Latest News

A call has been made to the government to meet the demands of free education including capitation grant, financing infrastructures, school feeding porridge program and compensation of school fee secondary education inorder to achieve a balanced budget in the education sector 2016/2017. In addition for this to occur there would also need to be an increase to 30%-40% of development budget for the education sector budget and a perfect match between allocation and actual expenditure in development budget.

This was said by Mr. Godfrey Boniventura, Research and Policy Analysis Manager from HakiElimu on the 29th of April 2016 at the Policy Forum monthly breakfast debate titled “Achieving a balanced budget in health and education Expectations, Challenges and Opportunity” at the British Council.

Centering on the health sector budget, Mr. James Mlali discussed the importance of harnessing the demographic dividend towards a middle income economy. As Tanzania already faces a number of challenges including meeting needs for universal access to health services, education, sanitation and power, there needs to be consideration of how rapid population growth will affect the implementation of all new national strategies, an investment in high job creating sectors and the allocation of sufficient funds for family planning services.

Both Mr. Mlali and Mr. Edward Mbanga (the discussant of the event) mentioned that though the percentage allocated to health sector has improved, it has not yet reached the 15% stated by the Abuja declaration pact. However, Mr. Mbanga seemed optimistic that they are headed in this direction and that health infrastructure will be given priority.Dr. Wilson Kitinya on the other hand stressed that it is important to focus and differentiate between need and allocation as well as allocation and disbursement. He also brought attention to the issue of development vs training in the health sector and called for government to re-consider donor dependency.

Attendees called for the broadening of the definition of health, a focus on how money is spent and allocated, formalizing other sectors, enhanced revenue collection to finance budget and  a shift of priorities of the nation so as to achieve a balanced budget.

The Policy Forum Secretariat is deeply saddened to announce the untimely death of Alex Modest Ruchyahinduru, our Communication and Advocacy manager, passed away at the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam in the early morning of the 1st of May, 2016. Some of you will have heard of the news of his hospitalisation following a craniotomy (brain surgery) during the Easter weekend a month ago. Alex joined Policy Forum in March 2009.

We are in contact with his family about arrangements for a memorial and burial service and will inform you in due course so that those who may wish can attend. For those with condolence messages, please send by email to info@policyforum.or.tz and we will forward them to the family.

Alex is  survived by his wife and two daughters.

We have loved him in life, let us not forget him after death.

Tanzanian members of parliament have been urged to press the executive for more investments in the education and health sectors in order to meet its commitments to provide free education and affordable, equitable access to health services for all.

The call was made by Policy Forum member organisations SIKIKA and HakiElimu during a training session for MPs of the African Parliamentary Network against Corruption (APNAC) - Tanzania Chapter and youth and women parliamentarians in Dodoma held on the 23rd and 24th of April, 2016.

Organised by Policy Forum, in collaboration with the International Republican Institute (IRI), the session aimed at orienting parliamentarians on the budget process, providing them with the baseline knowledge to effectively oversee the executive’s management of public money and equipping them with tools to undertake analysis to support their parliamentary debates with support from CSOs.

On issues of health, Dr. Wilson Kitinya of SIKIKA urged the government to ensure that the Community Health Fund (CHF) is improved as a viable option and mechanism for financing health in Tanzania and depending less on donor contributions.

Dr. Kitinya told MPs that CHF involves communities paying monetary contributions for health care and risk pooling with government funds but individuals, if they are deemed vulnerable or poor, can be exempted.

Dr. Kitinya, however, expressed that currently the government is struggling to meet the targeted resource allocation of at least 15% of their national budget to the health sector in accordance with the Abuja Declaration and Framework for Action and donor funds were no longer as predictable in the past.

The education sector has also not seen adequate investments and the challenge has been made more complicated with a recent government pledge, through the issuance of the ‘Education Circular No. 5 of 2015’, to bankroll free education from primary to secondary school level.

Mwemezi Makumba, Programme Officer in the Research and Policy Analysis unit at HakiElimu, said the government will have to allocate not less than Tsh. 715.5 billion in the 2016/17 budget in order to cover the cost of free education, and bases this figure on the data available on the number of students, schools and requirements such as meals and infrastructure improvements.

“The government should consider costs for food (particularly porridge) at least for children in pre-schools for whom it is necessary to have a meal in schools, and to meet the cost of improvement and construction of infrastructures needed for the year, which was contributed by parents” he said adding: “We hope that the education sector’s budget for the financial year 2016/17 will increase to cover the gap created after removal of parental contributions.”

