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Agenda 2030 provides an unheralded opportunity to address the persistent challenges facing the world, including poverty, growing inequalities, and environmental degradation. Through it, world leaders have committed to addressing the economic, social and environmental issues standing in the way of sustainable development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide an opportunity to build on positive national development and address fundamental challenges in comprehensive and systematic ways.

At the Policy Forum Breakfast Debate held on 23rd February 2018, Reynald Maeda from the United Nations Association of Tanzania made a presentation entitled “Sustainable Development Goals: Does the Government Spending Match Its Commitment?”  where he elaborated that the Tanzanian government has made deliberate efforts to mainstream and integrate Sustainable Development Goals into the prevailing National medium-term development plan.

Maeda highlighted that the SDGs are in alignment with the second national development plan which is a series of the three Five Year Development Plans that will implement the Long-Term Perspective Plan 2011/12-2025/26. Its specific objectives are accelerating economic growth while making sure that quality of growth benefits the majority in the terms of poverty reduction and job creation which is the first SDGs goal.

Maeda further highlighted the SDGs are a broad agenda that reflects a global consensus of high aspirations based on fine political balance and that awareness is required at both national and subnational level.

Nevertheless, Stephen Chacha from African Philanthropic Foundation stressed that localisation process is to not only integrate the SDGs into the National Strategies but also incorporate them with the Local Government Development Plans. The localisation process must be participative and interactive in nature.

He continuously strained that the process should be done by engaging key development actors including CSOs, Philanthropic Organisations , Multi-national stakeholders and institutions.

Silas Olan’g of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) based in Tanzania questioned the pace of the Sustainable Development Goals implementation as its adaptation lacks clear national targets up to date. He further stressed that implementing SDGs is the responsibility of everybody.

Olan’g also highlighted that, external actors can be very helpful in building the capacity of National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and other Government Institutions in monitoring SDGs. They should support NBS in identifying and addressing the needs and in disaggregating the data by region, gender and age to ensure that “nobody is left behind”.

However, Tanzania has been urged to entrench and integrate science, technology and innovation strategies in education, industrial, agricultural, trade and investment policies to enable attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the eradication of extreme poverty for all people by the year 2030.

In addition, external actors must work with local institutions and especially think tanks in identifying and financing research that can help the monitoring process and fill the gaps that cannot be addressed by the national monitoring and evaluation masterplan. This is especially important because of the interlinking nature of the SDG goals and targets. Tanzania must further reflect on how best to monitor such goals and targets.

Although Tanzania is now acknowledged as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, this progress has not translated to major changes in the lives of ordinary Tanzanians. The reasons for this are many but tax incentives, tax evasion and avoidance and illicit capital flows to tax havens have been pinpointed as some of the factors that limit the country from raising adequate funds to improve service delivery. This is in tandem with the trajectory in Africa where it is estimated that many countries, relative to the size of their economies, lose more in corporate tax evasion than countries anywhere else in the world.

At a presentation entitled “Lifting the Veil of Secrecy: International Taxation and Capital Flight from Africa”, delivered by the Lead Professor in Economics from the Mzumbe University, Prof. Honest Prosper Ngowi at the Policy Forum Breakfast Debate held on 26th January 2018, he called for joint efforts from all key stakeholders including the media, civil societies and the international community to raise alarm on the issue. He said that studies show at least 30 per cent of all financial wealth held by Africans was illegally stashed in offshore tax havens across the world.

Commenting on the fight against tax incentives Prof. Ngowi lamented its abuse by beneficiaries. Citing the Controller and Auditor General 2015/16 Report, he said it singled out a case in which no documentation was provided for 4.2million liters of oil transported from Dar es Salaam between October 2014 and December 2015 for use in mines in Buzwagi, Bulyankulu and Geita and cases of the similar nature.

“Tax incentives are actually at the least of investor’s priorities, the top most priority is predictability of the investment environment.” highlighted the director of Natural Resource Governance Institute - Africa (NRGI) Silas Olan’g who was the discussant of the debate.

