Tanzania: Samia Spurs / Stirs Sport, arts growth

As the country celebrates the centenary of President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s coming to power, significant progress has been made in this short period to improve the sports and arts sectors.

Its latest guidelines to improve CCM-owned stadiums across the country and the establishment of sports academies in all regions will certainly be an important turning point for the development of sport in the country.

President Samia released these guidelines when she recently addressed young people at Nyamagana Stadium in Mwanza region.

The president was clearly unhappy with the ruling party venues and called on party leaders to seize the opportunity offered by the government, as approved in its 2021/2022 tax budget, to remove the tax on added value (VAT) on imported artificial turf. The movement aims to encourage the improvement of sites.

She said if the party is struggling to raise funds, it should look for investors to help fix the stadiums.

Filing the 2021/2022 budget estimate which was subsequently approved by lawmakers, the Minister of Finance and Planning, Mwigulu Nchemba, proposed a VAT exemption on artificial turf with HS codes 5703.30.00 and 5703.20.00 for soccer fields in municipalities.

According to the proposal, the municipalities eligible for the VAT exemption on synthetic turf are Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Mbeya, Arusha, Tanga and Dodoma.

In addition to ordering the improvement of the stadiums, President Samia asked the Minister of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Innocent Bashungwa, to consider establishing sports academies in various regions to promote growth of sport.

She also urged the ministry to redouble its efforts to address the challenges facing artists and athletes, as both sectors are important sources of employment for most young people.

President Samia made this appeal at the State House during the swearing-in of some of the deputy permanent secretaries, permanent secretaries and heads of public institutions.

She asked Bashungwa to work on the challenges hampering the development of the sports and arts sectors due to their essential role in the employment of most young Tanzanians in addition to bringing income to the country.

The President believes that both sectors will be very productive for Tanzanians and the country if all challenges hampering their development are resolved or mitigated.

In April, during the swearing-in ceremony held at Chamwino State House in Dodoma, President Samia instructed the recently appointed Deputy Minister of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Pauline Gekul, to develop and support women’s sport in the country.

On this occasion, she expressed her disappointment to see women’s teams miss the warm welcome after doing well in international level tournaments.

In the short period of her leadership, President Samia implemented plans to create a sports development fund that would support national teams in preparing for many competitions.

In addition to highlighting the issues regarding the sports sector, President Samia noted that artists would start receiving royalties for their works broadcast on TV, radio or online from December of this year.

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