Coronavirus – Tanzania: House Stresses on COVID-19 Crusade

On Monday, the House announced various measures that have been taken by the parliament in fighting the spread of Coronavirus

Speaker of the National Assembly yesterday assured the public that the organ was taking all required precautions against the spread of deadly novel virus.

Mr. Job Ndugai told lawmakers that the House will keenly receive as well as advise the government on all possible measures that would help to curb the contagion.

Speaking during the inauguration of the parliamentary budget marathon, the speaker asked the MPs and the public to join forces in the fight against COVID-19, saying the current situation needs collective efforts from all Tanzanians.

Mr. Ndugai said the office of the Prime Minister, which is handling the coronavirus crisis, will be tabling its budget estimate speech today, therefore there will be enough time for MPs to discuss issues related to the outbreak and probably, the office will pick all important recommendations for the best interests of the nation.

Earlier, some backbenchers had asked the Government to present a special report on the COVID-19 situation in the country, the war against the virus.

Kawe MP, Halima Mdee (CHADEMA) said there was need for the government to give a detailed report on the situation.

She said the current situation needs both parliament and the public to be aware of the situation on the ground so that serious measures could be taken collectively.

Ms. Mdee commended the government's show of seriousness in fighting the scourge but argued there was a need to go a step further by ensuring all announced measures are implemented effectively.

She said: "We have been asked to practice social distancing, but this thing is not practical when we go to our streets, ordinary people are either not aware or are forced by the situation to violate the order."

According to Ms. Mdee, it is difficult for wananchi who commute in 'Daladala' to observe social distancing and that there must be a strategy to address the situation.

The MP asked the Government to come up with a plan to help both traders and workers economically.

"We need to come up with measures that will help traders to continue doing businesses, the Government must do something so that traders can sell goods at affordable prices and help all other members of the public to survive," she advised.

The MP also proposed that all legislators should be tested for Coronavirus so that they can be certain about their status. Iringa Urban MP, Peter Msigwa said the nation should unite against Coronavirus to rescue its economy.

He said several economic activities and businesses including tourism have been paralysed and that there must be a special programme to rescue the situation.

"We would like to hear the Government plan on this, we are ready to discuss and help the government, let's share our ideas transparently so that we can save our nation," he said.

On his part, Speaker Ndugai said his office will look for the possibility to get all MPs tested and that his office will keep updating legislators and the public on the situation.

On Monday, the House announced various measures that have been taken by the parliament in fighting the spread of Coronavirus.

Some of the measures include minimizing the number of MPs to attend from 393 to 150 , minimize the number of all parliament officials by half, avoiding paperwork by running all businesses digitally, strengthening virus screening team, advising on taking away food from the parliament canteen, maintaining social distance and many others.

In another development, the speaker told MPs that President John Magufuli has already signed two bills into laws.

He mentioned the new laws as Arbitration Act 2020 and Miscellaneous Amendments No. 8 of 2019.

Moreover, Speaker Ndugai said the Parliament will go through the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) report, which was presented to President Magufuli recently.