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Stakeholders have called upon the government to amend the Constituency Development Catalyst Fund (CDCF) Act of 2009 and to address the current governance deficits in its implementation.

This was said by Kenny Manara, a Researcher of REPOA, during the Policy Forum Breakfast debate held in April 2015 when presenting findings of a survey that was conducted by members of the Policy Forum Local Government Working Group (LGWG) in collaboration with REPOA in six constituencies.The study on the governance effectiveness of CDCF in Tanzania examined four indicators namely; Rule of law, accountability, participation and equity.

Manara said that the survey found that all the measures of governance indicators was less than 50% in its effectiveness in all the constituencies, hence asserting that the CDCF lacks merit and not worthwhile interms of governance criteria.

He recommended additional research with a larger and more representative sample before making firm conclusions on whether the implementation of CDCF sees governance gaps.

The discussant at the event, Mr. George Jeriko, Lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam was also of the view that a larger study should be conducted on the effectiveness of CDCF at the local level.

He lastly said that most of the issues of accountability as raised in the survey can be resolved if there was political will amongst actors concerned.

To read the CDCF report please click here

Hon. Saada Mkuya Salum

Minister of Finance

Republic of Tanzania

Dar es Salaam

Tanzania

SUBJECT: YOUR SUPPORT FOR INCREASED DOMESTIC RESOURCE MOBILISATION AND AN INTER-MINISTERIAL MEETING ON TAX AS PART OF THE 3RD FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE IN ADDIS ABABA, JULY 2015

We, the Tanzania Tax Justice Coalition are writing you in advance of the Development Committee meeting on Financing for Development to be held in Washington DC – USA on April 18th to seek your support in your role as current chair of the African Finance Ministerial to raising international taxation issues on the agenda at the 3rd Financing for Development Conference. We would particularly like to raise to your consideration the support for having international tax issues as part of the agenda of the Financing for Development (FfD) Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 12th to 16th of July 2015.

On February 1st 2015, Tanzania together with other Heads of State of African Union Member States committed to the recommendations presented in the Report by the High Level Panel (HLP) on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbeki. It is at this moment in time that this commitment has to be realised. One of the main messages of the report is that Illicit Financial Flows, including tax evasion and avoidance, are not only an African problem but are indeed a matter of global governance that calls for a wide range of actions. The upcoming FfD Conference provides an important opportunity for this. A crucial first step would be the establishment of an intergovernmental tax body.

Tax revenues are vital for financing development but countries lose billions of dollars from corporate tax dodging and unfair tax competition every year.The HLP report estimated that Sub-Saharan Africa loses more than 50 billion dollars annually (average of 2001-2012). This is more thanthe combined total of foreign direct investment (FDI) and net official development assistance (ODA), which these economies received in the same year.Global Financial Integrity has estimated, that Tanzania lost 2.5 billion euros in 2002-2011 only due to transfer mispricing by companies.

Therefore we are encouraging:

-       Tanzania to support the organisation of an inter-ministerial summit on tax and its inclusion in the FfD conference agenda, and will encourage fellow Development Committee members to do the same.

-       You (Minister of Finance) to personally attend the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa in Julyto give a strong political signal of Tanzania’s commitment to forge an international tax system that works for developing countries and that works in the public interest.

-       You (Minister of Finance) to raise into discussion especially the following issues that need international commitment:

o   End harmful tax incentives globally and regionally. Multinational companies are receiving tax exemptions and not paying their fair share of tax while citizens are bearing a disproportionate tax burden due to an over reliance on consumption taxes in revenue collection such as VAT and Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

o   End harmful tax treaties that limit the ability for Tanzania to raise the much needed revenue to fund quality public service delivery. Tax Treaties are intended to prevent multinational companies and individuals from paying tax in two countries, but instead exploitation by investors and treaties negotiated with poor terms for “source countries” are leading to Africa losing huge revenues.  

o   Increase the transparency of the international and national tax systems. In order to regulate, monitor and increase the accountability of tax systems, Multinational Companies should be obliged to disclose their financial accounts annually. Up to date information about national revenue income should be available to the public at relevant public authorities.

o   Establish an intergovernmental tax body that would be tasked with addressing global tax policy with the benefit of developing countries at its core, rather than the current Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) led process that does not even equally include all developing countries. Therefore we would like to encourage you to propose and support a declaration by AU Finance Ministers asking for the creation of such a body and push for support for it within the Financing for Development process.