Furthermore, Olan’g acclaimed the book for highlighting the various loopholes that lead to the loss of revenues and critically stressed that Tanzania suffers severely from the fiscal terms that allow indefinite loss carry forward. He also questioned the silence of the international community and the UN on intense issues such as tax invasions and capital flight.

Prof. Semboja, however, said that tax incentives were beneficial to the government because they are well articulated in the Tanzanian tax laws. He said that among others tax incentives were attracting larger foreign and local investors in the country, who in turn encourage production, employment, and pay revenues to the government, among other benefits.

The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and other African nations were urged to review their policies on tax incentives because a number of them are being abused and shortchanging the treasury.


On tax literacy in Africa, stakeholders considered it low whereby a large proportion of the economic active citizens in Africa, including Tanzania belong to the informal sector, and the technicality of paying taxes is quite complicated and difficult for them to understand.

Prof. Ngowi noted that although revenue administrations in some countries including Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania have undertaken vigorous taxpayer education interventions, they still had a limited outreach as they have been mainly concentrated in the urban centres.

Natural resource management and conservation in Tanzania can be improved by enhancing people-centred governance by putting in place organisational structures and processes that support community participation. This was said at the breakfast debate hosted by Policy Forum on 24th November, 2017 dedicated on the theme entitled, “People- Centered Land Governance: The solution for protecting the rights of the poor and vulnerable in Tanzania?.”

Mr. Masalu Luhula of the Tanzania Natural Resource Forum (TNRF) highlighted that currently land management processes lacked appropriate consultation and citizen engagements and adequate compensation to the citizens that have been evicted from their lands and that there was abandonment of lands left unused. He further added that “community land has been protected through land use planning but as the government plans it is in our responsibility to empower the community on issues of their rights to protect their land.”

On the issue of reducing land-related conflicts in society, it was suggested that the government should invest in land planning and land set aside for villagers should be used for those intended purposes only. Apart from limiting land conflicts, planned land enables the government to know the amount of land reserved for small, medium and large-scale farming.

Former University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) fellow, Prof Adolf Mascarenhas, pointed that land planning should be supported by sufficient laws, regulations and procedures to protect land once it is set aside for villagers especially form investors who often grab it and makes conflicts inevitable.

Dr. Stephen Nindi of the National Land Use Planning Commission (NLUPC) stressed that a majority of the Tanzanians live in rural areas and their livelihoods depended much on agriculture. This majority, however, does not have reliable infrastructure to enable them to transport their products to urban areas on time. Poor infrastructure has caused inadequate participation of farmers in agriculture activities which risks food insecurity affecting the farmers, the country and the region at large.

The morning debate had a proposition that compensations should directly be paid to the community rather than involving the government as a third party as transaction costs are high. The local authorities should be given a mandate to educate their community and there should be a citizens agreement with the land investors.


Article 20 (1) of the Constitution of United Republic of Tanzania stipulates that every person has the freedom to assemble and express views publicly or through associations /organizations. Although the mother law recognizes the right to assemble, there are still some political decisions which infringe the right to assemble peacefully in the country.  This sentiment was expressed during the monthly Breakfast Debate entitled Freedom of Assembly: Supplementing the voice of the citizens to contribute to the evolution of governance held on the 27th October 2017 at British Council Dar es salaam.

Presenting on the topic, Elizabeth Martin Mhagama from Tanzania center of Democracy (TCD) urged political leaders to respect and observe the law because they swore to protect and defend the constitution when they were elected including the right of the public to assemble as an underpinning pillar of democracy and pluralism in the country.

It was also highlighted that the rights of citizens to assemble should not be considered a mere favour that the government grants to its people as to participate in the democratic processes, associate common causes and demand accountability from the leaders they have elected are actions that enable growth of open and inclusive societies.

Non-Government Organizations were also urged to come together and review existing laws that limit freedom of association in Tanzania. It was believed that the move will enable all NGOs to share their views and to develop strategies and actions to protect freedom of assembly as well as freedom of expression.

