Tanzania Truck Owners Association (TATOA) has cried foul over the treatment of local drivers at the hands of Kenya and Rwanda’s immigration border points.

Speaking to Press in Dar es Salaam yesterday, TATOA Chairperson Angelina Ngalula explained that contrary to initial agreement between the East African Countries on dealing with cross border cargo during the Corona Virus pandemic, there are double standards as to how Tanzanian drivers are treated.

“Our drivers have been stuck at the border points of Namanga and Rusomo for bureaucracy reasons, this, in turn, increases operation costs as we are charged close to TZS120,000 per container per day, the costs that could be easily avoided. We are requesting immediate intervention so things can start moving,” she said.

“On top of that, most Tanzanian trucks, in exception to those categorized to transport “essential goods” are requested to offload at the border point of Rusumo, which is about 150 Kilometers from the City of Kigali, while our counterparts from Rwanda are allowed to cross more than 1,000 Kilometers to Dar es Salaam and hence conveniently deliver to their customers’ in Rwanda, at doorsteps.

This situation gives the Rwandese truck owners a comparative business advantage, as they are deemed convenient by most customers. We are calling for fair business grounds,” said Ms. Ngalula.

Ms. Ngalula also expounded that, initially it was agreed that drivers from and to Kenya and Tanzania will be scanned at home and show a Covid-19 free certificate at the border points, but now the Kenyan authorities are surprisingly rejecting the Tanzanian based certificates, causing an unnecessary delay at the border, which translate into loss to the owners, especially when it concerns perishable goods.

“in a very unprecedented manner, Kenyan authorities are now refuting our drivers’ Covid-19 free certificates, questioning their legitimacy. It should be known that those are governments’ endorsed documents, issued by the Ministry of Health. As truck owners, we are calling for a round table discussion between all relevant authorities to normalize the situation and set fair business grounds. We understand and acknowledge all the government’s efforts in putting cross-border businesses in perspective amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. We feel that these particular areas need immediate improvement,” concluded the Chairperson.

TATOA was established in 2005 as a voluntary business association for truck owners involved in cargo freighting business in and outside Tanzania. The association now has 962 members with over 15000 trucks.

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Bernard Konga – Director-General, National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF

Dar es Salaam, Thursday 28th May 2020. The National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) Director-General  Bernard Konga has announced that the Fund is finalizing the digital payment system solution that will reduce the Medical Services Providers’ settlement claims from 45 to 14 days.

Speaking at an online CRDB Bank webinar branded  “Afya Forum,” that brought together all key players of the Tanzania Health sector, Konga who is an economist by trade, revealed that NHIF had embarked a digital transformation journey that will not only exterminate the delayed payment agonies but also increase efficiency through timely payments and subsequently maximize customer satisfaction.

“We understand your concerns on delayed payments for insurance claims”, said Konga who was speaking from his office in Dodoma, when answering a question from one of the participants,  “let me assure you that the Government is working tirelessly to get to the bottom of this setback. I am pleased to announce that we are finalizing an online claims settlement platform, that will allow us to reimburse all claims within ten to fourteen days,” said Konga.

NHIF, which now caters to more than 4 million members,  was established in year 2001 with the primary objective of ensuring that the majority of Tanzanians have access to health services through the provision of affordable and reliable health insurance services.

Despite the compulsory enrollment arrangement to public servants, the Fund also covers a big portion of private sectors from individuals’ traders and farmers, companies, education institutions, and organized groups such as Petty traders (Machinga and Bodaboda groups).

The digitalization move will likely attract applauses from all the quarters of the medical services providers who have long voiced their concerns. It is also another milestone for the Funds’ hierarchy who has worked tirelessly to increase efficiency and customer base through introduction of innovative products that cut across different demographics and income groups.

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A Swahili street slang that means ‘until we make it’ and/or ‘until it all makes sense’ and/or ‘keep your eye on the ball’. The slogan has been at the centre of my personal drive since I started my entrepreneurial journey back in 2016.

Through both steady and unprecedented times this slogan has been the driving force in facing challenges and pushing through hard times.

Our country is not unique in facing this COVID 19 global pandemic. As business owners, we are being hit with the same negative consequential economic effects as faced by those in fellow developing nations. Being a practising corporate lawyer and an inward investment advisor places me at the country’s entry gates exposing me head-on to investor challenges and strategies during this uncertain time.

The act of advising clients to send employees on unpaid leave, forced leave and outright closure of business tends to send a very grim picture on what is going on the ground.

