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Tanzania Speaker resigns after country's borrowing remarks

Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on September 23, 2021. [Reuters]

Tanzania Parliament Speaker Job Ndugai has resigned.

In a statement, Ndugai said his decision was voluntary and in consideration of the government, the country, and his party Chama Cha Mapinduzi.

He thanked parliamentarians and President Samia Suluhu for their support.

Ndugai's resignation comes a few days after he apologised to President Suluhu over remarks he made regarding the country's borrowing.

The Citizen reported that Ndugai had claimed Tanzania risks being auctioned due to rising national debt.

Last week a video clip went viral showing the Speaker criticise what he called unhealthy borrowing.

The Citizen added that while he issued the apology, Ndugai said the clip had been edited to stain his relationship with Suluhu.

"If I have uttered any word to discourage the President in her efforts to rebuild the country, I apologise to her and to all Tanzanians in general,"  The Citizen quoted Ndugai having said while addressing journalists on Monday in Dodoma.

In the same breath, The East African reported that Ndugai's remarks drew Suluhu's response.

She said the government will not be discouraged from prioritising external loans over domestic taxes to complete key projects such as the Standard Gauge Railway and the Julius Nyerere Hydropower projects.

The East African went on, adding that Suluhu signed a new $1.93 billion deal with Turkish contractors Yapi Merkezi for another phase of the ongoing SGR project.

“There are people who thought these projects would ground to a halt so they would have something to say. That’s not going to happen. There is no country anywhere that doesn't borrow - even the so-called developed countries have bigger loan debts than ours. We will borrow, borrow and borrow in order to finish the projects we have started.

“That way we will be able to complete these projects much sooner and start making money off them to pay off whatever loans we incur. If we were to depend on our own internal revenues, how long would that take?” The East African quoted Suluhu.