4 February 2013

Tanzania: Use Research Data to Advise Govt, MPs Urged

Dodoma — MEMBERS of Parliament have been urged to advise the government using well researched information, data and statistics to help it find workable solutions to various development areas.

The Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee for Social Services, Ms Jenista Mhagama, said during the weekend here that it was crucial that researchers present their findings to parliamentary committees to enable them present scientific advice and challenges to the government.

She was addressing a seminar organised by the Tanzania Coalition on Debt and Development (TCDD) which presented its research findings on the state of education and health services in the country. "We need more researches in various areas of development to be able to advise the government accordingly, since apart from having scientific information, they sharpen skills of the MPs in a number of aspects," she said.

TCDD conducted a survey in Morogoro, Iramba, Kiteto, Kibaha, Masasi, Lindi and Mbalali Districts in 2011 being part of its three-year project aimed at visiting 24 districts to evaluate the development and challenges facing the two sectors. The research findings, despite a number of challenges on both sectors, showed slight improvement as a result of implementation of Tanzania Poverty Reduction Strategy popularly known in Swahili acronym as MKUKUTA 11.

Presenting the findings, the Assistant Lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, Mr Richard Shukia, said overall there have been drastic improvement in school enrolments but infrastructure in many schools are still in pathetic conditions.

He said there was serious lack of financial reports in both sectors while schools and health centres receive meagre subsidies than the amount requested and actual figures promised by the government.

"A study has shown that capitation grants of Sh25,000 per student as promised by the government have not been released as required, while there are no reports of income and expenditure in many schools which makes it difficult for heads of schools to effectively run them," he said.

However, the report noted slight increase in education and health budgets in various districts hence facilitating improvement of basic infrastructure including construction of more ward secondary schools and health centres. It also revealed that almost 80 per cent of the local communities are not aware of the flow of funds and their expenditures since financial reports if any, are not made available to them.

Discussing the report, MPs challenged the government to focus on improvement of the existing infrastructure in both sectors instead of keeping on investing in construction of buildings with poor facilities or no facilities at all. Others insisted on effective flow of information to local communities and asked for professional keeping of financial records, including employing professional accountants and procurement officers.

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