5 June 2014

Tanzania: Dar Seeks to Cut Budget Donor Dependency

Dodoma — THE government has promised to reduce over dependence on donors in budget allocations by pulling more resources from domestic sources, following a bad experience in the fiscal year ending this month.

The matter rose in the National Assembly on Tuesday evening during the winding up session of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare budget estimates for the 2014/15 fiscal year where MPs wanted the government to explain as to why more than half of the development budget for the ministry had not been released.

The Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr Adam Malima, admitted that over dependence on donors was a problem and that though the ministry's budget for the next financial year seems to have been reduced, it was due to the fact that the government was trying to be realistic.

He added that in the ending fiscal year the government had estimated to release 282.5bn/- from domestic sources out of which 248.8bn/- had been released by last month.

"However, it should be noted that 471bn/- was to be sourced from development partners but only 120bn/- has been released and that is why in the coming fiscal year we are trying to be more realistic by setting a budget which will depend largely on domestic sources," he said.

He noted that donors through General Budget Support (GBS) and Basket Fund were expected to contribute less to the ministry's budget in the next fiscal year.

Mr Malima was responding to Ms Cecilia Paresso (Special Seats-Chadema) who had raised concern over the decrease in budget allocation from 753bn/- for the ending fiscal year to 622.9bn/- for the next financial year.

Ms Paresso also wanted the government's commitment in releasing the rest of the monies that were to be spent in the 2013/14 fiscal year for the ministry's development projects.

Mr Malima said that the government could not give its commitment on the matter as much of the monies were to be released by donors.

The Minister without Portfolio, Prof Mark Mwandosya, said that the government will contact donors to see what they would release for the remaining time.

Prof Mwandosya, who was speaking as the acting head of government affairs in the House, also noted that the government would try to look for possibilities of getting funds even from other sectors and channel them to health sector given the sensitivity of the sector in people's lives.

Earlier, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (Coordination, Policy and Parliament Affairs), Mr William Lukuvi noted that the government will give more commitments after discussing various suggestions with the budget committee.

"Social services committee has made various suggestions to improve the Ministry of Health's budget estimates but these matters will be discussed for six days from Thursday (today) with the budget committee where conclusions will be communicated in the House," he said.

In another development, the Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Seif Rashid said the government will employ 11,200 new staff in a move aimed at reducing shortage of staff in hospitals, health centres and dispensaries countrywide.

He added that already, 5 900 have been employed but about 400 have reported to work, calling for new staff to be ready to work in any part of the country in a bid to achieve the government's target of spreading health workers evenly.

Dr Rashid noted that though the ministry's budget has gone down to 622.9bn/-, it should be noted that local authorities will be given a budget of 995.2bn/- to be spent in improving health services and thus in total 1.5trn/- will be spent in the sector in 2014/15.

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