HakiElimu and SIKIKA are both member organisations participating in Policy Forum’s Budget Working Group (BWG). The former strives for an open, just and democratic Tanzania where all children enjoy the right to education that promotes equity, creativity and critical thinking and the latter works towards improved health outcomes namely healthcare governance and financing, human resources for health and medicines and medical supplies.

 

IRI works with newly-elected and appointed women and youth parliamentarians to enhance their knowledge and access to tools and networks to enable them to fulfil their representative, oversight and legislative duties and responsibilities.

Today the National Assembly starts discussing the National Budget for the Financial Year 2016/17 and this will be the first session under the new administration of President John Magufuli. It is also the first year of the Second Five Year Development Plan (FYDP II) 2016/17 – 2020/21. As a base year, we the members of the Policy Forum Budget Working Group would like to contribute to this key process by sharing our views on the performance of the previous budget and our expectations in the forthcoming budget.

The 2016/17 national budget aims to implement the 2015 Ruling Party Election Manifesto of the Fifth Phase Government and the recently adopted United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The central theme of the budget as per the budget guidelines is to nurture an industrial economy which if well implemented, can contribute to reducing unemployment and thereby lead to improved livelihoods and economic growth.

In spite of these noble goals, there are budgetary challenges that include inadequate revenue collection and delays in, and sometimes non-disbursement of, approved funds. These result in underperformance in the execution of various development projects. For example, looking at the revenue trends from July 2015 to February 2016, it is apparent that donor funding is becoming more unpredictable. For this period, collection of domestic resources stood at 97% whereas contribution by donors stood at Tsh. 1.017 trillion (62.5%) of the committed Tsh. 1.6 Trillion. In recognition of the efforts by the current regime to mobilise more domestic resources and emphasize on spending diligently, we put forward the following policy recommendations:   

Domestic Resource Mobilisation
The 2016/17 budget estimates as presented recently by the Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr. Philip Mpango differ significantly from budgets of previous years. Oftentimes, annual budgets have tended to differ slightly. The 2016/17 budget sees an increase of 23% from Tsh. 22.5 trillion in 2015/16 to Tsh. 29.5 trillion in 2016/17. This difference is quite noteworthy. Most interestingly, is the fact that this time round, we observe the development budget enjoying 40% of the total budget unlike the previous two financial years (2014/15 and 2015/16) that saw this category being allocated 32% and 26% of the total budget respectively. Figure 1 indicates this trend.
During the financial year 2016/17, the government intends to improve its revenue collection. Of the Tsh. 29.5 trillion, the government aims at collecting Tsh. 18.5 from its internal sources including collection from the local authorities. This represents 62.5% of the total budget. Revenue tax is expected to be Tsh. 15 trillion which is 82% of the total domestic revenue. Non tax revenue and revenue from the councils on the other hand are estimated to be Tsh. 2.7 trillion and 0.7 trillion respectively.
Figure 1 Budget trend 2014/15 to 2016/17


 
Tanzania’s vision of reducing donor dependency and external financial support by 80% as revealed by the Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa, is a welcome and positive development with regards to efforts to increase domestic resource mobilization. This remains, however, a mammoth task given that the government rid itself of corruption and misuse and abuse of public funds, scourges that have seen public services in the country deteriorate over the years. This calls for the government to continue strengthening its financial regulations and systems both within the Ministry of Finance (including the Bank of Tanzania) and the Tanzania Revenue Authority as well as other institutions acquiring and managing monies from levies and fees.

The increase in revenue collection by the Tanzania Revenue Authority between November 2015 and March 2016 has been very satisfactory and encouraging. This has set a new reference line by which to judge itself as far as the ability of the government to increase domestic resource mobilization through tax collection is concerned.
The Tanzania Revenue Authority hit a record high of revenue collection to total of Tsh. 1.4 trillion a month up from 850 billion shillings in December 2015. It is reassuring that TRA has maintained its collection rate above the Sh1 trillion mark as evidenced by the Tsh. 1.07 trillion and Tsh. 1.04 trillion that was collected in January and February respectively.
This determination by the government is well-recognized. The following recommendations, nonetheless, will buttress the efforts by the Government of Tanzania to collect more revenue:
i.    Full implementation of Tax Administration and VAT Acts: The two Acts if properly implemented will have impact on revenue collection, progressively creating opportunities for the government to widen its tax base and collect revenue through the reduction of tax exemptions and increasing tax compliance in business transactions. The legislations also provide for independent scrutiny of tax incentive decisions by parliament and the public through the publication of annual tax exemption reports.

ii.    Widening the tax base:

Widen the tax base instead of raising tax that will affect the low income earners by targeting Highly Wealthy Individuals (HWIs) and Multi-National Corporations benefiting from dubious tax preferences, and those evading tax through transfer mispricing, manipulating tax laws, not adhering to the arm’s length principle and corruption, all leading to base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS).

