Dodoma — The Minister of State in the President's Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Mr George Simbachawene, has requested Parliament to approve Sh6.58 trillion for the Teachers' Commission, 26 regions and 185 local councils.
Out of the sum, Sh1.78 trillion will finance development projects, while Sh4.08 trillion will be for the recurrent expenditure. Last year, Parliament approved Sh6.02 trillion for the ministry with Sh1.6 trillion being for development projects.
However, up to February this year the ministry had received Sh3.56 trillion equivalent to 59 per cent of the approved budget, according to Mr Simbachawene. The local councils were also supposed to collect Sh665.4 billion from their own sources, but up to March 2017 they had collected only Sh351.7 billion, equivalent to 52.8 per cent of the target.
He promised last year that the local councils would start using electronic systems in collecting revenue to control losses and up to March 2017, 177 out of 185 councils (96.2 per cent) had started using the system.
Furthermore, Mr Simbachawene said the government had removed 13,369 workers from the payroll after discovering that they were either absent, dead or retired from the local authorities as the state cracked down on ghost workers. Reports show that these ghost workers were causing the government a loss of Sh25.4 billion on a monthly basis.
"We have managed to recover Sh2.7 billion of that amount and there are efforts to make sure the remaining amount is repaid and take serious measures against individuals, who were involved in such losses," he said as he tabled the 2017/18 budget for his docket.
He went on to explain that 541 ghost workers were found in the regional secretariat, while 12,828 of them were in the local government.
Mr Simbachawene also said the government had taken disciplinary measures against 102 public servants, including terminating their jobs, issuing them with warnings, demoting, reducing their salaries, suing and asking them to repay money lost in their jobs.
Mr Simbachawene told the House that the government had formed a team to solve the conflicts between villages, districts, regions and that of farmers and pastoralists to address land conflicts.
He said the team was working in collaboration with the ministries of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development; PO-Ralg; Natural Resources and Tourism; Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries; and that of Water and Irrigation.
"Already the team has submitted its report which is being reviewed by permanent secretaries," he said.
The government had identified 346,889 elderly people and 74,590 were given identities to enable them access free health service as required by the policy. He said health centres, district and regional hospitals had allocated special rooms for attending the elderly people.
Mr Simbachawene also said the government would continue forming committees of disabled in 26 regions as a way to reach them easily.
The minister of state said 184 councils had set Sh56.8 billion from their own sources for women and youth funds in 2016/17.