By Masato Masato
Dodoma — The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) yesterday hailed Tanzania for the great achievements in education and health service delivery as well as gender equality, describing the remaining challenges as "mere unfinished businesses".
"Tanzania has registered great feats in health services, availing more health facilities with access to water supply, and drastically reducing child mortality rate," UNDP Economic Advisor Rogers Dhliwayo told MPs at a seminar on sustainable development goals (SDGs) here.
He particularly commended the Fifth Phase Government under President John Magufuli for instilling discipline in public service, citing teachers' absenteeism, which has dropped sharply by 40 per cent, increasing the teaching days by 24 more.
"But, the challenge now is to ensure that the teachers in class are indeed teaching," he emphasised. Mr Dhliwayo commended the government for its initiatives to raise internal resources to finance development projects.
"The advantage of funding development using own resources is that no one can dictate terms on you... I am, however, not saying that aid is not important," he added. He challenged MPs to task the government in ensuring that the 17 SDGs are achieved for the benefit of the people.
"These SDGs are not for the UN; the role of the UN is only to facilitate countries to achieve them," said the UN economist, warning Tanzanians against getting money and hiding it in offshore banks in Switzerland -- instead of investing for the country's development.
The economist underscored the critical need for environmental conservation, saying as the country executes her industrialisation plan, it should take care of the environment and ensure that all critical issues of climate change are adequately addressed.
"Tanzania's contribution to climate change is minimal but it suffers most," he said. Speaking at the seminar, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Alvaro Rodriguez, said the achievement of the sustainable development goals requires the participation of every individual, saying MPs have the critical role to play in dissemination of the goals.
He appreciated the support the UN office receives from Tanzania.
"The government of Tanzania and UN office have been working together to disseminate the SDGs to Tanzanians... it's critical for MPs to understand these goals."
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning Paul Kessy said Tanzania has effectively participated in the preparation and greatly impacting the contents of the SDGs for the wide interest of the nation and its people, citing the inclusion of unaccomplished issues in the Millennium Development Goals like poverty reduction and employment.
Deputy National Assembly Speaker Tulia Ackson, opening the seminar, challenged the legislators to effectively play their role of advising and monitoring the government.
"It's our responsibility to look at the government plans, discuss and approve them," said Dr Tulia in her speech, which, however, was read in the absence of opposition MPs. The SDGs have 17 goals, 169 targets and 232 indicators that should be addressed by 2030.