Sunday, June 1, 2014

Water sector benefits little from allocated funds

While there is increase in the budget for Tanzania water sector it has been revealed that a fraction of the amount is actually spent on water projects. The observation was made yesterday in Dar es Salaam during the monthly breakfast debate on ‘the national budget 2014/15: what are the emerging issues in the water and health sector?’ which was organized by Policy Forum. Namwaka Mwaikinda, Director of Policy at Water Aid Tanzania, said the review shows lack of technical audits, and little money disbursed is spent properly. Making a presentation titled ‘more money for water: fiction or fact’ Mwaikinda mentioned donor dependency, delay in disbursement and low release as three weaknesses the sector is facing. On the same topic other stakeholders said there is money in water sector, stating that existing challenges are not a matter of insufficient funds. Rather, the money is not used appropriately for lack of implementation. One of them Audrea Moser said besides implementation the sector needs to have realistic input figures. Others noted that even if the sector got money at the right time the problem would persist because not all the allocated money goes to the sector as planned. Casmir Mabina from Comco Clean Energy Consultant said: “Donor dependant budget is not a problem but the implementers even if they get adequate money, small amounts of allocated money is actually put to proper use while the rest goes where we cannot trace”. On his part Saqware Naniyo a Forum Stakeholder explained that there is big difference between the allocated and used funds. Saqware recommended the only solution is to put to establish strong mechanism to ensure the allocated funds should tally the amount used. Additionally, the sector lacks effective monitoring. The forum also debated issues emerging in the health sector with regard to present and future trends of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare presented by the Frorian Schweitze, Health Governance and Finance Department of SIKIKA. Schweitzer expressed disappointment, saying in the government priority areas, the health sector is missing unlike energy and natural gas, agriculture, water, education, transport and mobilization of resources. Schweitzer recommended the government should recognize the need for provision of essential medicines and medical supplies as basic human right to be progressively realized. However, another forum member Casmir Mabina said the priority in Big Result Now (BRN) queried why the health sector is not given priority. On her part Magdalena Mathias said there is mi sense in increasing budget allocation in the health sector annually if the poor people do not access the service.

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