Latest News

Preamble: The Policy Forum (PF) Budget Working Group welcomes yet another opportunity to share views regarding the performance of previous budgets and propose some recommendations that we believe are worth consideration during current parliamentary deliberations for the 2018/19 budget to be concluded late in June. Recommendations in this position statement have also been shared with respective parliamentary committees prior to their budgets being read in the Parliament and are hereby being shared with wider stakeholders to highlight areas that need concerted interventions in relation to the budget.

The national budget being proposed is the third under the Fifth Phase Government intending to finance the third year of the implementation of the Second Five Year Development Plan (FYDP II) which runs till 2020/21 putting emphasis on heavy investments in infrastructure to transform the country to an industry-based economy. Budget execution, however, continued to see sluggishness in the 2017/18 period as was the case in the previous financial year and revenue targets have fallen short. The development plan envisages growth driven by a vibrant private sector but the business climate will need improvement if unemployment particularly of youth is to be tackled effectively.

The agricultural sector continues to provide employment to more than 65.5% of adults Tanzanians and decision in the 2017/18 budget to eliminate around 80 diverse taxes viewed as nuisance should benefit smallholder farmers. Financial disbursements to education development projects have continued to remain below 50%, with a mismatch between planning and allocation for both recurrent and development expenditures affecting learning outcomes. The health budget allocation trend has not been in line with the Health Sector Strategic Plan IV (HSSP IV) and with the increasing demand based on population growth and disease burden. Budget implementation in this sector also notes a Human Resources for Health (HRH) deficit of about 50% in all cadres.

To this end, as active participants in the Tanzania budget processes including parliamentary consultations, we present this submission with a view of informing numerous policy choices that are critical to the country’s future.

Domestic Resource Mobilisation: Raising Revenue the business-friendly way

We commend the fifth phase government’s drive to mobilize adequate financial resources domestically and welcome its forward-looking in this area with the President’s constant emphasis on taxpayer compliance.

To achieve this seemingly tough but a realistic ambition, the government has been emphatic in calling for the use of electronic fiscal devices for transactions to avoid leakages of revenue. It is important to note, however, that in some instances the recent enforcement of tax compliance has been overzealous, resulting in expressions of grievance from the business community. We encourage increased voluntary compliance through better taxpayer appreciation of the rationale for taxation, clarity and simplification of payment methods so as not to impact negatively on the business climate and confidence.

Based on revenue collection trends and shrinking donor support, the government’s budget for 2018/19 has slightly increased by 2% from TZS 31.7 trillion in 2017/18 to TZS 32.5 trillion in 2018/19. Out of the TZS 32.5 trillion intended to be collected during the financial year 2018/19, TZS 20.2 trillion (about 62%) is for recurrent expenditure while TZS 12.4 trillion (about 38%) is for development expenditure. Over TZS 10 trillion of the recurrent budget is intended to service the public debt which stands at TZS 47.8 trillion.

Of much interest in this upcoming national budget is the government intention to source over 60% of the overall budget locally. Domestic revenues are expected at TZS 22.1 trillion; with tax revenue, non-tax revenue and LGAs own sources contributing TZS 18.9 trillion, TZS 2.4 trillion and TZS 0.8 trillion, respectively.

Donor contribution in the 2018/19 budget is expected to be only TZS 3.7 trillion with grants taking TZS 0.9 trillion and TZS 2.2 trillion as concessional loans. Total contribution by donors is therefore expected at 12% of the total government’s budget, a commendable and bold move by the government manifesting the political will and commitment to reduce dependence in financing development.

The Power of Youth: Skills Development in the 2018/2019 Budget

Strategically, youth should present an integral part of financing for development as they constitute a resourceful population with much potential to the economy. Evidence from the 2014 Integrated Labour Force Survey, however, reveals that more than 88% youth are unemployed due to among others, the inability of the educational and training system to produce appropriate skills for employability and self-employment and exclusion by the formal financial service sectors.