We would appreciate the opportunity to meet you to discuss this issue, and in the meantime we remain available should you have any questions.

Yours sincerely,

Tanzania Tax Justice Coalition

Represented by:

 

Click here to view the PDF file

The government needs to come up with a resettlement policy that addresses the needs of people displaced due to investment initiatives established in the country. This was said by Dr. Tim Ndezi, Executive Director of Centre for Community Initiatives (CCI)during the Policy Forum breakfast debate held on 27th March 2015 at the British Council Auditorium when he was presenting findings of a survey they conducted in 27 households, CCI monitored Displaced Households in Three Districts of Dar es Salaam:Temeke, Ilala and Kinondoni.

He mentioned some of the findings of the survey as being:most people affected by involuntary displacement in the areas were not aware of the process and procedures followed by government on involuntary displacement, only 20% of them were aware that they were suppose to move out of the area after being compensated, there was no transparency in the process and there was no participation of people in planning for resettlement sites.

The other finding he mentioned is that, most of those interviewed complained about receiving compensation that was not enough to meet the costs of buying land and building material.

Among other things Dr. Ndezi recommended that the government should develop a resettlement policy to guide involuntary displacement and compensation, there should be participation of affected persons in all stages and a signed Memorandum of Understanding between the government and affected persons. Valuation and compensation should reflect the current market value and paid in time, it was also suggested.

Another presenter, Ibrahim Bakari, Junior Consultant, IDC Ltd said that, troubles in involuntary settlement can mean loss of livelihoods and markets, loss of residential houses, other structures and loss of access to natural resources.

Proff. Felician Komu, a discussant at the event from Ardhi University, commented that the government needs to come up with a more transparent system and policy that will deal with the issue of compensation.

He paused a question to the participants that during compensation where does the value rest? is it the land or the building?

When thinking of resettlement consider the importance of a decent home for these people and not just the structures, he concluded.

The Media Services Bill and Access to Information Bill that were withdrawn after media and human rights stakeholders urged the government not to table them in parliament under Certificate of Urgency. The two bills were tabled for First Reading meaning no discussion took place and the Speaker referred the bill to the relevant Standing Committee for consideration and public scrutiny. The bills can be accessed here:

http://www.policyforum-tz.org/sw/miswada-sheria-ya-vyombo-vya-habari-na-sheria-ya-upatikanaji-wa-habari

 

Towards the end of the year 2014, the Government of Tanzania prepared several Bills to be discussed by the National Assembly. Among these was the Budget Bill. Understanding the role of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the Parliamentary Budget Committee sought inputs from Policy Forum so as to improve on the proposed Bill.

The Budget Bill was shared among members of the Budget Working Group and several other organizations made their contribution. This was compiled together and sent to the Bunge Office in Dar es Salaam in February, 2015.

In March 2015, a call was received from the Clerk of the Parliamentary Budget Committee inviting Policy Forum to present the previously submitted inputs on the Bill before the members of the committee in Dodoma. The meeting between the Parliamentary Budget Committee and Policy Forum was held in Dodoma on Monday 23rd March 2015 at the Bunge office. This was chaired by Hon. Festus Limbu, the chair of the committee.

