EDITORIAL: Govt should move faster in arresting growing poverty THIS DAY THERE is poverty in our country, no doubt. But what is more worrisome is the simple fact that it is in the upward swing. The indices are too glaring for any keen observer of the economy to see, although official statistics may say the contrary. The manufacturing sector in Tanzania has shown its near-collapse. In fact, it is estimated that over 50 per cent of the manufacturing companies have folded up in recent years. Some sectors such as textiles, which were buoyant in the past, have collapsed. The textiles industry alone, which used to have several thousands of Tanzanians in its employ, can hardly keep hundreds of jobs anymore. The import of all these being that those who drew their livelihood from these sectors have been thrown into the world of unemployment, along with those who depend on them -- aged parents, wives, children and others. Sadly, the thread runs similarly throughout the economy. There has been a complete failure of the real sector - no industrial production, no serious manufacturing and little agricultural development to sustain a growing population being wasted by the absence of everything that makes living worthwhile. Even those wishing to go into production are scared stiff by the absence of facilities. A number of problems have combined to impede the attainment of developmental goals in Tanzania. There is existence of extreme poverty in the country in the face of failed governments measures to eradicate it. This raises a number of questions. Where is government in the life of the people of this country? What is government doing to lessen the suffering of the people? Our government should keep on asking what it is doing to checkmate the spread of mass poverty in the country. We put forward these questions because there is apparent lack of movement in governments resolve to combat the creeping mass poverty in rural Tanzania. Today, many able-bodied and qualified, employable Tanzanians are wasting away, unable to secure private sector jobs. The situation in the private sector is not made better by the severe job cuts carried out in the public sector in the course of the so-called civil service reforms and the flawed privatisation programme. Indeed, it is our considered submission that the government should move faster than it is doing currently and take pro-active measures that would stem the speed at which poverty is ravaging the citizenry. Government should quickly address the problem of employment creation so as to restore the productive base of the economy. For now, this base has been eroded. In the same manner, government should infuse capital into the various sectors of the economy to revive them. What it then means is that such capital infusion must be carefully deployed to ensure that they meet desired goals. There should be massive injection of funds into the development of public infrastructure. And this should be deliberately done to create employment and the consequent multiplier effects. In this regard, for instance, government could advise its contractors to deliberately adopt direct-labour in carrying out some projects especially roads and housing projects. The import, of course, being to provide immediate employment and sustain lives.