Informed by a joint research between the government and private sector, the 2018/19 Prime Minister’s budget speech indicated the need to provide employable skills to 79.9% of the total national workforce, which has very low skills. Both the allocations and disbursement of the funds for youth development in the past, however, raise questions on whether youth development is a priority of the government. For example, the allocation for the 2014/15 fiscal year was TZS 6 billion, but only TZS 2 billion was released. The allocation for the 2015/16 fiscal year went down to TZS 1.6 billion. With this disbursement, which was only 26% of the allocated funds, only 284 beneficiaries managed to access the funds up to the beginning of the 2016/17 budget cycle.

During the 2017/18 fiscal year, the number of youth who benefited from the National Youth Development Fund increased to 840, but with a substantial decrease in the amount of loans provided to youth from TZS 1.6 billion in the 2014/2015 financial year to TZS 783 million during the 2017/2018 fiscal year. While the National Youth Development Fund is striving to broaden its outreach and serve more youth, the actual trends suggest the need to allocate sufficient budgets with the aim of empowering youth to make the ongoing small industries development initiative youth-led.

In addition, local government authorities are mandatorily required to allocate funds for youth (and women) development for each fiscal year. During the 2016/17 fiscal year, the threshold was five percent of their internal budgets. During the 2017/18 fiscal year, the threshold was raised to ten percent of the LGAs’ internal budgets. The required contribution for the 2018/19 fiscal year remains ten percent of the total budget. However, this amount includes other groups such as women and the disabled while LGAs are expected to allocate only four percent of their total internal budgets for youth development projects. We agree that this requirement is crucial to making LGAs accountable for financing youth development. However, based on the previous trends, we foresee a limited possibility that LGAs will be able to allocate sufficient funds during the implementation mainly since LGAs’ own sources of revenues have become narrower compared to the previous fiscal years.

The increase of budgets for the strategic sectors which have a potential of contributing to youth development may address the key youth challenges including employment. For instance, the budget for the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment increased from TZS 98.0 billion for 2017/18 to TZS 122.2 billion for the 2018/19 fiscal year. However, the increase reflected a decline of the development budget from TZS 75.3 billion to TZS 65.6 billion of the total budget, which may affect the expansion of the sector to create more employment for youth.

In addition, based on the implementation of the 2016/17 and 2017/18 budgets, experiences show that the gap between allocations and actual disbursement could affect aspirations of turning industry into a strategic sector for addressing youth unemployment. For instance, only 48% of the total budget for the 2016/17 fiscal year had been released by April 2017. The gap was wider for development budget where only 19% of the funds were made available.

We therefore urge the government to not only allocate sufficient resources for skills development but implement a long-term strategy for financing technical and vocational skills development, working with the private and voluntary sectors as close partners who may fill the gap left by insufficient financing. In addition, we call upon the government to treat provision of loans to youth who are willing to undertake technical and vocational skills development training as a priority.

Also, there is limited integration and coordination of youth development financing efforts by different ministries, which are responsible for youth development. The ministries of which the budgets are supposed to address youth development are the ones responsible for labour, employment, and youth; Technical Education and Vocational Training (TEVT), healthcare, local government, industry, and agricultural development. A good example is the budget speech for the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology for 2018/19 which articulates technical and Vocational Education as strategic for skills development. However, the annual budget for education had only an increase of TZS 1 billion. We urge the government to establish mechanisms for harmonizing the youth development financing efforts of these ministries during the implementation of the 2018/2019 budget.