Yet, being at the gateway exposes me to foreign investor interests, and new market entry propositions in the midst of all the economic and logistical challenges. From December 2019 to April 2020 we have set up investment vehicles on the lookout for opportunities in tourism, microfinance, manufacturing and some in relief efforts towards the effects of Covid-19.

The question that comes to mind is ‘What are foreign investors seeing that we as Tanzanians and local business owners are not seeing?’ Should we really be cowering in terror, depressed and paralyzed out of fear, waiting for the storm to settle (until when?) or should we use this time to not only take care of ourselves and those around us but to also re-strategize, seek new growth opportunities and better position ourselves for the brighter days?

The current situation took me back to my employed days when once I had gone three months without a salary during which time I realised I could actually survive running my own business, and thrive. In those months I improved on client relations and found ways to make money on the side by purposefully marketing the broad range of skill sets I had acquired over the years. That was the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.

Therefore, this pandemic can be responded to with the same resilience. Why not innovate? Why not think out of the box? Why not tend to the untouched wish list? Why not now?

Should we keep dwelling on the unknown and that which we have no control over? I believe we should face what we do know and improve on what is within our means. That is the spirit of #Mpakakieleweke

With that being said, our firm is pushing our online employment law application www.kazibox.co.tz which allows employees and HR managers alike to easily access essential employment law related resources through a webapp. Since many companies have implemented social distancing policies there has been a huge increase in online communication and administration in the country. We trust we can capitalize on this.

In a more personal capacity, I am chasing my dream to enter the tourism and risk management industries. How crazy is that? Building a beach camp site when there are no tourists to be seen…yet.

Being involved with the risk management firm www.castorvali.com at a time when major projects are on a slowdown has also led to the opening of other opportunities like the issuance of reports and updates on COVID-19 and its impact on business within the East African region. These reports are proving to be of increased significance to corporates keeping an eye on their investments in East Africa.

This in my mind is what the ‘Mpaka Kieleweke’ slogan is all about: taking the bull by the horns and dealing with whatever comes our way as it comes. I honestly believe that in the end the sun will shine, and we will be better positioned to continue the transformation of our beautiful growing nation.

Let us be safe, and let’s keep chasing our dreams as they are all we got.

By Kamanga Wilbert Kapinga ~ Managing Partner at KW Kapinga & Partners

SOURCE: HERE

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As part of its analysis to inform COVID-19 policy responses, the Economic Commission for Africa, is calling for adequate consideration of the vulnerability of city economies as African governments consolidate efforts and define stimulus measures to mitigate national and regional economic impacts.

“As engines and drivers of economic growth, cities face considerable risks in light of COVID-19 with implications for the continent’s resilience to the pandemic,” states Thokozile Ruzvidzo Director of the Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division of the ECA.

Africa’s cities are home to 600 million people and account for more than 50% of the region’s GDP. This is even higher at more than 70% for countries such as Botswana, Uganda, Tunisia and Kenya. A third of national GPD (31%) comes on average from the largest city in African countries. As such, the economic contribution of cities in the region is far higher than their share of population.

COVID-19 employment effects in are likely to be severe in urban areas. With urban-based sectors of the economy (manufacturing and services) which currently account for 64% of GDP in Africa are expected to be hit hard by COVID-19 related effects, leading to substantial losses in productive jobs. In particular, the approximately 250 million Africans in informal urban employment (excluding North Africa) will be at risk. Firms and businesses in African cities are highly vulnerable to COVID-19 related effects, especially SMEs which account for 80% of employment in Africa. These risks are compounded by a likely hike in the cost of living is expected as shown for example by some initial reports of up to 100% increase in the price of some food items in some African cities.

Additionally, urban consumption and expenditure (of food, manufactured goods, utilities, transport, energy and services) is likely to experience a sharp fall in light of COVID-related lockdowns and reduced restrictions.

“Africa’s cities drive consumption with their growing middle class with per capita consumption spending in large cities being on average 80 per cent higher at the city level than at the national level. COVID-19 related decline in urban consumption will thus impact domestic value chains, including rural areas,” notes Ms Ruzvidzo.

Further, with the per capita expenditure of African local authorities being the lowest in the world at $26, many local authorities are poorly resourced and less able to contend with the onslaught of COVID-19. Alarming also the likely fall in revenue streams for local authorities due to COVID-19 curtailing their already limited ability to respond to this crisis. Intergovernmental/national transfers which account for 70 to 80 per cent of local authorities’ finance are likely to be reduced due to immediate national response and recovery requirements. Own source revenues which are already low at only 10% of local authorities’ finances with city level lockdowns and restrictions leading to reduced economic activity.

