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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

World Bank withholds grant for Tan-
zania over restrictions on statistics

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The World Bank confirmed on Tuesday that it was withholding 50 million U.S. dollars of grant for Tanzania because the bank was deeply concerned about restrictions that the government has placed on freedom of speech concerning statistics.

The grant was intended to support government statistical activities in Tanzania but latest reports indicated that this support may have to wait longer.

“We are in discussions with the government of Tanzania on whether further support to building sustainable statistical systems is appropriate at this time,” said the bank in a terse statement.

President John Magufuli was expected to sign into law the new Statistics Act which was passed on Sept. 10 by Parliament in the capital Dodoma.

The new act seeks to criminalize the collection, analysis, and dissemination of any data without first obtaining authorization from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The World Bank on Monday said it had “shared” its concerns with the Tanzanian government and was “in discussions” with officials about the new act.

The new statistics law criminalizes the dissemination of “any statistical information which is intended to invalidate, distort or discredit official statistics.”

Offenses are punishable by a 6,000-dollars fine or a three-year prison term.

             

 

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