The Budget for Education: Ending the Crisis

We believe, with many in agreement, that the quality of our education in the past few years has been declining. Literacy and numeracy skills among primary school children are below expectations across all grades (UWEZO, 2017); with less than 20% of fourth graders in Tanzania being able to read a full sentence and less than 10% able to read a paragraph (World Bank Report, “Facing Forward; Schooling for Learning in Africa, 2018”). The World Bank Report further points on imbalanced deployment of teachers as being long standing, whereas teachers’ absenteeism has been reportedly left more than half of classes unattended. It has further been reported that most teachers lack the necessary academic and pedagogical skills to teach (World Bank SDI Report, 2016) with only one out of five teachers mastering the curriculum they teach. Students’ performance in final exams has also been poor with an average of 60% of candidates scoring division IV and Zero (NECTA results, 2017).

Challenges associated with quality aside, our education has encountered financial concerns such as poor planning, allocation and disbursement bringing discontent amongst stakeholders. For decades, the Government’s financial disbursements to education development projects has remained below 50% with mismatches between planning and allocation for both recurrent and development expenditures. We have witnessed inadequate capitation grants to schools, poor learning and teaching environment and shortage of qualified teaching staff among others that hamper the effectiveness of our education.

Our focus is on falling allocation trend of the education sector’s budget. According to the Ministry of Finance’s sectoral analysis 2017/18, the Parliament approved TZS 4,706.4 billion as the total education sector’s spending for the FY 2017/18. This is, in fact, 1.3% less than what the parliament had approved for the sector in the FY 2016/17 which amounted to TZS 4,770.4 billion. Thus, the education sector’s budget has dropped by TZS 64 billion.

While the drop of 1.3% (TZS 64 billion) from the budget may seem light, we submit that it has serious effect on the education budget. Because of that drop, the proportion of the education sector’s budget to the national budget has also fallen from 16% allocated in 2016/17 to 14.9% or approximately 15% in 2017/18. As a matter of fact, this falling trend has been continuous in the last five years. This allocation is not only meagre compared to the existing education sector’s demands, but it is also short of regional and international commitments to education such as the Dakar Framework for Action on Education for All, 2000 and the Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action, 2015. These frameworks recommend that countries in sub Saharan Africa allocate at least 20% of their national budget to education to address learning challenges and meet education demands.

Tanzania only attained 20% allocation benchmark in the 2008/09 period. The budget has, since, either been falling or stagnating below the recommended proportion. Due to the falling proportion the education sector has been denied a total of TZS 4,609.5 billion that was supposed to have been allocated had the government allocated 20% of the national budget to education in the last five years. Had this amount been allocated and disbursed, we would not be talking of 62% shortage of girls’ toilet facilities, or 56% shortage of toilet facilities for boys. We would not even be talking about a shortage of 186,008 staff houses (equivalent to 83.1 per cent); 10,943 administrative buildings (83.4 per cent) or 15.342 library rooms (88 per cent) or 16,290 first aid rooms (93.9 per cent) nor would we be talking of 41% of primary schools having shortage of infrastructure on average.

If the falling allocation trends continue unabated, its consequences on the learning outcomes, which are already dire, will certainly deepen. We should not allow our children and the future generation to continue bearing the costs of our poor planning today.

Health Budget 2018/19: Keeping up with the spending plan

An analysis by Sikika of the Ministry of Health Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MOHCDGEC) budget for the financial year 2018/19 compares budgets for the past two years with the focus on the overall trend, development projects, health commodities and human resources for health. The following has been noted;

Budget allocation trend has not been in line with the Health Sector Strategic Plan IV (HSSP IV) and with the increasing demand based on population growth and disease burden. For FY 2018/19 has decreased by 20% while disbursement of the allocated budget has been below 50%.

While budget estimates for development projects for 2018/19 have decreased by 29%, contribution from development partners has decreased by 59%. Further, the local contribution has increased by about 12%. Despite the increase in internal resource allocation for development budget, the overall budget for development projects FY 2018/19 has decreased by 20% from previous year.

Furthermore, disbursement of the allocated budget has been low, foreign disbursement has significantly increased and the domestic disbursement has decreased. This calls for the government to significantly increase domestic allocation and disbursement to reduce dependence on foreign development partners.