A presentation of the analysis made by Policy Forum was done before the committee members followed by discussion on the presentation. Among the key issues that were observed and presented to the committee included;

  • The need to interpret the National Development Plan, Planning Commission as well as the meaning of transparency and encouragement of public participation in the budget process. Under the management of the budget process, it was observed that the Budget Committee itself is not mentioned as one of the key players in the process. Given the critical role that this committee plays, it is important for their functions to be reflected in this Act. It was also emphasized for the Bill to clearly indicate the critical role of the National Assembly of holding the executive into account. Moreover, it was stressed that the Parliament should have the responsibility to influence the drafting of the budget more pro-actively as the budget preparation is not an event but a process.  
  • In addition to that, the presentation highlighted the long awaited promise by the government and the National Assembly to put in place a Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO).Learning from the benefits that this office has earned our neighbors in Kenya and Uganda, it is recommended that this Act takes into consideration its importance and have it accommodated. The Ugandan Budget Act clearly stipulates the roles of the budget committee as well as those of the Parliamentary Budget Office.

As a reaction to the presentation, the chair of the committee and other members commended Policy Forum for the inputs and reiterated the importance they see in engaging with CSOs. They also admitted that they had as well seen some of the weaknesses that we observed in the proposed Bill. They also underscored the importance of having in place a Parliamentary Budget Office since its establishment would as well help them in executing their duties.

Commenting during the presentation Honorable Joseph Selasini congratulated Policy Forum for giving out their views on the budget Bill. He said that it is important  for citizens  to  participate  in  the  budget  process and local council officials  should   encourage citizens  to participate  so as to have a responsive  budget. Also, when he was contributing on internal national debt and its increasing rate he said that it’s not a good sign for economic growth of the country. According to him, the Government should borrow money when it’s necessary for the development projects and not otherwise as well as monitoring   how the money is spent.

While concluding the discussion, the chairperson of the committee Hon Dr. Limbu thanked Policy Forum for its contribution to the committee; saying that it’s through Policy Forum and other networks the views of the citizens are represented, encouraging the spirit of collaboration with the Parliamentary Budget Committee to continue. 

Initial feedback on the Budget Bill which has been approved indicates that some of the proposed inputs have been accommodated in the Bill. One worth taking note of is in regard to the establishment of the Parliamentary Budget Office. This marks one the major achievements for Policy Forum because the struggle for this dates more than six years back when the discussion over the need for its establishment between started CSOs and the MPs.

For the Budget Act, 2014, please click on the link below:

http://www.policyforum-tz.org/sites/default/files/BudgetACT2014.pdf

 

 

There is now more negative public perception of Tanzania’s economic condition than a decade ago, a forum in Dar es Salaam was told today.

According to the Afrobarometer, an African-led, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance and economic conditions on over 30 African countries, people in Tanzania are dissatisfied with the current economic condition of their country despite the average economic growth rate of above 6% that Tanzania has enjoyed throughout the last decade.

Speaking at the launch entitled “Does economic growth improve social service provision in Tanzania?,” Dr. Lucas Katera of REPOA, the research organisation leading on the Afrobarometer exercise for Tanzania, said that poor government performance in the delivery of public services has contributed to public dissatisfaction as well as increased corruption and lack of financial transparency in government expenditures.

“7 out of 10 Tanzanians are unhappy with present economic and living conditions and perception on economic condition overtime shows that the situation has worsened with those saying economic condition is bad increased from 42% in 2003 to 67% in 2014,” he said.

Demonstrating how satisfaction deteriorated overtime, Dr. Katera said that for education, approval decreased from 76% in 2003 to 51% in 2014 and for health it decreased from 70% in 2003 to 46% in 2014.

Speaking on the relationship between perceived poor economic condition and poor government delivery of services, he said that findings show that 7 in 10 Tanzanians with opinions that government performs badly in water and education perceive that the current economic condition were bad.

Dr. Katera concluded by saying that for government to win its citizens’ confidence, it should concentrate on improving service delivery and address corruption.

“Increased perception of corruption and lack of openness in the government expenditure contribute significantly to dissatisfaction with economic condition,” he said.

The Afrobarometer team in Tanzania, led by REPOA, interviewed 2,386 adult Tanzanians in August-September 2014. A sample of this size yields results with a margin of error of +/-2% at a 95% confidence level.

