating the foreign policies, with focus on economic diplomacy to support the industrial drive.
“We will also be promoting investment opportunities in various sectors of the economy, business partnerships as well as marketing tourism attractions in the country,” he explained.
Dr Mahiga said the ministry will keep coordinating all regional and zonal integration agreements as well as opportunities available for Tanzania in the blocks.
“We will also make close follow-ups on all agreements signed and pledges made by development partners to ensure their fulfilment,”