Tanzania's Magufuli suspends head of telecoms regulator, disbands its board for incompetence

Said weak management at the author had cost the nation about $181.7 million annually

TANZANIAN President John Magufuli has suspended the head of his nation’s telecoms industry regulatory body and disbanded its board, his office said.

Weak management and incompetence at the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority had cost the East African nation about 400 billion shillings ($181.7 million) annually, according to an e-mailed statement from the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

Ever since he took office last November after elections, the Tanzanian president has moved aggressively to crack down on corruption and government waste.

Days after he was sworn last last year, Magufuli cancelled celebrations marking Independence Day on Dec. 9, and ordered the $2 million set aside for the festivities be used to construct a 4.3 km road section in Dar es Salaam.

He also cancelled celebrations marking World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 to cut what he termed as “unnecessary government spending”, ordering the money saved be used to purchase drugs.

The money-saving measures generated a meme on Twitter that asked #WhatWouldMagufuliDo?

Magufuli has fired at least seven government agency heads since coming to office Nov. 5, including the head of the country’s anti-corruption body, the chief of Tanzania Railways and a top immigration official. 

Magufuli’s efficiency drive has also focused on tax collection. 

Takings exceeded 1.4 trillion shillings ($643 million) in December, beating the government’s target by 12%. In November, the president suspended the head of the Tanzania Revenue Authority and ordered a probe into hundreds of shipping containers with goods worth 80 billion shillings that went missing at Dar es Salaam’s port. 

The Treasury spent 37.5 billion shillings on school grants, 46.3 billion shillings on water projects and another 80 billion shillings on an electricity plant in Dar es Salaam over in the three months to March—money that wasn’t previously available.

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