Yet, local authorities are frontline responders to such shocks and crises. Given the proximity to their constituencies, local authorities are well positioned to and already do lead responses to some of the immediate effects, and doing so have a better understanding of needs and necessary measures, and enable higher transparency of accountability.

In light of these circumstances, ECA is proposing specific support to city governments to mitigate and respond to the economic effects of COVID-19, in addition to the immediate health and humanitarian focus. Disaggregating the analysis and identification of priorities and responses at the sub-national and city scales is a first step.

Proactive measures are also needed for urban economic recovery including through measures to boost finances and capacities of local authorities as first responders, short term bailouts and exemptions for SMEs to limit productivity and employment loses, social protection for those in informal urban employment while anticipating the potential of labour intensive public work programs for job creation in the medium term. In this regard, Ms. Ruzvidzo emphasizes that “local governments must be supported because they are better able to respond to local needs including in coordination with community-based structures”.

In the longer term, the acute vulnerability of city economies calls for efforts to revitalize and enhance the productivity of Africa’s cities through adequate investments to address the substantial deficits and barriers they face. With more than half of Africa’s population expected to live in cities in just 15 years, the risks of poorly planned and managed urbanization are considerably high, rendering millions vulnerable to the effects of future shocks. SOURCE:  AfricaNEWS

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By Godwin Semunyu

Asha-rose- 35, (not a real name), is a mother of two, a devoted wife, she also heads a vibrant sales department in one of the blue-chip companies at the heart Dar es Salaam. Asha finds 24 hours in day significantly inadequate.

Like many other mid-income families, Asha’s family resides in one of the suburbs about thirty-five kilometers out of the city. In Dar es Salaam, people from these neighborhoods are known to be early risers, not by choice, but for the need to beat the unforgiving traffic.

Asha’s typical day starts as early as 4.00 am, her drive to work can take an hour and a half or two, sometimes three or even four, during the rainy seasons. If you are not from here, it will take you ages to understand the relationship between rainfall and traffic jam. That’s another topic all together.

When she finally gets to work, she is greeted by piles of emails, meetings, training, workshops, presentations, reports, and “any other duties as assigned by superiors.” She will not be home until around 8pm, understandably exhausted. But mother-duties and wife roles know no exhaustion.

Less than six hours later, she will be reminded by the unapologetic alarm clock that it is time wake up and prepare herself and the kids for a new day. The circle will start and end like the previous day. Monday to Friday.

Most people in urban Tanzania are finding it extremely difficult to strike a perfect balance between their demanding career ambitions and family roles, resulting in major consequences on personal lives.

According to WebMD, work-life balance is the lack of opposition between work and other life roles. It is the state of equilibrium in which demands of personal life, professional life, and family life are equal. It consists of, but not limited to, flexible work arrangements that allow you to carry out other life programs and practices such as personal interests, family, and social or leisure activities.

Why is it important to strike a balance?
In a rush to “get it all done” at the office and home, it’s easy to forget that as our stress levels spike, our productivity plummets.This will result to stress, impaired concentration, depression, and halt personal and professional relationships.
Over time, stress also weakens our immune systems, and makes one susceptible to a variety of ailments from, insomnia to heart diseases. Let’s not forget broken family bonds and ties.
What to do:

While there can be several ways on how one can overcome the pressure of not balancing the work-life weigh, medical experts propose the following methods:

• Set manageable goals: Make a “to do” list, and take care of essential tasks first and eliminate unessential ones. Ask for help when necessary.

• Be efficient with your time at work. When you face a big project at work or home, start by dividing it into smaller tasks. Complete the first one before moving on to the next.• Take five. Short breaks will help clear your head and improve your ability to deal with stress and make the right decisions.
• Communicate effectively. Be honest with colleagues or your boss when you feel you’re in a bind.
• Give yourself a break. No one’s perfect! Allow yourself to be human and do the best you can.
• When at Home, Unplug. When at home, try to stay away from the laptop, give your family some attention
• Don’t over commit. If you’re overscheduled with activities, learn to say,” no.”
• Stay active. Regular exercise reduces stress, depression, and anxiety. Make time in your schedule.

Copyright@epicpr.co.tz

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