...and those pressures, they were coming from which corner? CCM's Chairman, CCM's deputy chairman, CCM's Secretary General....colud you be more specific please? Mr Ndulu we need more info! BoT to reject future political pressures THISDAY REPORTER Dar es Salaam BANK of Tanzania (BoT) Governor Prof. Benno Ndulu has stated once again that the central bank will in future operate as an independent institution, oblivious to political pressures, in order to preserve its integrity. Speaking at a press conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Prof. Ndulu confirmed the suspensions of several senior BoT officials pending the outcome of investigations into the now-infamous external payment arrears (EPA) account scandal currently being conducted by a presidential-appointed task force led by Attorney General Johnson Mwanyika. Prof Ndulu however, declined to mention the names of central bank officials suspended, or even their exact number. He said an internal investigation is still in progress on bank officials said to have been employed on the basis of being related to prominent politicians or businessmen. ''We are still checking to find out whether these officials were employed on merit,'' he said. The central bank chief said internal auditing procedures have now been improved to ensure that irregularities are timely identified. ''If it happens that an irregularity does occur within the bank, we will accept accountability for it there is no need to run away,'' he stated. On the direct implications from the EPA account scandal, he said the bank is now considering calling in an international company to assess means of paying debts owed by the government. ''It would be proper for an outside institution to evaluate who is to be paid what, while the bank itself only pays the money after getting a go-ahead from the institution,'' said Ndulu. He also suggested that the central bank is currently tasked with too many responsibilities and does not have sufficient expert personnel to handle the situation. ''For instance, although the central bank does not have a gold refinery or experts in gold, it started a project sometime back to buy gold from artisan miners. But the project failed it was not productive at all,'' he said. Prof. Ndulu also delved into the current state of the national economy, giving statistics of performance in various sectors. He noted that the Tanzanian shilling appears to be strengthening against the US dollar, a trend that could result in reduced prices for imports. The agricultural sector, he said, is progressing well while other key sectors such as mining, manufacturing, tourism and the service provision are also growing rapidly. On inflation, the governor said it is expected to hit 6.5 per cent by June this year, instead of 4.5 per cent as earlier predicted. ''This is due to pressures arising from hiked power tariffs, increased food prices at home and in the global market, and rising fuel prices,'' he explained. The national economy, he said, is growing at an average rate of 7 per cent.