Dar MP calls for mandatory Covid-19 tests for all lawmakers

Wednesday April 1 2020

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Tanzania’s parliament in session. PHOTO | EDWIN MJWAHUZI | NMG 

By XINHUA

A member of parliament in Tanzania on Tuesday called on parliament to test all MPs for the Covid-19 virus before the country's legislature sits for the marathon budget session in the capital Dodoma.

Halima Mdee, an outspoken MP for the country's leading opposition party Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema), said all the 393 MPs should have subjected to mandatory testing before the House started its three-month marathon budget session.

"Lawmakers should lead by example by testing for the virus that has devastated the whole world,"said Mdee at the start of the session to deliberate the government budget for the 2020/2021 financial year.

She said the government should show seriousness in addressing control and protective measures against the viral disease that has already killed one person and affected 18 others in the nation.

Mdee spoke after the Speaker of the National Assembly, Job Ndugai, had explained a number of protective measures taken by the House against Covid-19, including reduction of the number of MPs in the House chamber in order to observe social distancing and use of technology during sessions.

"We should stand united in the fight against Covid-19," said Ndugai, adding that Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa will on Wednesday give an update on steps being taken by the government in fighting the viral disease.

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The government of Tanzania plans to spend Tsh34.88 trillion (about $15.14 billion) in the 2020-2021 financial year that starts on July 1.

The Minister for Finance and Planning Philip Mpango said on March 11 that the budget for the 2020-2021 financial year was up from 33.1 trillion shillings that was spent in the 2019-2020 fiscal year for recurrent and development expenditure.

Presenting the National Development Plan and the budget ceiling for 2020-2021 to Members of Parliament in the capital Dodoma, Mpango said out of the 15.14 billion dollars budget, 9.5 billion dollars will be allocated for recurrent expenses and 5.6 billion dollars for development expenditure.

He told the House that 78.8 percent of the development budget will be sourced domestically and the remaining 21.2 percent will be sourced from development partners and international financial institutions.

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