Achieving Results: Four Challenges to Government, Donors and MPs

Government, donors and Members of Parliament have been challenged to make decisions that will enable Tanzanians achieve better results from their tax and donor money.

In this policy brief Uwazi presses for a more transparent budget process; implementation of the recommendations of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), and a focus on learning in primary schools. The brief says effective management of public resources remains elusive because the budget process is opaque, and citizens and oversight bodies lack a substantive voice in it. It notes further that efforts to improve primary education have disproportionately focused on increasing enrolment, failing to ensure that children actually learn while in school.  

The brief observes that the budget process remains almost exclusively the turf of insiders in government and the donor community. Quoting from the Open Budget Survey 2010  the brief notes that the budget process is not transparent, and that citizens, NGOs and even Members of Parliament lack substantive information about how tax and donor money are allocated and spent. According to the Open Budget Survey 2010 Tanzania publishes only three out of eight key budget documents, even though most of these documents are being prepared by the authorities. The brief also notes that when documents are shared, it is often too late to be of use to citizens and Parliament. It argues for making the budget process more transparent, by producing on a timely basis all key budget documents and creating time and space for budget scrutiny by the public and Members of Parliament.

The brief questions the slow pace in addressing the recommendations by the Controller and Auditor General’s  to improve public financial management. Those not following procurement and financial rules currently go unpunished as incentives are lacking to rectify the wrongs identified by the Controller and Auditor General. As good performance is not rewarded an accumulation of unresolved audit queries is the result. As a consequence between 2006/07 and 2009/10 tax payers resources involved in unresolved audit queries increased from 1.3 percent to 15 percent of the governments budget.

On quality of education the brief quotes a recent survey by Uwezo that uncovered how the majority of children in primary school learns too little. The brief suggests focusing the primary education program on learning, away from its current focus on enrolment. This can be done by aligning incentives of teachers and schools with learning and by reinventing the school inspection programme.

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