Why Tanzania budget is like a big joke

The government’s failure to release funds approved by Parliament has been cited as one of the major factors that stand in the way of development. 

Budget speeches tabled since April indicate that many ministries had received just about half their allocations as at the end of March.

The end of March traditionally marks the end of the third quarter of the financial year and funds released are supposed to be no less than three-quarters. Some ministries had received less than half their budgetary allocations at that point.

Dockets such as the Judiciary and the Fire and Rescue Services have not received development funds for years now, according to the Parliamentary Committees.

Speaking in April after tabling of the budget estimates, a member of the Parliamentary Constitution and Legal Committee, Mr Gosbert Blandes, noted: “The Committee is dismayed to note that the government has not released a single cent of Judiciary development budget allocated for this financial year.”

According to the budget estimates, Sh17.213 billion was allocated to the Judiciary development vote for 2012/13.

“This trend puts in question the government’s desire to end some challenges facing the Judiciary, including a shortage of court houses,” said Mr Blandes.

He also noted that the Judiciary Service Commission has not been allocated any development budget for 2012/13 and the Sh1.471 billion recurrent expenditure allocation was not enough for the commission to effectively discharge its responsibilities.

The committee for Economy, Industries and Commerce noted that, as of February this year, the ministry for Industries and Commerce had received only 23 percent of its approved budget. The committee’s specch adds: “If Parliament had approved the money to the ministry, who has the power to overturn this decision?”

The shadow minister for Industries and Commerce, Mr Highness Kiwia, said that the government’s failure to honour its budgetary obligations was a clear indication that it was not keen on achieving its industrial revolution policy.

The trend continues in the Land, Housing and Human Settlement Development ministry, which did not receive its budget allocation accordingly--despite facing land crises.

The committee for Land, Natural Resources and Environment said that the ministry had received only Sh30.991 billion of its Sh101.731 billion budget as of February 2012,

The trend also affected local governments. According to Mr Khams Kigwangala, the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Regional Administration and Local Governments, the ministry has not been receiving funds on time.
Mr Kigwangala also blamed the government for skewed allocation of the local governments budget, noting that meagre funds were set aside for rural areas while urban areas received the lion’s share.

He further noted that only 19 percent of the Local Government budget was set aside for development activities. “Local Governments have crucial responsibilities to fulfil for the development of the nation... This trend is not acceptable,” he said.

Shadow Minister David Silinde noted that the ministry has also failed to effectively collect revenue. In 2012/13, the ministry was required to collect Sh362.635 billion but, as of February, the collections stood at Sh117.806 billion--less than half the target.

But there were a few exceptions. The ministry of Energy and Minerals had, by last month, received 89.7 per cent of its Sh826.27 billion budget. The percentage represents Sh740.81 billion. However, only 10.8 percent of the Sh100 billion of foreign financing had been released by then.

The Committee on Lands, Natural Resources and Environment also lamented about the “little” allocation for the ministry of Water.

The committee noted that the ministry was also among those that did receive its money on time. As of March this year, the ministry had received only Sh29 billion of Sh140 billion development budget. The funds released amounted to 39 per cent.

The shadow minister, Mr Sylvester Kasulumbayi, said the government’s dependence on donors for development projects stood in the way of smooth and timely implementation.

Mr Augustine Masele, member of the Parliamentary Committee for Security, noted that the Fire and Rescue department had not received money for development activities in the past three financial years--and the trend has greatly affected implementation of government plans.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Peter Nyanje in Dodoma
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