The discussion ended by participants beseeching the government to realize the importance of enabling people to assemble and urged it to protect this right by providing security during their public convening.

In recent years there have been concerns that authorities in Tanzania have been banning peaceful assembly by political parties and civil society without satisfactory justification. The Breakfast Debate sought to offer space for commentators to discuss the issue and air their concerns regarding the impact of this shrinking political and civic space.

Policy Forum holds the People and Policy Debates on the last Friday of the month to broaden public understanding and debate on a topical policy issue. Issues chosen for the breakfast debates are wide-ranging and speakers are drawn from the public sector, academia, civil society, donor agencies and the private sector, and the talks are open to the public and attended by interested individuals and professionals.

H.E Jeroen Verheul , Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Tanzania today paid a courtsey call on Policy Forum to familiarise with the work of the network and to learn more about Civil Society advocacy efforts in Tanzania.

On the right is PF Coordinator Semkae Kilonzo , H.E Jeroen Verheul (Middle) and on the left is Neema Matafu, Embassy of Netherlands Policy Officer for Public Administration and Economic Policies.


            People living in extreme poverty hesitate to pay taxes for their development because they think that the government fails to fulfil its responsibility of solving their development challenges. The challenges include poor infrastructure, lack of medical care in the village dispensaries, poor education system and lack of clean water. That is said today in Dodoma by Hon. Mendrad Kigola (MP) during the follow-up meeting of the stop the bleeding campaign coordinated by Policy Forum (PF) in collaboration with Tanzania Tax Justice Coalition (TTJC).

Stop the bleeding campaign was launched in 2016 in Dodoma with the aim of calling for informed actions and political will by the government to put in place interventions that will reduce and eventually stop all acts that contribute to loss of resources from our country.

A number of studies indicate that African countries including Tanzania lose significant amount of revenues every year as a result of harmful tax incentives, illicit financial flows and secrecy in contracts. Some of these studies include;

  • Tax competition in East Africa: A Race to the Bottom?
  • Double Taxation Agreements: Gain or loss to Tanzania?
  • Still Racing towards the Bottom? Corporate tax incentives in East Africa;
  • High Level Panel Report on Illicit Financial Flows commonly known as the Mbeki Report;
  • Reports by Controller and Auditor General and
  • The One Billion Dollar Question

The campaign had the key recommendations to the government which include:

Provision of tax incentives only on the basis of a thorough cost-benefit analysis, including an assessment of the impact on poor people and vulnerable groups. The government should ensure that corporate tax incentives are audited to check that the investment for which an incentive is offered has actually been carried out. Tanzania Revenue Authority capacity should be strengthened to collect taxes through providing financial resources and technical capacity. The government should invest more in other measures such as enabling environments and political stability to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) than giving unnecessary incentives. The government should end harmful tax treaties that limit the ability for Tanzania to raise revenue to fund quality public service delivery.

Presenting achievements made by the government and legislators since 2016, Nicholas Lekule (PF’s Budget and Policy Analyst) said that “Informed discussion in the Parliament on tax incentives including the powers to grant incentives has increased and more MPs are now familiar and conversant with the agenda”. There is also a positive move by the government and decision makers to call for contract transparency in the extractive industries as well as enactment and review of laws governing extractive investments.

Contributing in the discussion Hon. Amb. Adadi Rajabu (MP) advised the government to effectively train officials who are responsible for negotiating extractive contacts because the multination companies know how to avoid paying taxes.

Members agreed that a summary of what has transpired in the meeting should be recorded by Policy Forum and submitted to Hon. Job Ndugai Speaker of the National Assembly.







HakiRasilimali Calls for the Preservation of Civil Society Space in Natural Resource Governance in Tanzania

Dodoma, 26 October 2017

HakiRasilimali - Publish What You Pay Tanzania, a platform of civil society organizations working on extractives advocacy in Tanzania, has called on stakeholders to acknowledge, appreciate the role of civil society and preserve its space in the natural resource governance in Tanzania.

