Action: What Tanzanians want in Mgimwa’s Budget

A man is making a rap trap in Morogoro
The first priority as Finance minister William Mgimwa who unveils the annual revenue and expenditure plan in Parliament this afternoon should be to lay down effective implementation strategies of the Budget, people who spoke to The Citizen yesterday said.

Airing their hopes and expectations from the 2012/13 Budget, they said the traditional priorities such as improvement of infrastructure, social services, modernising agriculture and ensuring stable power supply can only be realised if effective implementation plans are put in place and adhered to.

The Citizen spoke to petty traders, drivers, farmers, college lecturers, diplomats, activists, politicians, bankers, chief executive officers, medical personnel, sportsmen, school teachers and experts who, in their different ways, said they expect today’s Budget will be designed to carry on and finish the development projects that have not been completed under the 2011/12 Budget. 

Dr Mgimwa is expected to table the 2012/13 Budget whose preliminary allocations have been estimated to amount to Sh15 trillion, a marginal increase from the Sh13.5 trillion 2011/12 budget, taking into consideration inflation that stands at 18 per cent.

“The first priority of Dr Mgimwa this afternoon should be walking the talk. This means putting strategies that ensure effective action on what he has put on paper. Without that, any other priorities will be useless,” said Ms Justa Mwaituka, the executive director of the Kiota for Women’s Health and Development Organization (Kiwohede).

“The national Budget is not about reading allocation figures in Parliament, what matters is the implementation, which ensures that the allocations actually trickle down… that matters most,” said Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, who is also a renowned economist.

He noted that the time of falsely raising people’s hopes through “empty promises followed by disappointment” while chunks of the money allotted for development projects end in the hands of corrupt government officials, was over.
A smallholder farmer of Kasolo village in Chato District, Mr Masai Makachela, said as life gets tougher people expected the government to intervene in controlling inflation so that farmers’ incomes enable them to purchase basic necessities and agricultural inputs.

The Chairman of Kagera sugarcane growers association (Kagsa), Mr Anasi Swaibu, said the government must provide more subsidies to the agricultural sector, especially on fertiliser and soft loans to farming machineries.

 “Today’s Budget should facilitate the implementation of all projects that have been lagging behind due to lack of money in the past budgets,” the Deputy Minister for Science and Technology, January Makamba said.

Mr David Kafulila, the MP for Kigoma-South (NCCR-Mageuzi) had this to say: “I think education should be given the first priority, for it is the basis of everything we do. 

"If we give more emphasis on education, we will create and build a class of productive Tanzanians capable of fighting against poverty and unemployment which is now very high in the country.”

A student at the University of Dodoma, Ms Studitha James, said that since it was very difficult for the Budget to satisfy everyone, there was a need to set sound priorities which are enforceable.

European Delegation (EU) Ambassador to Tanzania, Filiberto Sebregondi said the EU expects social sector expenditure (education, health, and water) and core economic sectors (infrastructure, energy and agriculture) to continue receiving a substantial share of the Budget.

Said he: “In the current financial year, these sectors were allocated close to two thirds of the budget. We will also watch with interest the weight of the wage bill and allowances in the Budget, which we feel has little space to expand further.”

The NCCR- Mageuzi Secretary General, Mr Samuel Ruhuza, noted that at least Sh12 trillion were budgeted for the 2011/12 fiscal year in which several projects haven’t been finished and they should be taken care of under the new Budget. For that reason, the Sh15 trillion allocated for 2012/2013 won’t be enough.

Dr Damian Gabagambi from the Research on Poverty Alleviation (Repoa) said he had neither hope nor expectations in this new budget.

“What we need is to identify few key areas, and if you ask me, number one should be agriculture,” said Dr Gabagambi.

The president for Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU), Mr Gratian Mukoba, said under the next Budget, education ministry should get more money if it is to cope with the changing system, given that the 2012 Budget was too little.

According to the head of the department of Educational Psychology and Curriculum Studies, School of Education, University of Dar es Salaam, Dr Kitila Mkumbo, the upcoming budget should focus on uplifting teachers’ working conditions. 

For his part, Progestine Muganyizi, a gynecologist with the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), said he had expected that money for the health sector should increase to meet current needs.

Ms Jacqueline Shoo, a pediatrician at Muhimbili National Hospital said, the sector of mother and child health care needs to be improved.Citing an example at the hospital, she said the hospital lacks many facilities such as beds, drugs and laboratory facilities.
Source: The Citizen, http://www.thecitizen.co.tz
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