In the financial year 2016/2017 we aspire for the budget to reflect the following;

On Health
Several achievements have been registered in the health sector for the past years. In the last financial year, we have witnessed construction and renovation of referral hospitals. This includes the completion of a specialized hospital – Benjamin Mkapa Ultra Modern Hosptial in Dodoma. During the year 2016/17, the government intends to improve referral hospitals as well. There is allocation of Tsh. 5 billion to finance blood banks in Kigoma, Mwanza, Simiyu, Mara and Geita, renovation of health facilities in 5 new district hospitals, installing a digital radiation system in 2 referral hospitals and 7 regional hospitals. A total of Tsh. 4 billion is allocated to purchase medical supplies and constructing preventive system in Muhimbili National Hosp. Further to that, Tsh. 5 billion, Tsh. 3 billion, Tsh. 2 billion and Tsh. 876 million are allocated for purchasing medical supplies for Ocean Road Cancer Institute, Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute, Bugando and Kibong’oto hospitals respectively.

Despite these developments in the sector, the government has hardly reached the target set 15 years go by the Abuja Declaration which requires that governments allocate at least 15% of their national budgets to health. The current allocation is less than 10% and the FYDP II indicates this 15% share as its target in 2020. We call upon the government to rethink this and reinstate this commitment and invest further in the sector as it has a multiplier effect in other sectors.
 

On Agriculture
According to the Second Five Year Development Plan (FYDP II) 2016/17 – 2020/21, the agricultural sector employs about 70% of the population, contributing 28% of GDP, 30% of exports and 65% of inputs to the industrial sector. Until June 2014, agriculture growth stood at 3.4% far beyond the target set in MKUKUTA II and FYDP I which was 6% in 2015.
During the 2015/16 budget, some of the prioritized interventions included; Tsh. 7.1 billion has been allocated for strengthening irrigation infrastructure; Tsh. 7.2 billion has been allocated for construction of warehouse and markets in different areas; Tsh. 96.1 billion has been allocated for agricultural inputs and chemicals; and Tsh. 5.1 billion has been allocated for construction of 78 irrigation schemes. These allocations were meant to improve production and storage of the farm produce.
Amongst the achievements registered during the implementation 2015/16 budget includes the construction of 8 ware houses (4 in Mbarali, 2 in Iringa Rural and 2 in Kyela); also improvements in 30 irrigation schemes have contributed to increased rice production from 4.1 tonnes to 5 tonnes per hectare.
Despite the progress, as stakeholders we are still concerned over the meager budget that goes the agriculture sector. We call for the government to honor its commitment to allocate at least 10% of its budget to the agriculture sector as highlighted in the Maputo Declaration. With the current allocation of less than 10% government budget to the agriculture sector, we are worried that most of the set targets may not be realized.
 

On Education
Fee free basic education  
The new Education and Training Policy (ETP 2014) followed by the Education Circular No. 5 of 2015, gave order to abolish secondary education fees and any parent’s contribution to primary schools. The meaning of this order is that public schools from now will no longer depend on contributions and collection of school fees as sources of income to support schools to run themselves. By virtue of this statement the government has declared to cover all the costs of primary and secondary schools to facilitate learning and training.     

Despite the fact that prior to the order of fee free education and the termination of parental contributions, contributions towards education in public schools were done in cooperation with the government and parents, even then financial accessibility in schools was problematic. The situation of disbursing grants to schools was so poor that the government was able to disburse an average of Tsh. 4,000 to 5000 only out of Tsh. 10,000 for primary schools and between Tsh. 12,000 to 15,000 out of Tsh. 25,000 required for secondary schools.  The government also failed to disburse development funds to schools especially monies required for construction of infrastructures and repairs of classrooms, toilets, laboratories etc. These costs were compensated to a large extent by parental contributions and community participation. For this reason, for the government to be able to cover the cost of free education it must in its forthcoming budget plans and starting with the next year budget for financial year 2016/17 allocate funds to cover the following:   

The government should consider compensating monies spent on fees that was initially being contributed parents, the cost of food (porridge) at least for children in pre-schools for whom it is necessary to have a meal in schools, and to compensate for the cost of improvement and construction of infrastructures needed for the year. According to the analysis done by HakiElimu, considering the data on the number of students, schools and requirements, every year the government will have to allocate not less than Tsh.  852 billion aside apart from other sector needs in order to cover the cost of free education. We advise the government that it is of utmost importance to ensure that the mentioned amount is added to education sector budget for financial year 2016/17 in order to implement effectively its policy commitment regarding the provision of free education.

