18 January 2013

Tanzania: From the House of Reps

Zanzibar — HOSPITALS in Zanzibar are failing to feed patients due to lack of funds, according to the deputy minister for health, Dr Sira Ubwa Mamboya.

Responding to questions from irked members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives, Sira said that what her ministry gets from the government for hospitals' operations remains diminutive even to feed patients.

"For the past six months, patients at Mnazi-Mmoja hospital have not been getting food; while at psychiatric hospital patients get insufficient food. It's very sad because most of the patients are from poor families," complained Mr Saleh Nassor Juma (CUF-Wawi).

Mr Jaku Hashim Ayoub (CCM-Muyumi) and Mr Salmin Awadhi Salmin (CCM-Magomeni) also raised concern demanding the government to provide food to patients. Mamboya admitted that her ministry has not been keeping a consistent supply of food to patients at main hospitals of Mnazi Mmoja, Mwembeladu maternal hospital, and the Kidongo-Chekundu psychiatric hospital.

"It is a fact that we get insufficient funds for running our hospitals including food for patients. We need at least 6.6m/- for food monthly, but we get very little amount of money prompting the hospital to provide only one meal per day at the psychiatric hospital," she said.

She said that, for example, last year the government allocated only 10m/- for the day-to-day activities which include purchasing oxygen, diesel for vehicles & standby generator, cleaning equipment, allowances for doctors, and food!"

The deputy minister said that her ministry has cut-off food supply for patients at Mnazi-Mmoja, and Mwembeladu hospitals, due to lack of funds, and that the priority is Kidongo-Chekundu psychiatric hospital.

Isles forms 108 children's councils

ZANZIBAR has formed more than 108 children's councils (CC), in a bid to help in child development, the Minister for Social Welfare, Children and Women Development, Ms Zainab Omar Mohammed, informed the House on Wednesday.

"We have begun working on the formation of the children's councils in almost all districts of Unguja and Pemba. These are important forums for children to share ideas and practices," the minister said when responding to questions from legislators. She mentioned some of the districts with CCs, and their numbers in brackets, as South Unguja (10), West District (32), Chakechake (29), Wete (13), and Micheweni (11).

Ms Zainab was responding to questions from Mr Jaku Hashim Ayoub (CCM-Muyuni), who wanted to know how far the ministry had gone in implementing the formation of children's councils.

House okays grant of subvention amendment bill

MEMBERS of the Zanzibar House Representatives have unanimously approved a bill paving way for political parties to start receiving grants of subvention soon after the presidential assents. Winding up the debate before the lawmakers voted to approve, the Minister of State (political parties affairs in Zanzibar), Mr Mohammed Aboud, said that only "parties which meet the requirements will benefit."

The Bill for 'an Act to amend the Political Parties (Grant of Subvention) Act No.6 of 1997 and other mattersÉ' was tabled by Aboud, who admitted that the government could not implement the law since 1997 because of financial difficulties.

The law required the government to disburse one per cent of the annual recurrent budget. He said amendment on the bill include 'the government shall disburse not more than one per cent of the annual government recurrent budget as a grant of subvention to qualifying political parties in pursuance of the provision of this Act.'

"Twenty-five per cent of the funds to a political party which won the presidential seat; fifty per cent to political parties on the basis of the ratio of constituencies won in the House; and twenty-five per cent to political parties on the bases of the ratio of wards won in the local government election.

Contributing to debate, the legislators supported the bill that it was timely, but some of the lawmakers were of the view that it was yet another big load to the Zanzibar taxpayers at a time of economical challenges.

Mr Abdallah Mohamed Ali (CUF-Mkoani) and Mr Makame Mshimba Mbarouk (CCM-Kitope) said the bill was good, but were skeptical about whether the government was ready. "Is it necessary for Zanzibar to give the grant since the union government is doing so?

I think we would think of improving welfare of civil servants first," said Mshimba. Mr Ismail Jussa Landu (CUF-Mjimkongwe), and Mr Saleh Nassor Juma (CUF-Wawi) proposed that the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) should be empowered to monitor the use of the grants, and Mr Rufai Said Rufai suggested that the payment of the grant should start from year 2000.

Some legislators had suggested that political parties should get the grant, since the aim is to build democracy, but Mr Omar Ali Shehe (CUF-Chakechake) said that Tanzania needs to have only few serious political parties.

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