Accountability Stakeholders Debate on Current Financial Trends in Tanzania

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The 2017/2018 CAG’s report has indicated areas of corruptive and fraudulent transactions amounting to TZS 207.12 billion. The amount is derived from weakness in the management of transit goods TZS 7.975 billion, human resources and pensions 2.59 billion, procurement and contract management TZS 133.17 billion, the expenditure management and budget execution TZS 54.48 billion and in management and collection of own source revenues TZS 8.66 billion. This was accentuated during the Policy Forum’s April Breakfast Debate entitled “2017/2018 CAG’s Report: Current Financial Accountability Trends in Tanzania” presented by Yona Kilaghane from Wajibu Institute of Public Accountability (WIPA).

Kilaghane highlighted that the National debt amount excludes Government obligations with Pension Funds of TZS 4,588.39 Billion. There is an increase of the national debt by 10.5% compared to previous year. Even though the national debt is sustainable, it will impact the society/development due to, servicing of the national debt is a first charge in government spending, which reduces funds for development expenditure and domestic borrowing is too expensive and that the Government should strive to target concessional debts.

Dr. Richard Mushi from the University of Dar Es Salaam tinted that the Financial Year 2017/18, the CAG’s report highlighted that the Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania approved a budget of TZS 31,711.99 billion against actual revenue collection of TZS 27,695.96 billion resulting into under collection of TZS 4,016 billion (12.7%). And also, the total amount issued from the Consolidated Fund amounted to TZS 26,947.41 billion against total receipts of TZS 26,531.56 billion resulting in a deficit of TZS 415.844 billion.

KIlaghane uttered poor utilization of project funds in Local Government Authorities that hindered the implementation of development projects. The Government released only 51% of the LGAs budgeted development funds of which 34% was utilized and 17% was not utilized by Local Governance Authorities.

He also stressed on Public entities without board of directors and trustees stating that the CAG noted an increase trend of public authorities without board of directors from 20 entities reported last year to 27 entities in 2017/2018. This weakens internal oversight functions.

Although the word “Udhaifu” created a saga between the Parliament of United Republic of Tanzania and the Controller and Auditor General. The Former Controller and Auditor General Mr. Ludovick Utouh intervened by describing the word as a technical term which is utilised in different institutes to accentuate weaknesses and not a term used to suppress individuals nor organizations.

Recommendations that emanated from the debate;

  1. The Management of Ministry, Departments and Agencies should strictly ensure procurement complies with the Public Procurement Act 2011 to promote competitiveness and to obtain value for money for the goods and services.
  2. Compliance with the procurement law and its regulations, WAJIBU is recommending for the amendment of the procurement regulations to enhance transparency in the procurement process (e.g. publication of received tenders on the website, publication of the original and final cost of concluded projects) and law enforcing organs should be more pro-active in taking action on non-compliance with the procurement law.
  3. The law enforcing organs including PCCB, DCI, DPP to enforce the implementation of the amended Sect. 27 of the Public Audit Act No. 11 of 2008. In addition, Public Auditors need to adhere to the requirements of ISSAI 1224.
  4. The accountancy profession needs to review the basis of auditing and financial reporting in the public sector in view of issuing of audit opinion (financial and non-financial considerations).
  5. The CAG to give more explanations on the short-deposited funds in the Consolidated Fund and the overpayment from the Consolidated Fund.
  6. The TRA should increase its efforts in widening the Tax base and improving Tax compliance in order to increase the Tax/GDP ratio.
  7. Government to institute and establish a documented Fraud Prevention Plan & Fraud Risk Management

Despite the improvement in the audit opinions issued, accountability is still a challenge with regards to observations made in the Controller and Auditor General’s reports.

Monthly breakfast debates allow participants from various fields to debate issues, brainstorm on new ideas, discuss different perspectives on problems and exchange views with likeminded colleagues from different organizations. The aim of these debates is to deepen and broaden public discussion and participation in key contemporary development issues.

 

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