Education budget planning and allocation
There have been challenges for a long time in allocating expenses for the education sector. Most of the times, budget allocation to the sector has failed to achieve acceptable ratio between recurrent expenditure and development expenditure. During the past five years, the average of development budget for education sector has been between 11-16 percent only while that of recurrent expenditure was between 80-90 percent. The amount allocated for the development activities in education sector is very low compared to development challenges such as construction of classroom, teachers’ houses, dormitories, toilets and laboratories.

For instance, during financial year 2015/16, budget the whole education sector was Tsh. 3,887 billion however; development budget for the education sector was Tsh. 604 billion only (16%) of the whole sector budget, whereas budget for recurrent expenditure was Tsh. 3,282 billion (84%) of the whole education sector budget.
Another weakness is that a large amount of funds claimed to be for development in the education sector are directed to cover the cost of loans for higher education students which are interest free.  For example, in the development budget for financial year 2015/16, about 50% of the funds (Tsh. 306 billion) were for loans for higher education.  Therefore the actual budget for development activities in the education sector was Tsh. 298 billion only.  The effect of planning for loan funds within the development budget includes phishing the actual budget, superficially the development budget may seem substantial and adequate but in reality it is only a small amount that does not meet the needs.  

We advise the government to take caution against this type of budget planning, since in reality funds allocated for development expenditure are much less than those for recurrent expenditure and in the end leading to non-implementation of many development projects in the education sector.
We urge the government to follow the guidelines for budget planning provided within the framework of Five Years Development Plan (2015 -2010) that require recurrent budget and development budget to have a ratio of 60 by 40 percent. It is our expectation that in the next year’s budget (2016/17) development budget of the education sector will rise and reach an average of 40 percent. This will facilitate implementation of government’s commitment to improve training and learning environment.

We also urge the government to shift funds for higher education student’s loans from development budget of education sector to the recurrent budget. This will help provide the real picture of the actual amount of development expenditure within the education sector.

Deficit Quality assurance budget to schools
One of the reasons that contribute to deterioration education quality in public schools is poor inspection and monitoring of public schools. According to Basic Education Statistics of Tanzania (BEST 2015) only 19.1 percent of primary schools and 21.4 percent of secondary schools are inspected per year. This implies that the government takes five years to inspect all public schools. In other words, each public school is inspected once after every five years.

The major reason for the above failure, according to schools inspectors, is lack of sufficient funds to guarantee inspection of all 16, 538 and 4,753 public primary and secondary schools respectively. Despite meager budget allocations for inspection, inspection funds have been used to cover expenses that are not directly related to actual inspection; such as salaries. For example, in the 2015/16 fiscal year budget a total of Tsh. 22.4 billion was allocated to inspection department whereas Tsh. 20.2 billion out of that sum was for wage bill. Therefore only Tsh. 2.2 billion was actually allocated to cover inspection costs such as fuel for vehicles, allowances for inspectors, vehicle maintenance, communications and capacity building programmes.    

We urge the government, through its ministries responsible for the education sector, to review the amount of budget allocated for public schools inspection. The government should take note that effective implementation of various education programmes in schools, including the free basic education programme, depends on the effectiveness of inspection and monitoring of schools every year. It is important that in the coming fiscal year (2016/17) the government should allocate special and adequate funds to warrant inspection of at least 80% of education institutions due for inspection.

2016/17 education budget estimates
On account of the above reasons, it is our hope that the education sector’s budget for the financial year 2016/17 will be increased. If the government is to cover the costs of educational delivery without payment of fees or parental contributions, allocation of the budget for inspection, and increase the development budget, it will be essential to increase the budget allocation for the education sector. Tanzania’s current investment in the education sector ranges between 11% and 16% of the national budget.

In accordance with the Charter for Education for All (EFA 2000) through the Dakar Framework for Action, countries should allocate at least 6% of their respective GDPs for education, or as has been acknowledged in many parts of the world, countries should allocate at least 20% of their national budget to education sector. Therefore, in accordance with the EFA goals and procedure agreed upon internationally, Tanzania is yet to invest enough in education. This is not only violation of the EFA goals which Tanzania signed but also does not match with the challenges that have in reality hindered the provision of quality education in the country for many years.

On Gender
In the recent years, there have been deliberate efforts by the government to integrate gender into its various plans and policies including the national budget. The inclusion of budget lines that address the marginalized groups in the society serve as evidence that some gender aspects are being considered while preparing the budget. There are today budget lines that address groups like pregnant women, children and the disabled.

