Monday, September 28, 2015

Election campaigners asked to tout for budget transparency

Discussants over the recently released report of new global budget survey 2015 whose findings indicates that Tanzania ranks the least among the East African countries from being transparent in the provision of budget information to the public, have called on the coming fifth government to address the issue in openness. The survey report which had been released by a local non-profit civil society organization-HakiElimu Tanzania was tabled for discussion yesterday in Dar es Salaam at a breakfast talk organized by Policy Forum which was conducted under the theme titled, “Will the next government prioritize budget transparency”. The report presented by Manager for Research and Policy Analysis. Boniventura Godfrey says that Tanzania is ranked the least after having scored the third position among the EAC countries because it has failed to put in openness national budget information to its citizens. According to statistics given in the report for all 120 countries in the world, among the East African countries, Uganda was ranked the leading with 62 per cent, followed by Kenya with 48 per cent, Tanzania with 46 percent and Rwanda obtained 36 per cent. In the budget preparation process, Tanzania only scored 33 per cent on the opportunities the government provides for the public participation in budget making process, while during the preparation of Controller Accounts General (CAG) report is 50 percent.  Contributing their views over the matter discussants have strongly called on the coming fifth phase government to address the issue, and at the same have asked politicians to weigh up their views over the matter at this time when campaigns for general election is going on. A retired Professor Adolf Mascarenhas of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) said that important matters that deal directly with government budgets must be given priority and put in openness as they might help reveal issues related with corruption malpractices in the country. 

Manager for Research and Policy Analysis of a local non-profit civil society organization-HakiElimu in Tanzania Mr. Boniventura Godfrey

 However, he  has called on politicians and Tanzanians in general to wake up and challenge senior executives who keeps on talking about water, electricity, education and have forgotten to think about sensitive sectors that brings money to develop such necessities. Shabani Mwangondo, a representative of youth desk from UNESCO offices queried the rationale of the government of keeping quite with public information which it is supposed to relay to people in rural areas, calling on the education to be given to the government executives on the importance of such information to the people in the country. James Obeid, a human right activist said that denial of information has led to mistrust among the executives in government sector, an aspect that exacerbates corruption malpractices as people are not fed up enough with the information about their own resources such as gas and minerals. In view of this, he has called on the government to make use of ministerial websites whereby it could disseminate such information to the general public wherever necessary. Datus Pastory from Royal college of Tanzania wonders with the surging government’s budget which has pegged up to Sh. 22 trillion, and the most disappointing thing he has noted is that, with this budget about 83 percent is directed to recurrent expenditure whose information is not open and clear. However, he has castigated the government for not being transparent with tax payer’s money which always is a cause of mutual understanding even in parliamentary proceedings. James Obeid wonders why policemen have turned to become judges on the road sanctioning fines to defaulting drivers on the road, however, he is in doubt if the money collected is taken to the government coffers. He is of the view of the fact that all should be made open and people must be shown a report of the money collected and because of lack of such information the public loses trust with the government. Joshua Mwambande from Human Rights Commission in the country, has suggested that there should be formed a taskforce to monitor budget allocation to verify correct transactions entered into account. He is of the view of the fact that, the taskforce must be empowered by the law so that once it is in operation and discovers any discrepancy somewhere should report the matter to the concerned authorities. In this way however, the situation could bring public trust.

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