For two years, budget for essential medicines, medical supplies and equipment has been increasing. However, the disbursement has been low. By February 2018, only 23% of the allocation had been disbursed while in 2016/17 disbursement was at 54%. Low disbursement affects critical areas such as maternal health services and safe blood. Availability of these commodities contribute significantly in reducing the maternal mortality which is still high. Further, the TZS 70 billion that was allocated to recover the MSD debt had not been disbursed. This is likely affect MSD’s operations and performance.

The budget implementation report notes a Human Resources for Health (HRH) deficit of about 50% in all cadres. Further, in 2016 the gap for specialists at the regional referral hospitals only was about 500 (RMOs’ presentation 2016, JAHSR). The newly established tertiary hospitals such as Mloganzila and Benjamini Mkapa might have further increased the demand for specialists.

Gender: Absent spending information and targets

The mainstreaming of crosscutting themes such as gender is crucial for the attainment of the national development plan. We believe, hence, that this should be more clearly articulated in government planning, budgeting and monitoring processes.

Last year, for instance, Policy Forum congratulated the government for the specific budget lines aimed at addressing the needs of several marginalized groups in the society like pregnant women, children and the disabled. In the 2018/19 financial year, however, we expect to see more commitment towards strategic integration of gender in the budget rather than simply relying on special budget lines to cater for special groups in society. For example, the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP) notes that currently sex and gender disaggregation of the TZS 483 billion loan portfolio for higher learning students is lacking. Hence although it is known that an average 39.34% of the 69,539 higher learning students selected in 2017 were female, slightly favouring males, any additional resources directed towards higher education are likely to benefit the latter more.

We also saw other positive commitments that affect women, for instance in the elimination of around 80 diverse taxes, levies and cess out of 139 which were for the most part viewed as nuisance to small holder farmers. These taxes and levies were inclusive of those targeted at tobacco, coffee, sugar, cotton, cashew nuts, and tea. Moreover, taxes and levies on farming inputs such fertilizer, seeds, and packaging materials were similarly removed or intensely reduced. In this regard, it is anticipated that these measures have directly or indirectly benefitted smallholder farmers in Tanzania including women.

In the mining sector, it is estimated that that around 1 million Tanzanians are involved in Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM), of whom approximately 25% are women. Women are found in salt making (38%), construction materials (32%), gold and diamonds (37%). Moreover, women also constitute around 10% of mining license holders, and 10% of the 12,000 employees in the extractive industries.

However, a gender pay gap averaging 31% confronts women in the extractive industries whereby they earn an average 69% of what men earn in the same activity. The gender pay gap is 10% above the national average. In addition, women are absent from the uppermost paying positions in ASM, especially in positions such as owner or operator. The government hence has not done more to address this imbalance nor been specific about what interventions would help women.

For example, the budget for 2017/18 targeted to allocate 11 mining areas, with more than 38,951 hectares to small miners but it did not explicitly state whether women, youths and other marginalized groups will be among the beneficiaries in this constellation. It also planned to provide subventions amounting to TZS 7.48 bn in its 3rd phase of the Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project (SMMRP). It is of obvious of interest that these subsidies benefit women, youth and other marginalized groups in an acceptable proportion.

Summary of our key policy recommendations:

1. Continue to strengthen the institutional capacity of Tanzania Revenue Authority in collecting taxes through modernization of its tax system, providing financial resources and technical support to the officers of TRA to implement their roles. Further, TRA together with the Government and other stakeholders should work together to establish and support taxpayer assistance and educational programs (the use of Electronic Fiscal Device [EFD] for the SMEs).

2. Widen the tax base by putting in place more improved and less stringent methods to tax the informal sector. This among others, may involve implementing the Integrated Domestic Revenue Administration System (IDRAS).

3. Allocate sufficient resources for skills development for youth and put in place mechanisms to implement a comprehensive long-term strategy for financing technical and vocational skills development, working with the private and voluntary sectors as close partners who may fill the gap left by insufficient financing. Treat provision of loans to youth willing to undertake technical and vocational skills development training as a priority.