The budget guidelines urge all public entities to make budgetary allocations for implementation of priorities for cross cutting interventions, including gender issues, and construction of user friendly infrastructure for physically challenged people. In the 2016/17 budget, the government commits to continue supporting economic empowerment initiatives through Economic Empowerment Fund, Youth Development Fund and Women Development Fund.

The intention by the government to allocate Tsh. 50 million for every village in order to support employment and economic empowerment at community level is a good initiative. It is however a challenge on the part of the village governments on how they make use of these funds to help empowering their people. These funds could for example be used as loans to small groups at the village level that for years have been finding it difficult to access loans from our financial institutions.

As stakeholders we trust that the budgetary estimates for 2016/17 if well executed will contribute significantly to improve the lives of the local community as well as the lives of youth. The move to allocate Tsh. 6 billion to improve small industries in Dar es Salaam, Mbeya, Morogoro and Mwanza will surely create room for employment to a number of the youth population.

The allocation of Tsh. 250 million to fund Mkongo – Rufiji Youth Camp indicates government’s willingness to help out the youth with employment opportunities. Under this programme, the funds will be used to prepare a 220 acre land, building irrigation schemes and training to youth on entrepreneurship. If this is well implemented, it can help in raising the economy of the youth population as well as that of the nation.

Conclusion
The initiatives by the current administration of mobilizing more and more domestic resources need to be appreciated. Given the funding terrain today, it is becoming apparent that the only way that the government can surely be able to implement its different programs is through raising its own resources. Revenue collection trend in the last few months shows green light that it is possible to get adequate resources from within.
It is also recommended that once resources are in place, the government should use them diligently so as to ensure efficiency. Timely disbursement and proper use of funds can guarantee some quick wins in our various development programmes.

Policy Forum, in collaboration with the International Republican Institute (IRI) organized a training for members of the African Parliamentary Network against Corruption (APNAC) Tanzania Chapter on social accountability monitoring and budget analysis techniques on Thursday 7th April 2016.

Opening the session, Ms. Nora Pendaeli, the IRI Program Officer, said that the initiative is part of the organisation’s Parliamentarian Development Program (PDP), a program with three focus areas namely mentorship, capacity building and constituent outreach to youth and women parliamentarians. The programme comes at an opportune time as more than 70% of the current MPs are new following last year’s general election hence these skills will enable them to discharge their responsibilities as representatives of the people and overseers of the executive.

Prisca Kowa, Program Officer for Capacity Enhancement at Policy Forum presented on Social Accountability Monitoring processes, drawing on Policy Forum’s experiences in communities and explained why MPs are important to strengthening accountability.

“As parliamentary oversight, you have a crucial role in monitoring and holding to account the executive arm of government on issues of public resources and the implementation of an effective accountability system,” she said.

On lessons learnt, Ms. Kowa highlighted that Social Accountability Monitoring has acted as an empowering tool for both citizens and LGAs and mentioned that going forward collective participation is important for accountability and transparency.

Mr. Nicholas Lekule the second presenter for the day provided an overview of budget analysis techniques including an illustration of gender budgeting. Some of the vital reasons to analyze budget he said is that policy treatment within the budget is a good indicator of actual Government commitments to implement that policy and analysis is also key way of holding the Government to account.

He mentioned that despite the gender disparities, some developments have been realized in considering the aspect of gender in the budget. It is until the government understands clearly the different needs of the population that it can allocate resources equitably and enable everyone to enjoy public services.

Key issues and concerns raised from the members of APNAC included the importance of civic education that could increase capacity of citizens to follow up on issues within communities, politicians intruding on the work of local council members, a huge gap in understanding gender by citizens and the need for PF to reach out more councils and follow up on public money.

It was recommended by one of the MPs that PF and IRI think of regular sessions with the MPs as they start the budget discussion in Dodoma. This will help them to engage more proactively with the discussions.

PF and IRI indicated its willingness to keep engaging with the MPs as they believe that their oversight role will eventually be improved. For this to happen smoothly, CSOs urge for access to key budget documents that are central in doing budget analysis.

Local Government Authorities (LGA) leaders have been urged to fight corruption in all its forms and work towards maximum revenue collection in their areas for the benefit of Tanzanian citizens. The call was made by the Honorable Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa during his speech at the Association of Local Authorities of Tanzania’ (ALAT) Annual General Meeting held at Dodoma on 7-9th April 2016.

He said LGAs that will fail to collect 80% of the revenues are in danger of being revoked, and therefore urged LGA leaders to eliminate all bottlenecks that hinder revenue collection and ordered for every district to have land planning programmes so as to deter land conflicts.

