Tanzania: Industry Ministry's Cash Woes

Dodoma — Disbursement of development funds to the Ministry of Industry and Trade negatively impacted planned projects, with only Sh12.5 per centof budgeted funds released by April, it was reported.

The ministry was expected to receive Sh100.02bn for projects in the 2018/2019 budget, but Parliament heard that a paltry Sh12.5 billion has so far been availed by the government.

Parliament approved a total of Sh143.33 billion for the ministry for both recurrent and development expenditure for the ending financial year. Industry and Trade minister Joseph Kakunda said the government had by April given a total of Sh43bn, out of which Sh30.85bn was for recurrent expenditure.

The minister was tabling his ministry's 2019/20120 budget estimates in which he asked for Sh100.38bn budget.

The revelation immediately raised concern from among MPs who quried the government seriousness, with some noting that the ministry's plans have only remained in papers.

The ministry was entrusted with the task of preparing and coordinating policies that facilitate the development of sustainable industry and trade sectors through creation of enabling environment and provision of improved services.

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Mr Kakunda yesterday outlined at least ten priority areas that his ministry will undertake during the coming financial year (see separate story on this page).

This is not the first time the ministry has received less than a quarter of its development expenditure.

During the 2016/17 budget, only about 19 per cent of the development budget was remitted to the ministry as of April 2017. In the 2017/18 financial year, much of the development budget was not disbursed as well.

Mr Nape Nnauye (Mtama CCM) said most of the ministry's strategies were only on paper, with little to show for implementation.

The Parliamentary Committee on Industries, Trade and Environment urged the government to conduct a thorough investigation on the projects .

The acting chairman of the committee, Colonel (retired)Masoud Ali Khamis, said TBS for example was estimated to get nearly Sh19.3 billion for infrastructure but when they visited the site they found out that more than Sh6.7 billion had been spent in its initial stages.

According to him, after reviewing the project details and visiting the site they concluded that the budget estimates for the project implementation were high.

Meanwhile, the government said yesterday that out of the 156 industries which were privatized, only 88 are operating and 68 are dormant.

Mr Kakunda graded the industries as, 42 which are performing very well, 46 which are performing satisfactorily while 20 of them - whose assets were sold during the privatization process - have been stopped from operating.

The minister told the parliament that some 48 industries stopped operating because their owners failed to run them as per requirements of the privatization contracts while 16 industries have been put under government ownership.

Some 32 industries have been notified to submit their operating plans until May 31 or else they would be taken over by the government.

"Some industries that have already been taken over by the government used them to access huge loans."

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