THE government has expressed concern over the low speed in fighting poverty in rural areas and called for more efforts in programmes to reduce poverty in the country.
Permanent Secretary in the President's Office, Peter Ilomo said this in Dar es Salaam during inauguration of the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF) National Steering Committee. "The speed with which poverty is reduced especially in rural areas is not promising, this committee should ensure that TASAF is going to rural areas and bring meaningful changes in people's lives by reducing poverty reduction," he said.
TASAF III was launched in August, last year and is divided in two phases where the first phase is scheduled to end in 2017 and the second phase is expected to end in 2022. He called on the committee to understand and take its objectives seriously and make sure that it is reaching out to the people.
"The focus should be in funding group projects and shun individual ones since the ultimate goal is to reduce poverty among marginalized communities," he said. Mr Ilomo admitted that the fund was facing various challenges including inadequate funds but emphasized on the importance of being strategic in funding development projects as well as visiting people and collect their proposals.
He also warned some of the stakeholders whom he said were misleading the public on the idea behind the fund adding that local government authorities should improve in their supervision role. He directed the committee to ensure that all projects which were scheduled in TASAF II are finalized by June, this year and the implementation report be made available.
The Committee Acting Chairman, Mr Abbas Kandoro noted that the committee would take poverty reduction very seriously despite scarcity in resources. "We are living in a world of scarce resources but we will make sure that such resources are spent strategically to reduce poverty among our people," he said.
Mr Kandoro who is also the Regional Commissioner for Mbeya pledged to make closer follow up to ensure that loans are paid in time to ensure the fund's sustainability. "We call on government authorities at all level to support our initiatives and help in supervisory role," he said.
The objective of TASAF III is to enable poor households increase incomes and opportunities while improving consumption. The objective has been complimented by outcomes which enhance the focus on reducing the numbers of poor and vulnerable people, retaining the importance of community empowerment and community driven development and to incorporate the launch of a nationwide strategy.