Permanent debt cancellation and conditionality-free grants needed for developing country to combat Covid-19

Recently there has been a recommendation from the IMF and the World Bank (WB) for lending countries to plan to provide debt relief and to extend loans to the 76 poorest countries in the world to increase the capacity of health systems in those countries. This proposal came as developing countries struggled to curb the economic downturn and increase the ability to fight Corona disease. Such a relief program is not new to them as it has served and helped the countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea fight the Ebola epidemic in 2014.

Tanzania is one of the poorest developing countries in the world that suffered from Corona disease which started in Wuhan city of China in December 2019. Until 6 April 2020 Tanzania had a total of 20 infected patients, five healed and one dead. Others continue to fall ill at specialized health centers and hospitals dedicated to Corona patients. The infection has been found in Kagera, Arusha and Dar es Salaam regions.

 By implementing this initiative the Tanzania Debt and Development Network (TCDD) sees it is an opportunity for Tanzania to strengthen itself economically and continue the fight against the disease which, according to the Minister of Finance and planning budget speech 2019/2020, Phillip Mpango (MB) said that the government was expected to repay its 7.98 trillion Tanzanian debt to all its debtors worldwide.

The Minister further said that for the 2019/2020 budget, by March 2020 the government had paid 5.80 trillion Tanzanian funds. While in the 2020/2021 budget period the government intends to repay 6.42 trillion Tanzanian debts to all its foreign and domestic lenders. If the plan to forgive or relieve this debt repayment is implemented it is clear that this money will be directed towards strengthening health infrastructure to fight and prevent the spread of the Corona virus in Tanzania.

As of 30 November 2019 the National Debt amounted to 54.8 trillion in Tanzanian debt while external debt was 40.39 trillion and domestic debt was 14.44 trillion in Tanzanian currency.

The Tanzania Debt and Development Network (TCDD) calls on the IMF, the World Bank (WB) and the world’s lender to take immediate action and to relieve Tanzania’s current debt repayment and provide other affordable loans to diversify its power and capacity to combating Corona’s disease and cutting its economy out of the fast-paced chain.