4. Need for mainstreaming and coordination of youth development financing efforts by different ministries, which are responsible for youth development for instance supporting efforts to increase the participation of youth in agriculture.

5. Call for increased allocation trend of the education sector’s budget especially development budget including the sector’s development budget disbursement challenges being addressed.

6. Deliberate efforts and strategies are needed to ensure sufficient investment in health in terms of planning, allocation, disbursement and efficient execution of resources.

7. Address HRH shortage through proper employment and retention mechanisms especially for specialist at Regional and Tertiary hospitals.

8. Government should initiate and capture in better detail all the specific barriers and capacity gaps for women’s economic engagement in the value chains of the agricultural sector and the gas, minerals and energy sub-sectors. It is obvious that a disaggregation by age, sex or gender would reveal even more about the disadvantaged like women, youth and other marginalized groups.

https://www.policyforum-tz.org/sites/default/files/POLICY%20FORUM.pdf

The Executive Director of Kepa, a Finnish NGO network, Timo Lappalainen (left) and Communications Officer Mirka Kartano (first right) with Policy Forum Coordinator, Semkae Kilonzo (second left) and Kepa Tanzania Country Director, Bakar Khamis Bakar (second right). The Kepa mission visited Tanzania this week to meet with partners for the closing down of Kepa's operations in the South and to celebrate their organisation's achievement for the past 20+ years working in Tanzania including in areas such as mitigation of climate change, prevention of tax avoidance, and promoting corporate responsibility. A press release of the decision is available here:  https://www.kepa.fi/uutiset-media/tiedotteet/budget-cuts-reduce-ngo-platform-kepas-activities-again

Policy Forum thanks its member organisation Kepa for its support over the years and wishes their staff all the best in their future endeavours.

The recently released 2016/17 Controller & Auditor General Report has revealed a number of challenges relating to effective financial accountability at the local level including under and over-disbursements, massive amounts of unspent funds by local government authorities, drop in revenue collections and ineffective use of spent monies.

This was observed from a presentation made by Yona Killagane from Wajibu Institute of Public Accountability (WIPA) on the Policy Forum’s Monthly Breakfast Debate. The debate focused on 2016/17 CAG's report: What are the Trends of Financial Accountability in Tanzania?

Presenting the observations, Killagane said that the Government under-disbursed capital grants to 167 local government authorities (LGAs) by 51 per cent in the 2016/17 financial year. The government also over-disbursed development grants to 14   LGAs and only 28 per cent of the budget allocated for development projects was spent by the LGAs during the financial year audited. He added that the Government Auditor also revealed that 36 per cent of the capital grants that were received by 168 LGAs remained unspent. As a result, unspent funds increased from Sh197.61 billion in the 2015/16 financial year to Sh260.85 billion in 2016/17. Also, 60 projects valued at Sh782.47 million had been completed in 13 LGAs - but they were not put into effective use."

He further elaborated that the CAG's report also showed that LGAs' revenue collections dropped from Sh628 billion in 2015/16 (equivalent to 90 per cent of set collection target) to Sh523.56 billion in 2016/ (83 per cent of target).

He continued by highlighting that the fall in revenue collections have been contributed by the transfer of some LGA revenue sources to the Central Government - including property tax and billboard fees - as well as the abolition of some taxes at the local government level, such as crop levies.

He further recommended that due to the importance of Integrated Financial Management System (EPICOR) in strengthening financial accountability there is a need of the Government to invest in continuous training to officials on how to effectively use the platform and to create its champions who will support its implementation.

For the Government to be fully International Public Sector Accountability Standards (IPSAS) compliant, modules covered in EPICOR as proposed by the CAG should be implemented immediately including those relating to receivables, payables, inventory and linked with debt management and revenue collection for LGAs.

