The Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Prof Mussa Assad, has accused the Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) of misusing 309.7m/- that had been allocated for erection of signs for people with disabilities in eight regions of Tanzania Mainland.
"Despite TANROADS having allocated 309.7m/- in the year 2015/2016 for erection of signs for people with disabilities in the eight visited regions, only about 15 per cent of required disability signs was installed," the CAG pointed out in his performance report on management of roads furniture.
The CAG conducted interviews with TANROADS regional offices from Dar es Salaam, Coast Region, Dodoma, Tanga, Morogoro, Iringa, Mbeya and Mtwara regions and discovered that some of the funds for disability signs were used for other activities.
For example, he noted, the Mbeya regional office used the funds for road safety activities and procurement of traffic control signal facility which was installed at Mafiat junction.
He said that Mtwara regional office did not install any disability sign despite receiving 21.460m/-in the financial year 2015/2016 for such purpose. Similarly, other regions also reallocated the received safety funds for other maintenance activities. As a result, disability signs were not installed as budgeted for.
"This shows that the regional offices are not keen on attending to issues related to road safety and in particular to road furniture. Out of 718 required signs for people with disabilities, only 106 were installed, which equals to 14.8 per cent of the required signs," the CAG stated in the report.
He further noted that Iringa Region was ranking high on compliance as they installed 100 per cent of the requirement. However, he said, the audit noted that TANROADS has no information for other regions on installation of disability signs. For example, in Dodoma Region, four disability signs were installed in urban area, but the same was not shown in TANROADS data.
TANROADS was supposed to conduct needs assessment to identify the actual demand of disability signs for each region before disbursing the funds. However, the CAG noted, TANROADS allocated funds for financial year 2015/2016 without considering the regional needs. He said that Iringa Region was given 33m/- for installation of 30 signs while Morogoro Region was given 43.3m/- for installation of 504 signs.
"Most of these regions did not plan and establish need for disability sign. Therefore, the given funds were not adequately spent. TANROADS disbursed funds for procuring disability signs based on the coverage of road networks of each region," he said.
In addition to the missing roads furniture, the audit by the CAG also observed roads furniture with poor visibility along Morogoro-Dodoma, Dodoma- Iringa, TANZAM Highway (Igawa-Mbeya) and Mbeya- Lwanjilo-Chunya roads.
"Road signs and markings were not easily seen from a distance during day and night. This is because the materials used were not reflective. Also, the guard rails lacked reflective plates. Further, the audit observed that improper location impaired the visibility of road furniture," he said.
For example, he noted, along Dodoma-Iringa road at GAPCO filling station (Iringa town) and Mbeya-Lwanjilo-Chunya road some zebra crossings were located at sharp bends. Since the pre-opening inspections and safety audits were carried out and highlighted the issues of visibility, the shortfalls should have been dealt with before the roads were handed over to TANROADS.
Also, on Lindi to Mtwara section of Kilwa Road, the audit observed several signs were not visible due to obstruction by long grass and tree leaves. This is a result of inadequate inspections and lack of routine maintenance. Poor visibility of road furniture contributes to road crashes.
The CAG further noted that in Tanzania, most of the road furniture are old, dilapidated and some are not of required standard. This, he said, has to some extent contributed to an increase in road accidents.