“Citizens have to be trained on appropriate farming techniques so that our farm produce can be marketable outside Tanzania. LGAs should work with financial institutions such as NMB, TIB and TIC so as to advance projects in their areas and increase the efficiency of revenue collection,” he said.

He also stressed that the government is ready to support all these efforts that will increase revenue collection. For instance, he said the government is currently in the process of amending its laws so that they aim for maximum revenue collection and has embarked on a plan to put friendly environment or conditions favorable to investors.

In responding to a request that was made by the Chairperson of ALAT, Gulam Mdakam, to decentralize the employment autonomy to districts so that they can also be able to hire and fire, he said that some of the districts have already been given mandate to employ.

The Managing Director of NMB, Ineke Bussemaker, said that NMB has recently introduced a project aiming to increase revenue collection and that the project was piloted in Arusha which saw the district double the amount of revenue collected.

The Deputy Minister of PMORALG-Suleiman Jaffo called on LGA leaders to set a good example in their districts and properly manage public resources so that they benefit the citizens in their locales and emphasized that they should conduct performance appraisals to officials so as to void themselves of the belief that districts will continue to be run in a business as usual (BAU) manner.

At the end of the event a representative from ALAT read the resolution of the AGM before the Deputy Minister of PMORALG, one of the resolution being that ALAT should engage with Policy Forum so as to advocate for impactful policies related to local governance.

Read More

Association of Local Authorities of Tanzania’ (ALAT)

 

 

The government is determined to put in place robust strategies that will help promote community engagement in all sectors of the Tanzanian economy, the country's National Economic and Empowerment Council (NEEC) said last week.

Speaking at a meeting with Policy Forum members, Neema Lugakingira, the Acting Director of Local Content and Investments at NEEC said that in order to promote efficiency, the government has moved its local content enhancement work to the Prime Minister's Office.

"Due to it being a cross-cutting issue in all government sectors, it was moved from the ministry of energy and minerals and this office came into force in November 2015."

"The government has currently established that all ministries should have local content desk officers, the target is to have 40 desk officers at the ministerial level,186 desk officers in the Regions and Districts and 60 in government agencies.The contacts of these desk officers will be made public so that citizens can have access to local content information," she said.

She added that different stakeholders such as the media, civil society organizations, government agencies, MDAs etc will be involved in the process whereby they will be capacitated on local content.

She added, moreover, that the government will soon launch a Local Content Information Portal in order for citizens to have access to information. She welcomed CSOs to see where best they can work together with the council in the sector.

More:

Local content in Tanzania in the advent of gas discoveries

Local Content: enhancing the subnational benefits of oil and gas sector

 

Policy Forum elected its new Board of Directors during its 2016 Annual General Meeting held in Dar es Salaam on the 18th of March. The outgoing board members are Nancy Kaizilege-United Nations Association Tanzania (UNA-Tanzania), Ibrahim Kabole/Mwaikinda -WaterAid Tanzania, Paul Daniels - Care International, Jimmy Luhende-Action for Democracy and Local Governance (ADLG) who retired during this AGM leaving behind Donati Senzia-PELUM, Charles Meshack-Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) and Dr. Aichi Joseph Kitalyi-Chama cha Wanawake Viongozi katika Kilimo, Mazingira na Maliasili (TAWLAE) to stay on for another year so that there is a balance between replacement and continuity on the Board.

In their parting speech they thanked PF members for giving them the opportunity to serve on the Board and for their cooperation during his tenure and wished the new Board of Directors all the best in carrying on the good work of the network and leading the Secretariat. Hence, the new line up is as follows:

New Board Members

1. Josephat Mshigati-ActionAid-Tanzania

2. Hebron Mwakagenda-Leadership Forum

3. Nemence Iriya/Asia Lembariti-Manyara Region Civil Society Organizations Network (MACSNET)

4. Masud Hossain- KEPA

Board Members staying on for another year

5. Donati Senzia-PELUM

6. Charles Meshack-Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG)

7. Dr. Aichi Joseph Kitalyi-Chama cha Wanawake Viongozi katika Kilimo, Mazingira na Maliasili (TAWLAE)

Prior to the October 25th 2015 general elections, civil society organizations under the Policy Forum Budget Working Group prepared and presented what was termed “Our KEY ASKS to the Next Government” for the consideration of different political parties that were taking party in the polls.  The document contains a number of critical issues that required the attention of the government.    
Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) won the elections to form the government which is headed by President John Pombe Magufuli and CSOs therefore hope that the issues they raised then will be addressed by the fifth regime which has recently marked its 100 days in power. Based on what we have observed during this short but momentous period, we present our reflections and assessment on how well the new government is addressing the issues that are of concern to us:  

