The Tanzanian president has declared 2009 as a year to strengthen his country's economy so as to mitigate the effects on the country of the global financial crisis and economic downturn.
In his end-of-year address to the nation given in Kiswahili, President Jakaya Kikwete promised that from 2009 the government would focus on strengthening the economy with the main aim as improving revenue collection.
Agriculture will have the first priority in the president's economic policy for the New Year in that it employs 80 percent of the country's workforce and accounts for 8.5 percent of the country's foreign currency income.
"A food shortage will be a big setback to us in the current situation where prices of grain have been increasing," said the president, "The government therefore seeks to ensure that the country meets its food needs and whenever possible it produces a surplus."
The president told the public that the government had resorted to the country's central food reserve to distribute food relief to 240,544 people expected to face food shortage by the turn of the year.
President Kikwete also warned that it would take a while for the country to feel the relief of decreasing prices of fuels and food on international markets.
As a country depending on imported petrochemical products, Tanzania has been feeling the pressure of increasing prices of fuels in the past two years. The country's annual inflation has risen to double digits in September this year and has reached 12.3 percent in November.
The president has entrusted the country's finance ministry and the Bank of Tanzania to work out measures to mitigate the global economic downturn on Tanzania.