The call was made ahead of a national conference on mining, oil and natural gas sector in Tanzania aimed at "collaborative reflection on how this sector can effectively contribute to sustainable development in the country" to be held in Dodoma this week.

“The conference will be held on 2 and 3 November 2017 in Dodoma, bringing together stakeholders from all spheres of society within and outside Tanzania, with a view to discuss, learn and share experiences with policy makers, regulators, civic groups on opportunities for collective approaches towards harnessing the potential of the extractive sector to contribute meaningfully to growth and inclusive socio-economic development,” said Donald Kasongi, the Chairman of HakiRasilimali - Publish What You Pay Tanzania.

The conference comes against a backdrop of currently broadening debate on policies, laws and regulations that aim to ensure upholding sovereign management of natural resources in Tanzania.

“We congratulate the efforts through the President of Tanzania, Dr. John Magufuli for demonstrating exceptionally high levels of patriotism in promoting models that will ensure that the sector can play its full part in building a predictably prosperous and resilient economy in which human development outcomes are central,” Kasongi said adding that “this has been demonstrated through the recent negotiations between the government and corporate entities with mining stakes in the country.  The dialogue leading to ensuring that the best scenario for Tanzania’s interests in the resources are secured while at the same time maintaining competitiveness and commitment to creating an investment climate that allows well intentioned investors to continue operating in the country.”

On his part, Bishop Munga of the Interfaith Standing Committee on Economic Justice and the Integrity of Creation said they hope that the rigour in management of the extractive commodities will be broadened to include wider stakeholder groups in public, private and civic sectors.

“It is therefore critical to ensure that governance of the sector is effectively guided by collaborative tools. This collaboration is always achieved with active participation of civil society at local, sub national and national level consultations,” Bishop Munga said.

The platform has also called for the disclosure of all contracts between companies, governments and beneficial owners in the sector and awareness raising campaigns to be provided to all Tanzanians in order to allow productive analysis on these contracts and eliminate "unconsciousness” on the agreement terms.

Moreover, HakiRasilimali has also urged for extractive sector operations that are fully compliant with both national and international social and environmental safeguards to avoid human rights violations and environmental degradation. Also counseled was the importance of expanding dialogue and responsiveness to emerging gender issues in the extractive industries in Tanzania.

Note to Editors:

(HakiRasilimali Members are Action for Democracy and Local Governance, Governance Links, Governance and Economic Policy Centre, ONGEA, HakiMadini, Policy Forum, and Tanganyika Law Society),

Partners:  Interfaith Standing committee

For further information or to request interviews please contact:

HAKIRASILIMALI - Racheal Chagonja +255 745 655 655


The Policy Forum monthly breakfast debate on September 29th, 2017 dedicated to discussing the Concealed Opportunities of the Informal sector in Tanzania. The debate entitled The Power of Tanzania’s Informal Economy: Unveiling the Concealed Opportunities”, was presented by William Madiwa from Tanzania Trade and Economic Justice (TTEJF).

According to Madiwa, the reality of the informal economy cannot be denied. The formal sector has the characteristics of difficult entry, frequent reliance on overseas resources, corporate ownership, and large scale operation, capital-intensive and formally acquired skills, often expatriate meanwhile the  Informal  sector  is characterized by  reliance  of indigenous  resources where  by  individuals  who  are  engaged  in it do  not  need  to  have  a formal education, or a proper certification to conduct their activities.

He furthered the discussion by stating that Informal sector plays an important role in reducing urban unemployment, crime and violence, and serving as a breeding ground for new entrepreneurs which also contributes to poverty reduction as its roots go deep into household economic especially the rural population.

Illuminating that the key to policy making towards informality is twofold, Madiwa recommended the following:

First, to specify more basic objectives, such as efficiency and equity (fair and impartial), which transcend informality and its persistence in itself is neither good nor bad.