1. On Domestic Resource Mobilization

For many years, CSOs have had concerns over how the government can improve its fiscal policies so as to combat losses of tax through systemic tax evasion, tax avoidance and illicit outflows that are draining domestic resources. The new government under President Magufuli has shown interest to review fiscal policies. Since 2015 the government has reduced tax exemptions extended to mining companies from 17.6% to 9% of all tax relief granted to mining investments. The government through the Minister of Finance and Planning gave a statement in the Parliament that the focus of the government now will be to improve business and investment climate to attract investors as opposed to granting tax incentives. Towards the end of last year, the government through the Ministry of Finance and Planning extended invitation to stakeholders including CSOs to provide inputs that may help in the proceedings of the task force on tax reform, in preparation for the 2016/17 budget. The initiative by the new government indicates not only its willingness to improve fiscal policies and thereby increase domestic resource mobilization, but to also open up this process by involving non-state actors.

In order to improve efficiency, transparency and accountability in tax collection, as well as to curb tax evasion and avoidance, practical measures and actions have been taken which include restructuring at the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA)  and the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) that saw more than 200 clearing and forwarding companies being disqualified for failure to show up their tax clearance receipts and in the past three months, TRA effectively collecting over and above 100% of estimated tax revenue collections.

Other steps have included outright termination of services of senior TRA officers including the Commissioner General, other officers being charged in court over abuse of office and causing losses of government revenues and over 100 TRA officers being relocated from Dar es Salaam to other regional offices.

Furthermore, to ensure that the government spends tax revenues expediently, we have seen measures taken to reduce unnecessary expenditures for example; the government issued a guideline on foreign travels for all government officials. A travel permit has to be sought from the state house and the trip should not only be relevant but it must be proved necessary and cost effective. It is estimated that over 4 billion shillings have been saved monthly since the announcement.

It is recommended, however, that the government works to progressively build strong institutions and systems with strict and enforceable rules and regulations for sustained actions on tax revenue collections.

 2. On Health

The health sector has seen tremendous improvements in the first 100 days of the current regime. It is indeed one of the sectors that have received most attention with numerous spot checks by the President and responsible Ministers on key health facilities. The reported intent for the visits was to address the rampant inefficiencies in the system – from equipment to patient management. The visits also appeared to push for accountability among public health providers. This has ensured improved efficiency in service delivery.

There have not been any explicit actions, however, that have indicated direction or priority of the government on health financing, commodities and human resources for health. With the Government’s efforts to curb public spending and increase revenue collection, it is uncertain how much of a priority the sector will be in the 2016/17 FY disbursements. Focus currently appears to be on infrastructural items as opposed to systems, curative and treatment programs, the human resource shortage and accessibility among others.

CSOs have as well looked at the proposed Five Year Development Plan (5YDP) on fostering an industrial economy. The focus under this sector is on MNCH (mothers, newborns and children’s health), human resource and infrastructure, access to medicine and medicaments and insurance schemes. The one year plan discussed in parliament goes further to specify which facilities will get attention in the coming FY, but also reiterates the commitment on MNCH, medicine, human resource and retention packages. Financing, however, is not adequately analyzed and it is unclear how these plans would be resourced.

During the 11th inauguration of the Parliament 2015, the President ordered a decrease in the budget aimed for celebrations and re-directed Tshs. 201 million to buy hospital beds at Muhimbili National Hospital.  
A study on the availability of essential medicines, medical supplies and bed capacity conducted by Sikika in 2013 found that, there are critical bed shortages in public hospitals which led patients to either share beds or sleep on the floor. This situation is unacceptable and we, therefore, commend the President for improving the bed capacity in public hospitals.
CSOs would like to encourage the President to keep promoting the quality of health care services by strengthening the health sector’s budgets efficiency, transparency and accountability of the service providers.

 3. On Education
The year 2016 started on good note to parents whose children are in public schools in the country following the promise and directive by the new government on free education as stipulated in the 2014 education policy. There were complaints from citizens regarding the rising and high costs that parents incur as contributions towards their children’s education in public schools which traditionally have been considered as nominal.
Already the government has clearly made it public that free education has to be provided in public schools starting from this year. In cases where this directive has not been adhered to, we have heard of disciplinary measures by the government. With the increased revenue collection and appropriate allocation of the same, we believe that the commitment by the government to provide free education will be successful.
Our plea to this government is to invest more in the education sector with focus on the development budget starting from the financial year 2016/17. It is by looking at the 2016/17 budget allocation that one can truly see government’s real intention to provide free education as well as to improve the performance of the sector. We need to see at least 30% of the education sector budget being directed to development expenditure from the current 15%. The proposed allocations are meant to help eliminate the current infrastructural challenges and thereby contribute to an improved learning environment.
Further to that, we urge the new government to ensure that the Teachers' Service Commission is in place following its approval by the National Assembly in 2015. It is therefore high time that the government fulfills this requirement as its presence will help in addressing some of the challenges facing teachers in the country.

