Budget review time — we’ve some explaining to do


JF-Expert Member
Feb 11, 2007
Budget review time — we’ve some explaining to do

By KARL LYIMO lyimokarl@hotmail.com

It was budget review season yet again, as Tanzania’s development partners came visiting to talk about the nation’s lifeline: donor support for the budget.

For a week from October 29, they talked with Tanzanian officials regarding the operations of their general budgetary support. This is important, as the country’s budget is more than 40 per cent donor-dependent.

GENERAL BUDGETARY support is one way in which the Group of 14 aids Tanzania, injecting funds into the budget. Others are basket funds for a particular sector or programme, and project funds for specific projects.

Budgetary support for the 2007/08 financial year stood at $673 million or 15 per cent of the country’s $5.14 billion expenditure. If you factor in support under the other schemes, the figure shoots up to 41 per cent.

THIS IS bad enough. Kenya, a fellow member of the East African Community, has less than five per cent of its budget supported by donors, much as it is no match to Tanzania when it comes to natural resources. Yet, Kenya is not on the world’s least developed countries’ list of shame!

AGAIN, NOT only is Tanzania the third largest producer of gold in Africa after South Africa and Ghana, it is also home to a variety of other precious minerals — including the unique tanzanite — as well as natural gas, fishery and forestry products, arable land, water bodies, tourist attractions, and a million other God-given goodies.

But this has not stopped it from being the 4th poorest country in the world, a beggar state that routinely depends on external donations to scrape through a day at a time in the backwaters of the global economy.

Why are the people of such a rich country so poor?

THE FOUNDER of the nation, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, stipulated that, for Tanzania to develop, it needed land, people, good policies and good leadership. The first two we have in abundance, so the inescapable reason for our poverty must lie in the last two.

Policies may sound wonderful on paper. But, problems arise when you have beggar-thy-neighbour type of leaders. That’s Tanzania today, living from hand to mouth — never mind the 41 per cent budgetary support.

BUT THIS cannot go on forever. In recent weeks, allegations of corruption against high-placed public officials and hitherto hallowed institutions like the Central Bank have rent the air.

No one expects humans to be infallible. But, when for example the Buzwagi mining contract is signed in a private hotel abroad on a weekend, when the Richmond power deal is signed at night, and when a dubious company, Deep Green Tanzania, opens a bank account on a public holiday, are the transactions above-board?

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE to the charges has been desultory, at best economical with the truth. Clearly, this has irked donors.

As the British High Commissioner in Dar told the budgetary support review panel, “? it is important that the government is seen proactively to address the allegations: to investigate, to explain where allegations are misconceived, and to prosecute where the evidence warrants it.”

ANYTHING SHORT of that, and Tanzania could kiss its development partners goodbye. What a tragedy!

Karl Lyimo is a freelance journalist based in Dar.
Kuna tatizo la kimsingi kwenye mfumo wetu wa bajeti. We lack a BUDGET MONITORING AND VERIFICATION COMMITTEE.

Kuna ushahidi unaoonyesha kwamba baadhi ya fedha zinatengwa lakini hazitumiki kwenye maeneo yaliyotajwa. Kwa mfano, utafiti uliofanywa karibuni na Haki Elimu uligundua kwamba kwenye bajeti ya Elimu kulikweko na maeneo yaliyoidhinishiwa fedha na Bunge lakini fedha zenyewe hazikutumika kweli kwenye maeneo yaliyotajwa. Haifahamiki kama ziliibiwa au zilitumika kwenye maeneo mengine.

Kukosekana ukweli na njia za kuhakiki kwenye bajeti kunaharibu maana ya bajeti. Ina maana gani kutenga fedha kiasi kadhaa kwa ajli ya shughuli fulani wakati huna nia ya kuzitumia hivyo?

Kuna haja kubwa ya kuwa na kamati, tena huru, ya udhibiti wa bajeti. Kama Bunge likitenga fedha wa ajili ya kitu fulani, ni kinyume cha sheria kuzitumia vinginevyo. Lakini hilo linafanyika sana. Naamini viongozi wanaoacha kuweka mfumo wazi wa kuhakiki bajeti wanafanya hivyo ili kuacha mwanya wa kupora mali ya uma.

Katika hali kama hii, ni wazi kabisa kwamba ni heri wafadhili wakatoa fedha kwa ajili ya miradi, na sio general budgetary support. Kama hakuna uwazi na uhakiki kwenye bajeti, si vema kumwaga mapesa huko.

Mfano mwingine ni kama hivi: Kwenye bajeti ya 2006 /2007 zilitengwa zaidi ya shilingi bilioni 200 kwa ajili ya "kununua au kukodisha vifaa vya kuzalisha umeme". Kwenye bajeti ya sasa (2007 /2008) zimetengwa tena zaidi ya shilingi bilioni 200 kwa ajili hiyo hiyo. Sasa, fedha zote hizo ambazo jumla yake ni dola milioni 400, zimetumika, au zitatumika "kukodisha au kununua vifaa vya kuzalisha umeme" kweli? Nani atahakikisha hazitumiki kwa hila? Na iweje zikodishe wakati zinatosha kununua mitambo mipya ya kuzalisha umeme?
Same old.....different day. Kama serikali ingekuwa seriuos inataka kuondokana na aibu hiyo this is very possible. Chini ya miaka mitano tu, kukiwa na Kiongozi serious everything will change. Tatizo ni mismanagement of the economy, corruption, poor planning list ni ndefu na iko wazi. What do you expect na viongozi ambao wanasema hawajui hata ni kwanini nchi yao maskini!
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