Tanzanian officials will not be allowed to send out the usual government printed Christmas and New Year cards this year as part of belt-tightening measures by the new president.
John Magufuli has implemented a series of austerity steps since being sworn in on Nov. 5, including cancelling Independence Day festivities and restricting foreign travel by officials.
The president’s chief secretary “has prohibited the printing of Christmas and New Year cards at the government’s expense,” the presidency said in a statement. “Anyone who wants to print those cards should do so at his or her own personal cost.”
“The funds set aside for the cards should be used to pay off debts that government ministries, departments and institutions owe citizens and other creditors for goods and services rendered or should be directed towards other priority areas,” it said.
Last week, Magufuli ordered the sum of about $100,000 that had been set aside for a party to mark the opening of parliament should be used instead to buy hospital beds at Tanzania’s main hospital, after he found patients sleeping on the floor.
Else where in Africa on the same day, some president was announcing plans to increase electricity and fuel prices against poor and unemployed citizens, maintain huge cabinet, deputy ministers, bad mannered District Commissioners, turning miners into farmers, giving soldiers pangas and axes to clear jungles for farming since there is no money.