 4. On Land Rights and Forest Conservation
The new government under President Magufuli has been able to resolve some of the land conflicts and return back land to communities. Examples include Kapunga and Vilima Vitatu in Mbarali and Babati districts, respectively.
There is still a need, however, for the government to change its approach especially when dealing with conflicts between farmers and pastoralists; a need for looking at the broad systemic issues as opposed to a narrow perspective so as to ensure permanent solutions. Land reforms and structure are well in place but more efforts are needed on law enforcement and accountability in land administration and budget allocation for Land Use planning (LUP).   
In this short period under review, we have noted that nothing has been done to show commitment to women’s right to land. There are policies on land and land administration but nothing tangible has been addressed that shows this government’s commitment to women issues especially related to land. The government in its first 100 days has been able to resolve the Kapunga conflict in Mbarali but we are not sure if there are any directives as to how this land will be distributed and if women will be given preference.

    5. On Agriculture
The government has strategically called upon all leaders at all levels to sensitize and mobilize community engagement in agriculture –but clear lines strategically aiming at facilitating rural community and women to engage profitably have not been seen in agriculture neither have we observed government perseverance that is centered on delivery of loans with affordable interest rates to the poor and marginalized.

Moreover, we have not observed effective initiatives and commitments that are focused on the inclusiveness of the poor women and other marginalized groups and neither have we seen insistence on promoting equity agribusiness on land-based investments including awareness creation to empower smallholder farmers and pastoralists on demand shared value.
We acknowledge, however, the President’s tone on agriculture that has mostly been pro-poor but urge the government to ensure that the budget in this sector achieves the target in the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security of 2003 of allocating at least 10% of the entire national budget towards agriculture.

Conclusion
It is evident that the new government under President Magufuli has shown political will on both the need to increase revenue collection and ensure discipline in the use of public resources, as it is well-known that public service delivery can hardly be improved when emphasis is merely on increased resources without mechanisms in place to guarantee accountability. The first 100 days in power by the new regime has largely shown that it is possible to collect significant domestic resources that can be used to improve lives of the citizens. Good farming practices are only possible when there are appropriate supplies; and the people are healthy with the required skills to undertake modern agriculture on dispute free pieces of land.

Policy Forum Breakfast Debate

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.

Speaking the during the Policy Forum breakfast debate entitled: "Ending Poverty by Year 2030: The prospects and challenges" held on the 26th of February 2016, in Dar es Salaam, Dr. Bitrina Diyamett of the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Research Organization (STIPRO) said that to enhance the employment potential of Tanzania to include its poorest, the industrial and agricultural sectors will be crucial, both requiring improvements of the current national research and innovation systems.

“We need to see increased agricultural productivity, while at the same time opening avenues for the non-farm activities in the rural areas, especially in agro-processing while enhancing the marketing of agricultural products and encouraging mineral processing to provide incentives for value addition to minerals rather than raw export and technology and innovation in these are critical,” she said.

Dr. Diyamett cautioned, however, that building innovation capabilities was challenging as it required coordinating policies of very diverse nature, effective governance, continuous follow up and evaluation of the performance of the system and specialised expertise, which the country to a large extent currently lacks.

The second presenter of the debate, Dr. Blandina Kilama of REPOA, an independent Tanzanian research institute, said that in order to end poverty in all its forms everywhere, required was the ability to observe progress or lack of thereof, and this meant that indicators that are traceable at the lowest administrative (personal) level were needed. This included the collection and utilisation of data being beneficial to both the collectors and compilers of the information e.g. Village Registers, Offices of DED, WEO, VEO and SEO.

“In curbing poverty, useful ways need to be thought out to capture everyone including children, women, youth, the vulnerable, time-use by all in the productive sector, while considering the environment and proper governance,” she said.

Dr. Kilama further urged the Statistics Act to enhance quick access to statistics for assessment of performance and ending poverty by 2030 requires frequent and accurate data to inform the progress and areas need attention.

She added that monitoring the SDGs successfully ultimately lies with resource mobilisation, specifically engaging more human and financial resources and encouraged innovations brought about with technologies to simplify and speed up data collection, analysis and reporting.

Pages