Links: www.repoa.or.tz and www.afrobarometer.org

Stakeholders have urged the government in co-operation with other stakeholders to establish a legal framework for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices as to ensure its effective implementation and compliance for the benefit of both national and international interests.

Speaking at the Policy Forum breakfast debate on 27th February 2015 at New Africa Hotel, Ms. Winfrida Onesmo, from the Arusha NGO Network (ANGONET) which addresses issues concerning natural resources and environmental conservation, said CSR as stipulated in the 2009 mining policy of Tanzania is still fragmented and lacks focus on how interests of Tanzanians and business communities are ensured.

Onesmo was presenting on a study which ANGONET conducted to assess the situation of CSR in Tanzania’s mining industry with a specific focus on Tanzanite which according to her found that there was endemic poor governance (e.g. secrecy in contracts) and that the service levy of 0.3% of annual turnover of mining companies supposed to be paid to the local authorities does not seem adequate to finance public services to surrounding communities.

“Once the CSR legal framework is in place, CSOs in collaboration with the Government and private sector can establish a national awareness platform to strengthen the ethical and moral conduct of the business,” she recommended.

She further suggested that the central and local Governments to integrate CSR in their development plans and establish a clear strategy for CSR so as to reverse the current practice where CSR is simply being applied as a branding and marketing strategy by Mining Companies.

However, Simon Shayo, the Vice President Sustainability at Geita Gold Mine Tanzania (GGM), presented on the practical experience of CSR in his company noting that in 2012 and 2013 alone, GGM contributions totaled over Tshs 450 Billion Tanzanian Shillings in taxes and royalties to the Government, making GGM one of the single largest and most compliant tax payers for Mining Sector in Tanzania, both in 2013 and 2014.

He stressed that GGM has agreed to pay 0.3% of its annual turnover as Service Levy to the Geita Town Council effective from the 1st of July 2014 instead of the US$200,000 paid in lieu of all local taxes provided under the original MDA of 1999.

Mr. Shayo went on to say that AngloGold Ashanti/GGM believes that communities should be better off for Geita Gold Mine having been there as his company has, through the Kilimanjaro challenge against HIV fund, built a Voluntary Counselling and Treatment Centre in Geita Town in support of government initiatives to combat HIV and AIDS and has also signed a five-year contract worth over TZ 680million to support Lake Victoria’s first medical boat.

He however mentioned some of the challenges which they face as being;frequent changes of legal and policy frameworks, falling gold prices and illegal/artisanal/small-scale mining.

During the plenary discussion participants insisted that CSR should be seen as mutually beneficial to all stakeholders and therefore to achieve this, the government needs to come up with a clear legal framework to support it.

CSOs and other stakeholders including AMREF have lauded the government for launching the long-awaited National Education and Training Policy (ETP) that had been in the back-burner for almost eight years.

Speaking soon after the launch, Dr. Serafina Mkuwa, a representative of AMREF working on sexual reproductive said that the policy can finally be operationalized as among other things, it now allows re-entry of pregnant girls to school after giving birth.

Dr. Mkuwa also commended Policy Forum and the PAMOJA TUNAWEZA alliance which comprises of five organizations namely: AMREF Health Africa, Restless Development, Health Actions Promotion Association (HAPA), NIMR Mwanza Centre and Medicos Del Mundo for organizing a Breakfast Debate titled “should pregnant girls return to school after giving birth” held on 28th of January 2015 at the New Africa Hotel, Dar es Salaam to contribute to efforts push the policy’s finalization.

Speaking during the debate, Dr. Rebecca Balira from the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights (SRHR) Alliance “Pamoja Tunaweza” said that 55,000 girls were expelled from school between 2003 and 2011 out of which a huge number were students from secondary schools therefore operationalizing this policy would give these girls their right to education.

Commenting on the same, Dr. Elizabeth Mapella from the Ministry of Health and Social welfare (MOHSW) assured the audience that the government including the president himself was committed to operationalize the policy.

