Since I'm just getting my sea-legs back (quite literally!) and retraining my fingers to type, this post shall be a reprint from a recent article that caught my eye.
From the Tanzania Daily News out of Dar es Salaam, this piece is titled "Low Desk Manufacturing Speed Irks Magufuli."
It brings a glimmer of an ironic smile to my face as what we really and truly need right now, prior to the desks, is more classrooms! In fact, when I get back to work next week, this will be a priority as Toa Nafasi's work with the kids at Mnazi Primary School has halted due to lack of space in which to teach.
It also makes me chuckle to see just how many things irk this man, Magufuli. He has been in the news a lot lately, making radical decisions that are affecting everyone I know. 18% VAT, anyone?!
President John Magufuli yesterday ordered the Prisons Service and National Service (JKT) to speed up the exercise for making desks so that the government could effectively offer free education to Tanzanian children.
The Head of State was speaking after receiving more than 60,000 desks from the two institutions to be given to Members of Parliament (MPs). In April, Prisons Service and JKT were commissioned to manufacture 120,000 desks, which would be distributed to various constituencies in the country.
Yesterday, President Magufuli expressed his dissatisfaction with the speed in manufacturing the desks saying it has taken too long considering the available labor force in the two bodies. "I am not satisfied with this speed, I want to be honest on this matter. Prisons Service and JKT have everything to enable them finish this job within a short time, they must improve their speed," he said.
President Magufuli said other organizations including NSSF and the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) have promised to provide money to support the campaign. But he was worried to dish out the cash to Prisons Service and JKT due to the low speed they have demonstrated in the first place.
"BoT promised to provide 4 billion shillings for desks, NSSF as well has promised to support us, but I am not happy with their speed. Therefore if there would be no improvement, I will not hesitate to give the tender to other organizations which can deliver on time," said the head of state.
President Magufuli said Prisons Service and JKT could involve other people in the business so that the job could be finished as planned. "This is an emergency, they must improve speed so that students can get quality education in conducive environments," he said.
President Magufuli said 60,000 desks for both Prisons Service and JKT means each body manufactured only 30,000 desks in a period of more than 90 days. He said there were many prisoners in various prisons in the country and thus he expected the exercise to take fewer days.
According to President Magufuli, Prisons Service and JKT were manufacturing an average of 30 desks a day. "This is not enough, we have many people in our prisons, they are eating for free, I expected prison warders to use them effectively in this exercise," he said.
The head of state stressed that students need desks and not otherwise. "We need desks, the only discussion here is desks and not otherwise, we do not like to hear anything else but desks."