THE government is negotiating with countries which are not in the Paris Club to see the possibility of relief or cancellation of part of the national debt. Speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, the Minister for Finance , Ms Saada Mkuya Salum, said that as of December, last year, the foreign and local debt stood at 27tr/-. Ms Mkuya said 20.23tr/- was external debt, which was 78 per cent of the total debt, while the domestic debt stood at 6.81tr/-.She said out of the external debt, 16.7tr/- was government debt while 3.53tr/- was for the private sector. She outlined the reasons for the increase in the debt as disbursed outstanding debts and interest arrears, especially for countries out of the Paris Club , thus the need to negotiate for debt restructuring, debt relief and debt cancellation possibilities. However, she said the national debt was stable according to an evaluation carried out by the government last September. She said the government took various measures to ensure the national debt stability by ensuring that it only borrowed from sources with better interest rate terms and that the money was spent on matters that would trigger national economical development. She mentioned priority areas as infrastructure, communication, the national fibre optic cable, gas pipeline, international airports expansion and construction, railways and electricity. Ms Mkuya said they were also advocating public-private partnership projects to empower the private sector to contribute to economic development. On economic growth, she said it slowed down last year compared to 2012. By the third quarter of last year, the economic growth rate was 6.5 per cent compared to 7.2 per cent recorded in the corresponding period in 2012.
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