Following the audit queries that were raised and how they had been addressed, he endorsed the idea that duty-bearers should be  strongly urged to adhere to the legal procedure as stipulated in the Public Audit Act no. 11 of 2008 and its regulations in responding to audit queries.

Dr. Richard Mbunda from University of Dar es Salaam highlighted that the Controller Auditor General has limited access to information relating to oil, gas and mining companies operational as the principal Petroleum and Mining Acts do not grant him explicit mandate and power to access information relating to the production and sale of these natural resources. He suggested that because minerals are public assets, there is an urgent need for the Controller Auditor General (CAG) to have full access to audit this public resource.

The Former Controller and Auditor General, Ludovick Utouh remarked that Parliamentary Oversight committees: Public Accounts Committee(PAC), Local Authority Accounts Committee (LAAC) and Parliamentary Investment Committee (PIC) should be supported materially and financially to cover more auditees including continuously following ups on their implementation of the auditor’s recommendations.

Findings of the 2017 survey conducted by the International Budget Partnership (IBP) reveals that Tanzania has scored a lowly 10 out of 100, implying it is a country that provides scant or no information on public budgets. IBP considers countries that score above 60 on the Open Budget Index as providing sufficient budget information to enable the public to engage in budget discussions in an informed manner. Countries scoring above 60 on participation and oversight are deemed as providing adequ ate opportunities for the public to participate in the budget process and providing adequate oversight practices.

Presenting at the morning debate coordinated by Policy Forum (PF) on the theme ‘Open Budget Survey 2017: What is the State of Fiscal Transparency, Participation and Budget Oversight?’, Boniventura Godfrey, the Head of Programs at HakiElimu, explained that the survey gauges three pillars of public budget accountability: transparency, public participation and oversight.

On transparency, the indicators assessed whether the central government makes eight key budget documents (pre-budget statement, executive’s budget proposal, enacted budget, citizens budget, in-year reports, mid-year review, year-end report and audit report) available to the public online in a timely manner and whether these documents present budget information in a comprehensive and useful way.

Explaining the availability of the budget documents to the public, Godfrey claimed that since 2008 Tanzania government has not made enough effort to produce mid-year review and year-end reports. With regards to the citizens budget, the executive budget proposal and in-year reports, in 2017 the government published late, or did not publish online, or produced for internal use only and that has remarkably affected score of budget transparency (10/100). The score is affected by the fact that the survey recognizes budget documents as publicly available if they are published online on the relevant government institution’s website.

As for Public Participation, Tanzania has scored 15 out of 100 which is slightly above the global average which is 12. Godfrey explained that the  public participation indicators measure the degree to which the government provides opportunities for the public to engage in budget processes. Such opportunities should be provided throughout the budget cycle by the executive, the legislature, and the supreme audit institution.

Godfrey elaborated that the aspect of Budget Oversight measured the strength of two oversight institutions which are the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI), in the Tanzania case the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), and the Legislature. The legislature oversight aspect produced a score of 37 out of 100 in 2017 while in 2015 it scored 39 out of 100. Major reasons for the fall includes the legislature committee not examining or publishing reports on in-year implementation, the legislature not being consulted before the government shifts funds and lack of legislative hearings for the public/civil societies to testify.

The oversight by Supreme Audit aspect produced a score of 39 out of 100 in 2017 compared to 50 out of 100 in 2015. Key issues highlighted by the survey includes the fact that head of SAI is not appointed by the legislature, audit processes are not reviewed by an independent agency, lack of formal mechanisms for the public to assist the SAI in formulating its audit program and the lack of space for public to participate in relevant audit investigations.

Godfrey recommended that the government produce and publish online Mid-Year Reports, Year-End Report and In-Year reports in a timely manner. Also, he counseled for the publishing and increasing the comprehensiveness of the Executive’s Budget Proposal. He further stressed that there should be an established accessible mechanism for capturing public perspectives on the budget discourse as well as formal mechanisms for the public to participate in audit investigations.