Second, to disaggregate informality into policy-relevant categories, rather than take it as an undifferentiated lump and then gauge policies by their impact on its magnitude. Reducing the costs of transaction for paying taxes as with the use of a simple presumptive tax- will help incentivize small informal business become formal but it might not be enough. Improving the livelihoods of the working poor in the informal economy, particularly women, by increasing their access to productive resources and services as well as legal and social protection and by enhancing their voice and representation. Several levels of intervention and different entry points need to be taken up simultaneously for a system-wide change to be effective.

Prof. of Economics and Business at Mzumbe University Honest Ngowi said that it is wrong to say or think that informal sector does not contribute to tax revenues.  According  to  the  Integrated  Labour  Force  Survey,  2006  (ILFS)  the informal  sector  was  the  second  main  employing  sector  after  agriculture  by  employing  10.1 percent  of  the  employed  persons,  followed  by  other  private  sectors  with  8.6  percent,  where agriculture  employed  75.1  percent.   Hereafter, The Integrated Labour Survey report 2014 indicates that jobs from both the formal and informal sectors increased from 16.6 million in 2006 to 20 million in 2014 which eventually is notable that the informal sector employment is more than doubled from 1.6 million to 4.3 million (2006 - 2014).

Prof. Ngowi emphasized that the informal sector is here to stay, for it has been around since time immemorial. It is not a Tanzanian or African phenomenon but worldwide and debates are ongoing on whether or not the sector should be formalized.

It has been revealed that the sustainability of social accountability monitoring (SAM) as a tool and an approach would depend on how it is successfully entrenched within Tanzanian communities with gradual reduction of dependency on donor resources as an exit strategy. If SAM continued to be donor-driven, it would one day collapse, stakeholders at a recent learning event were told.

Speaking in Mwanza at a two day zonal reflection meeting that brought together participants from the Lake and northern zones organised by Policy Forum, Representative of the Shinyanga Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS), Burton Mwakanyamale said: “In order for the SAM programme to be sustainable even after donors have pulled out, the government needs to put some resources in it because it is has enormous potential as a monitoring and evaluation opportunity for local government not shy of assessing its work,” he urged.

He further elaborated: “These efforts by such nonprofit institutions should be consolidated as much as possible and be owned locally by communities. I am sure they will give huge support to the citizens much as they are being supported by others.”

He warned, however, that without good relations and communications between these nongovernmental organizations, the citizens and the respective local authorities they were working with, they could be no tangible development to the citizenry.

For his part, Director of a Mwanza based Community Active in Development Association (CADA), Mr. Peter Matonyi concurred with Mwakanyamale by saying that it was very important for Policy Forum and other civil society organizations and NGOs to work collaboratively with government organizations and institutions, and local and international organizations so as to bring development to community.

But he said that in order that relation to work out, all these organizations in general needed to be transparent on all their financial matters as a way of creating trust and integrity to the community they working with.

Mr Matonyi commended Policy Forum and SAM for being educative and informative to citizens at the grassroots on policy, financial matters and on how they can know their rights when implementing the different development projects directed to them.

“Currently communities where SAM operates know their responsibilities and also know how to oversee them. Likewise, people now know the importance of participating in development activities, and meetings voluntarily,” he said.

He further said that through SAM, the community has been able to know the financial disbursement from the Treasury to the lower level meant to implement the intended projects in their areas.

“It is the responsibility of the community to bring to account the unfaithful and irresponsible leaders who halt developments in their areas hrough abuse and misuse of public resources,” he urged.

In his opening speech Policy Forum Coordinator, Semkae Kilonzo, said that the main objectives of the zonal learning session among mothers were: to document the lessons learned, challenges as well as results of the previous SAM exercises; the promotion organizational learning by engaging with the civil society and government officials at the local level in policy, to have insights of what worked and not worked as far as social accountability and other advocacy initiatives were concerned and also use the shared experience at the ground level to inform engagements related to policy processes at the national level.

Kilonzo further noted that the meeting had also intended among other things to focus on capturing and reflecting on the most important lessons as far as the SAM practice in the country was concerned for the purpose of using them to advance their work.

By Daniel Semberya, Mwanza