THE World Bank backed 164.6 million US dollar (over 266.7bn/-) Dar es Salaam water supply and sanitation project, which ended in 2010, has failed to improve supply of the precious liquid and its billing system.
Activists challenged the World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi, Philipe Dongier, that the money paid to finance the project should not be repaid by the government because there are no positive results.
"Is it necessary for the government to repay money borrowed to implement a project with the World Bank when there are no results?" asked Agenda Participation 2000 Executive Director, Moses Kulaba. Mr Kulaba said that to a greater extent, the project failed to improve water supply and the billing system before arguing that the failure cannot be attributed to the government alone but also the Breton Wood institution which should shoulder part of the blame.
"I also want to know if the Bank did participate in the procurement of billing meters which do not work," said Kulaba who argued that it is important for the Bank to ensure that loans given to the government serve the interests of the majority of the people.
The project which was supposed to replace aged infrastructure including water supply pipes, pumps, sewerage system and introduce consumer billing meters for the over four million city residents was implemented between 2003 and 2010. "To me, this project was a complete failure," argued Civil and Political Rights Watch (CPRW)'s Executive Director, Marcossy Albanie.
Mr Albanie challenged the Bank to work closely with civil society organizations which are on the ground where such projects are implemented and may easily get feedback from the public. "The World Bank cannot be everywhere so it is important that we revive our cooperation to ensure that we give you feed back," he argued.
He pointed out that Dar es Salaam is still facing chronic water shortages despite the project which has added a burden of debt on local taxpayers while the intended results are not there. World Bank Senior Management Specialist, Mercy Sabai said the project was rated as having performed marginally satisfactory.
Responding to the activists' concerns, Mr Dongier said it is a regulation by the Bank to audit projects that it finances but implementation is the responsibility of the government.
"We need transparency and accountability in our projects which we do with the government," he said pledging to work with CSOs to monitor such projects. As a bank, its role is limited to providing credit and making sure that procurement regulations are followed, "But there is a limit to which we can push the government."