Prof. Sifuni Mchomewas quoted by the media saying that this decision to launch the ETP was taken by the government after an outcry from stakeholders who had been advocating for many years for the overhaul of the education system following the fall in education standards in the country.

 

 

The Ileje District Commissioner has hailed the support extended by civil society organisations in her district and admitted her own work would have been more difficult in their absence. Rosemary Staki Senyamule acknowledged the work done by IRDO, MIICO, Restless Development and Policy Forum to name a few and advised government to see CSOs more than just faultfinders but partners in development.

Conversely, she challenged CSOs to not only criticize government but also give solutions to the issues they raise. This counsel was given during a meeting between Policy Forum, MIICO, IRDO and visitors representing Oxfam America at the District Commissioner’s office who were interested in knowing the engagement of Tanzanian citizens and CSOs in development programmes.

Since 2012, MIICO, IRDO and Policy Forum have been working closely with district officials on Social Accountability Monitoring (SAM) training to selected civic actors. After the training, the civic actors collected and analyzed documents from Ileje district council and noted that although there was a budget allocation for health centre staff, none had been employed despite the construction of dispensaries for Chabu and Shinji villages having been completed and ready for use for almost eight years. The villagers were still being forced to cross a crocodile-infested river to Malawi using a makeshift bridge to access health services.

After constant follow-up by the civic actors, Chabu village now sees staff working and providing health services with villagers not having to go through a needless journey.

Ms. Senyamule’s appreciation of the role of CSOs speaks to the importance of "collective action" whereby multiple stakeholders see development outcomes from working together particularly in cases where lone action is unviable.

 

 

Recently the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a US-based watchdog released a report   with data on monies wired to the HSBC Bank in Switzerland (one of the world’s largest banks) including by people associated or connected to Tanzania. About a hundred people wired $ 114 million (equivalent to 205 billion Tanzanian shillings) for year 2006/07.

Based on the report, in the East African region Kenya takes the lead position while Tanzania ranks second followed by Uganda, Burundi and lastly Rwanda. These countries have $559.8m, $114m $89.3m, $30.2m and $2.1m in the HSBC bank account respectively. The maximum amount of money associated with one client connected to Tanzania was $20.8m.

Policy Forum is aware of the fact that our laws do not limit one from opening and running offshore accounts. It is required, however, that before the opening of the account a permit/approval has to be sought from the central Bank of Tanzania (BoT). There are therefore legitimate uses for Swiss bank accounts and trusts. Thus, Policy Forum, does not intend to suggest that the account holders listed in the ICIJ Swiss Leaks have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.

There have been different reactions to the released data and a great concern expressed by stakeholders is the purpose of using secret bank accounts. The information on the ICIJ website does not provide a link for full downloading of the source files.

There have been cries in Tanzania and other African countries over tax avoidance as well as illicit financial flows which deprive our countries with significant financial resources that would have helped in the provision of social services to our people. To curb these problems and others related to them, transparency is highly important and any information that would lead to helping asset recovery would no doubt benefit many poor nations.
Many Tanzanians are still keen to receive an investigative report on Swiss billions emanated from a private motion tabled by the Kigoma North legislator Zitto Kabwe in November 2012. A special team which was chaired by the former Attorney General Frederick Werema was formed and promised to make the report public but this has not happened until now.

It is in the public interest to have in public the Tanzania-associated clients who hold these accounts. This is particularly important as part of the government’s initiative to advance transparency. Transparency is actually amongst the four pillars of focus in the Tanzania Open Government Partnership Action Plan.  As Attorney General  George Masaju promised that the final report  would be  tabled in the Parliament, Tanzanians  are  looking  forward to  see the implementation of it  and that  corrective measures are taken  based on findings of the  report.
In these times of serious public pessimism, it is vital that key information and especially one that has to do with the interest of the people be provided to the public accurately and timely. If this does not happen then citizens will always believe that those in power are involved in plundering our wealth and hiding it abroad.

 

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