7 Apr 2009


-Grassroots also unhappy with govt performance over use of resources

THISDAY REPORTER
Dar es Salaam

POVERTY levels continue to be on the rise in Tanzania despite large sums of monetary aid being regularly poured into the country from external sources, top financial institutions have asserted in Dar es Salaam.

Meeting in the city over the weekend, officials of the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs were in consensus that statistical records of Tanzania’s received aid vis-a-vis poverty alleviation over the past decade were far from encouraging.

It was noted that while the country has enjoyed substantial Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) funding since 2001, poverty has only been marginally reduced, from 35.7 to 33.6 per cent, while the total number of Tanzanians living in poverty has increased by about 1.6 million people.

’’In this situation, many people ask themselves what is being done to [the aid] for poverty reduction and economic growth that (is supposed to) benefit all Tanzanians,’’ said the World Bank Country Director for Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda, John McIntire.

His views were more or less echoed by the AfDB country Representative to Tanzania, Sipho Moyo, who remarked: ’’The focus now must be on results, notably in light of the upcoming mid-term review...(AfDB) shareholders are increasingly looking for higher impact on the ground.’’

The three institutions were holding the ’Country Portfolio Performance Review (CPPR)’ for Tanzania, where operations financed by the World Bank and AfDB were jointly assessed.

The tripartite meeting was geared towards promoting effective project management, raising disbursement rates, and ’’enhancing Tanzania’s absorptive capacity for additional financing,’’ according to a joint statement issued afterwards.

Currently, there are a total of 23 ongoing World Bank-financed projects in Tanzania, representing total commitments of some $2bn, out of which $968m has already been disbursed. Meanwhile, the AfDB has 18 ongoing projects in the country, with a committed amount of $854m.

Leading the Tanzanian delegation to the meeting, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ramadhani Khijjah, said implementation of these projects has encountered various challenges including institutional reforms, inadequate financial resources, untimely release of funds, and bureaucratic procurement procedures, ’’just to mention a few.’’

The CPPR exercise is part of efforts to harmonize the process of funds disbursement to reduce transactional costs and enhance the impact of aid on particular countries.

According to recent research findings, Tanzanians at the grassroots level have of late become increasingly disgruntled about the way government authorities are using public resources and unimpressed by financial information provided by such authorities.

Although the government has invested heavily in the Local Government Reform Programme (LGRP) aimed at strengthening local authorities for effective service delivery especially to rural communities, most interviewed citizens insisted that the said reforms have had no impact on their lives.

Over 75 per cent of respondents expressed outright dissatisfaction over the spending of public resources, researchers Bahati Geuzye and Hugh Frasier asserted.

According to their findings, the dissatisfied respondents said it was not clear how public resources are used because the projects executed tend to yield poor quality outputs, while some projects have not even been completed.

They even voiced strong suspicions of corruption being linked to the funds usage.

Asked by the researchers what actions they preferred to take in a bid to rectify matters, the respondents said they often raised complaints through suggestion boxes, media channels, public meetings, direct to council executive directors, and even as far as State House in some cases.

However, it was noted that ’’about 89 per cent of the respondents said their concerns have never been taken seriously, even after taking these actions.’’

The researchers also concluded that financial transparency in local government authorities (LGAs) is inadequate, with only a small portion of citizens getting access to financial information released by the councils through noticeboard displays.

The research, aimed at gauging the effectiveness of financial accountability at local government level, covered 10 randomly selected districts in the country; Kinondoni, Mkuranga, Bagamoyo, Tanga, Lushoto, Kilosa, Kibaha, Korogwe, Morogoro, and the Dar es Salaam City Council.

Some 810 Tanzanians participated as respondents.

Recommendations put forward by the researchers for improved financial accountability include strengthened planning and budgeting, improved incentives to councilors and council staff, and increased support from the central government.

SOURCE: ThisDay
IT'S THIS SIMPLE: THE MORE THE DONORS PUMP IN AID,THE MORE THE MAFISADI,NOT MERE WANANCHI,GET RICHER.THE MORE THE LEVEL OF POVERTY GROWS,THE EASIER IT GETS FOR MAFISADI TO BRIBE THEIR WAY INTO POWER.A HUNGRY MAN IS VERY LIKELY TO SELL THEIR VOTE FOR A PINT OF RICE,KILO OF SUGAR,OR PAIR OF KHANGA.SOUNDS LIKE A CRAZY THEORY BUT I GOT A HUNCH THAT THER'S A BUNCH OF UNSCRUPULOUS CHARACTERS IN OUR COUNTRY WHO JUST WISH THE COUNTRY GETS POORER AND POORER SO THAT THEY PERSIST CLINGING TO POWER.IF I AM WRONG ONE MIGHT FIND BETTER EXPLANATIONS IN DR HOSEA'S BOOK (Pictured above),HOPEFULLY!!!

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