Wednesday, May 15, 2013

It’s time we ended our dependence on donors

 Courtesy: The Citizen

Donor funding accounts for 29 per cent of our national budget. This means that development projects have been starved of money. But the road gets even more bumpy. Last week, the European Union announced that its funding might not be wholly channelled into the usual kitty – the general budget support – but via other means, including non-governmental organisations. As the saying goes, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Despite assurances that pledges will be honoured, we acknowledge that the Western world has yet to recover from its own economic woes and grants may not flow as smoothly as expected.
Developing countries have seen financial handouts dwindle before their eyes. Tanzania expected to receive Sh397.051 billion for infrastructure in 2012/13 financial year. But only Sh16.361 billion had been released as of March. Donor funding for development projects in 2013/14 will be Sh397.051 billion.

But MPs have criticised the ministry of Works for seeking parliamentary approval of Sh845.226 billion for improving infrastructure during the coming financial year while no mention has been made of repaying loans. It is understood that, up to March 2013, the ministry owed wananchi and contractors Sh348.666 billion.
The chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Prof Juma Kapuya, asked the government whether Sh845.226 billion included payments for part of or all outstanding debts or new projects.

He raised his concern on Monday after Works minister John Magufuli sought approval of Sh1.226 trillion: Sh845.226 billion for development and the balance for recurrent expenditure.
We call on the government to be frugal, widen the tax base, minimise duty waivers,  plug loopholes and fight pilferage and theft. More than five decades of independence and with the benefit of peace, ample resources and skilled workforce, it is a shame for Tanzania to depend on donors to fund its projects--when it ought to be supporting other unfortunate countries financially.


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