THE government has asked Development Partners to adhere to the commitments they make in the General Budget Support (GBS), noting that reneging on such pledges has seriously affected the disbursement schedule.
The Minister for Finance, Dr William Mgimwa, made the call in Dar es Salaam during the 2012 Budget Support Annual Review in Dar es Salaam with Development Partners.
He noted that over the past few years, the GBS partners have not met the agreed commitments of front loading 95 per cent of commitment in the first quarter, which causes a huge challenge on the government side as far as implementation of the budget is concerned. "I pray that this trend should not be encouraged.
As of today, for example, GBS disbursement for 2012/2013 is only 70 per cent against the agreed target of 95 per cent for the first quarter of the financial year", noted the minister. He said that the experience of the last two financial years reveals that the GBS modality is facing some challenges which need to be addressed if it is to remain a long term predictable financing instrument.
"We are witnessing signs of non-adherence to the agreed commitments and principles as laid out in the Partnership Framework Memorandum (PFM)É this has seriously affected the disbursement schedule," he said. "In the spirit of partnership let's identify and address the hardships that the GBS challenge is facing," he asked.
Attendants were Permanent Secretaries from various ministries, Ambassadors and High Commissioners from countries supporting the Budget, Resident Representatives, Heads of Development Cooperation and other Government officials. "With other modalities such as sending aid direct to the basket fund on development projects, it is not easy for us to measure impact," he said.
Challenges, he said, were that there was a weakness in the time the donors took to disburse the funds, but that in June this year, when he called for front loading, for donors to disburse at least 55 per cent of the target funds before the end of the first quarter, had been respected.
Among the issues they agreed on last year's GBS annual review was linking tangible results to the GBS's Performance Assessment Framework (PAF), reviving the Public Expenditure Review (PER) process as a tool for strengthening budget management and systems that aim at promoting accountability and efficiency in utilization of public resources.
He said that GBS is the government's preferred modality for providing official development assistance because it gives the government full ownership over resource allocation in line with national priorities for the implementation of the Mkukuta and other national policies, strategies, plans and programmes.
He therefore used the opportunity to urge Development Partners to increase the GBS share in their portfolio. He pledged that the government on its part will continue to strengthen its systems and processes for ensuring that the funds received are effectively allocated, managed and accounted for in support of the country's growth, development and poverty reduction efforts.
But he said donors took issue with some challenging areas in the social services especially health where gaps are still glaring in terms of public service delivery. "The Development Partners have indicated that these areas are a challenge. For example, the quality of health services in health centres where you don't find enough drugs or human resources to take care of the patients in need," he said.