Budget:5 ministries to get Sh3.8 trillion By Polycarp Machira THE CITIZEN Five priority sectors will get over half of the Sh7.2 trillion total budget in the next financial year. Education, infrastructure, health, agriculture and energy and minerals, will claim 52.6 per cent of the budget, in what Parliamentary Finance and Economic Affairs committee chairman Abdallah Kigoda described as a continuity budget. Cumulatively, the five sectors will be allocated with Sh3.797 trillion. Presenting a pre-budget summary to the parliamentary committee, Finance and Economic Affairs minister Mustafa Mkulo revealed that the education sector would continue topping the list for the second year in a row. It will get Sh1.22 trillion (17 per cent of the total budget), against the Sh1.09 trillion it received in the current budget, which was equivalent to 18 per cent of last year's budget. Infrastructure development has been allocated 13 per cent of this year's total budget, being Sh971.9bn; up from Sh777.2bn. This was also 13 per cent of the last budget. Health sector will receive Sh784.5bn, an 11 per cent of the total budget, up from Sh.589.9bn or ten per cent of last year's budget. While maintaining its six per cent slot of the budget, the agricultural sector will receive Sh438.1bn for this year against Sh379bn allocated for the sector in the last budget, gaining from the big base of the next year�s budget. But Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) expressed its concern, saying the sector was not getting the attention it deserves. Mr Isaac Dallush, TCCIA vice president (Agriculture). described the Sh69.1 billion increment to the agricultural sector in this year's budget as inadequate given the fact that the sector still needs a lot of reform. He said there is need to improve irrigational infrastructure and also improved mechanised farming as farmers still rely on traditional tool to produce crops. Said he: We have all along been discussing the budget issue with the minister but he said the Sh2.5 trillion budget allocation for agriculture sector will be reached within a span of five years. In addition, Mr Dallush said the Government should fully support the private sector to develop agricultural activities in the country. According to this year's budget breakdown energy and minerals sector will still get five per cent of the budget. It will get Sh382.9bn compared to Sh354bn it received last year. Although government spending is set to go up by over Sh1 trillion compared to Sh6.1 trillion in the current fiscal year, donor dependency is set to down significantly. Of the Sh7.2 trillion budget, Sh4.786 trillion will come from domestic sources. Mr Mkulo said Sh4.728 trillion would come be from internal funding. Sale of its 21 per cent shares in NMB will raise another Sh58bn, with the remaining Sh2.43 trillion will come from foreign sources. Current expenditure will account for Sh4.728 trillion while the remaining Sh1.945 trillion will be directed to development projects. In total developmental expenses will be Sh2.489 trillion, of which Sh1.551 trillion is donor funding through the project and basket funds. The remaining Sh938.38 billion will be donor funding through the budget support. Other sectors have recorded a two per cent increase from 42 to 44 per cent of this year's budget, being Sh3.2 trillion against the Sh2.571 trillion allocated for the sector last year. Mr Mkulo also said the Government has reduced budget allocation for water sector from five per cent last year to three per this year, a 40 per cent decrease. Thus the sector will get Sh217.9 billion compared to Sh309.1 it received this year. Said he: Budget allocation for water sector for this year is less compared to that of 2007/2008 due to completion of Shinyanga and Kahama water projects, causing a Sh35bn relief in local funding, among others. Generally, the economy grew by 7.1 per cent in 2007 year, a ride from the previous year's 6.7 per cent performance. It however fell slightly short of 7.3 per cent anticipated by the Government for the same year. Briefing journalists on the just read pre budget review, Dr Kigoda, the Finance and Economic Affairs committee chairman, said this year's budget is good as it has maintained the top priorities of the last budget. He however said the agricultural sector ought to have been given at least eight or nine per cent of the 2008/2009. He said the committee would ensue that the budget should be diagnostic to face the current problems including inflation. According to the budget for 2008/2009 the current expenditure, allocated Sh4.726 trillion, will be subdivided as follows; National debt (Sh648.3m), ministries (Sh2.5 trillion), regions (Sh85.7bn), councils (Sh908.8bn), special expenses (Sh364.4bn) and government salary review (Sh241.4bn). Developmental expenditure, with a slot of Sh2.5 trillion which encompasses Sh938.4bn from domestic sources and Sh1.6 trillion from donor support. The minister told the parliamentarians that the 2008/2009 budget has come when the world is faced with serious inflation caused by increased price of petrol and increased use of crops for industrial purposes. He said the trend is likely to negatively affect economies of developing countries though countries that produce basic goods into the global market may still benefit from increased price following more demand from countries like China, India and Brazil. He added that the situation has clearly indicated the dire need to strengthen exportation of goods and services to other countries. The main challenge facing the government, according to the minister, is the unpredictable donor funding, calling for serious steps to reduce basic expenses, more so those that cannot be interfered with in case donors withdraw their support. In effect, the Government has planned to reduce budget dependence from 41 per cent in 2007/2008 budget to 37 per cent in the 2009/2010 fiscal year, and the basic expenses will be covered will be funded by internal funding as from the next fiscal year. The government, according to Mkulo plans to control inflation by improving monetary mass, improve discussion with various stakeholders for improved money policy. He said implementation and maintenance of the plan would be pegged on availability of goods whose prize increase fast, affecting lives of many people or ban importation of such goods into the country or reduce taxes on such goods when imported. The Government is also determined to increase local production of food crops by giving subsidies in terms of fertilizers and quality seeds to farmers. We have learnt from this experience, the Government has plans to provide farmers with fertilizer at least twice a year, it has centers for farmers to obtain quality seeds and have imported tractors to help ease farming, said Mkulo.