Here is how Nigeria can emulate Tanzania
John Magufuli, Tanzania’s new president, has been in the news since he was sworn in recently. He appears to be upholding his campaign slogan “Hapa kazi tu” (work and nothing else) through recent declarations and the implementation of new policies within the country. The latest in his string of actions as president, is his cancellation of the Independence Day celebrations in Tanzania, the first time in 54 years. Meanwhile, in Nigeria, President Buhari and APC’s mantra of change seem to have been a lie 6 months on as many of the campaign promises, which were the basis upon which Nigerians voted for the APC, have not been fulfilled.
Here are three ways the government of Nigeria can emulate President John Magufuli and his new policies:
Magufuli placed a ban on government officials travelling out of Tanzania, insisting that the country’s embassies would take care of any problem in those countries. Instead, he directed them to make trips to rural areas in Tanzania. This is in sharp contrast to Nigeria where senators get N93 million annually ($500,000) and a “recess allowance” for a 28-day “working” holiday. Most of these senators spend their recesses outside the continent, splurging Nigerian tax payers’ money. The last recess came after Nigerian senators, during a senate sitting, shot down a call for their salaries and allowances to be reduced, amidst Nigeria’s slow economic growth this year. It definitely looks like Buhari and his government should take a leaf from Magufuli’s books.
John Magufuli also placed a ban on sitting allowances for senators and members of parliament, arguing that they should not be paid for sitting in a job where they already receive a monthly stipend. However, Nigerian senators are the highest paid of their kind all over the world. They receive more than a sitting allowance. They receive a wardrobe allowance, car loan allowance, recess allowance, accommodation allowance (like they had no where to live before brcoming senators) and, the most absurd of all, newspaper allowances. In a country with a poverty rate of about 46 percent, it is baffling how its leaders receive so much money without any regard for the citizens. Despite the ‘season of change’ that we are apparently in, very little has changed.
Independence Day celebrations
Tanzania would not be celebrating its independence on the 9th of December this year, thanks to John Magufuli. He said it would be a shame for him to spend money on celebrating when Tanzanians were dying from a cholera outbreak. Nigeria spent N70 million on Independence Day celebrations on the 1st of October this year despite the economic slowdown, the struggle to pay salaries and the displacement of people from their homes by Boko Haram militants. However, this number is a vast improvement from last year when 180 million naira was spent on Independence Day celebrations. Perhaps, Nigeria can adopt a culture of saving money by borrowing a leaf from Tanzania and its new government.