Dodoma HIGH inflation rate and current economic difficulties the country faces are a result of food shortages and increased fuel prices in the world market, the National Assembly was told. Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Ms Janeth Mbene said that ongoing crises have had adverse effects on efforts by the government to reduce poverty in the country. She said that when the situation got worse in 2008/09 it affected the country's strategies to reduce poverty by half come 2015. The deputy minister said that it was envisaged that the economy would have grown by over 8 per cent for a period of 20 years. However, she said, between 2000 and 2011 the economy grew at a rate of seven per cent but poverty reduction was still not satisfactory. Ms Mbene was responding to a basic question by David Silinde (Mbozi West-Chadema) who wanted to know the government's contingency plans in dealing with current economic problems. The deputy minister said that the agricultural sector that was expected to employ massively has only managed to reach only four per cent of the targeted people. The Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Dr William Mgimwa, said the government is implementing monetary policies after a study was conducted to identify inflation rate causes but now it is focusing on food production because for the greater part price increases are influenced by food. Dr Mgimwa was responding to a supplementary question asked by Wawi MP, Mr Hamad Rashid Mohammed (CUF) who suggested that the Central Bank should implement tight monetary policies to tame inflation. "What Mr Hamad says is our focus to tame inflation rate and hence reduce the high cost of living," said Dr Mgimwa. Since last November, the Bank of Tanzania introduced and started to implement tight monetary policies to arrest the then spiralling inflation and to stabilize the exchange rate.