Discussing the topic Hon. Zitto Kabwe (MP) pointed that “Tanzania’s drop of score from 46 in 2015 to 10 in 2017 is a sign that the executive did not care even under pressure” and that the country faced a serious problem of budget credibility. “The parliament usually passes the budget but the executive has the power to decide what to implement and what not to. For the nation to realize its development potential, the parliament is supposed to approve all major development projects to limit the misuse of public money,” he added.

Hon. Kabwe urged citizens to participate in the meetings held at the grassroots to discuss with local leaders the issues relating to development and not wait for avenues to criticize what is done by the top executives. He also advised PF to seek an opportunity with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Budget to present the findings and recommendations to improve transparency, participation and oversight of the budget.

This video provides an account of work done in 2017 under the network's outcome one which aim to strengthen PF members' capacity to influence and monitor the implementation of policies relating to public resources. Second, it covers the activities carried out with the intention of enhancing state responsiveness to Policy Forum’s advocacy agenda relating to increased domestic resource mobilization and the accountable use of public resources. Third, it outlines the efforts done to improve PF's own institutional effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability including monitoring, evaluation and learning.

 

Tanzania is among the countries that adopted the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and translating the same to its own development initiatives  such as the Development Vision 2025  and the Five Year Development Plan II (2016/17 – 2020/21).

Tanzania implements the SDGs through a number of its government organs including the  Ministry of Finance and Planning (MoFP), The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the Planning Commission, and the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG) and the National Parliament. Civil Society Organisations and the private sector are also involved in attaining the SDGs.

Supporting the agenda, Policy Forum has been engaging with the government institutions such as  the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG) particularly in advocating for transparency, equitable use of public money and an increased Domestic Resource Mob,ilization at both local and national levels.

On March the 12th 2018, Policy Forum in partnership with the Tanzania Sustainable Development Platform (TSDP) which is co-convened by United Nations Association of Tanzania (UNA) and Africa Philanthropic Foundation, conducted a two days training to 20 PO-RALG representatives in Dodoma, on the Implementation and Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030.

Stephen Chacha from TSDP highlighted on  the CSOs implementation of SDGs, gave a glimpse of the transition from Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) to SDGs and the interrelation and the alignment between FYDP II and SDGs and other macro policies such as Tanzania Development Vision 2025 and MKUKUTA II; one among the objectives of the FYDP II is to ensure global and regional agreements (e.g. Africa Agenda 2063 and SDGs) are adequately mainstreamed into the national development planning and implementation frameworks for the benefit of the country.

Reynald Maeda from UNA stressed on the challenge of Data Coherence between Government Institutions and it is highly important that it is addressed. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) provides the core statistics and data that are critical for the monitoring and evaluation of FYDP II and also has been the principal organ in the national data provision but the data that is produced by the NBS varies from that of Ministry of Finance and Planning and PO-RALG which is the key implementor of FYDP II and SDGs at regional and district level.

However, William Ghumpi from the Poverty Eradication department of the Ministry of Finance and Planning provided an overview of  the Tanzania Baseline Report on the SDGs to be presented at the High Level Political Forum in July 2018 in New York , USA.

Ghumpi accentuated that Tanzania will also continue to mainstream the regional and global development frameworks  at the sector and local levels as we implement our national development, growth and poverty reduction plans and programmes.

Moreover, the Director of the Division of Basic Education (PO-RALG), Paulina Mkwama emphasized that there is a strong linkage between the FYDP II and SDGs and also stressed that the SDGs are being implemented in our day to day activities but there is exertion in identifying what goals are being addressed as she  further stressed on the importance of the training that was conducted by Policy Forum.

To ensure that ‘No one is left behind’, Policy Forum has pledged to work closely with PO-RALG to make sure that information is timely shared between different stakeholders and that it reaches the regional and district level.

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.

Pages

Social Media

We are on Facebook!


drupal hit counter