Clerk of the National Assembly has called on the three oversight committee of Parliament to improve their performance by equipping themselves with the appropriate and relevant knowledge to effectively control public resources.
Dr Thomas Kashililah made the call when opening a four-day oversight committees’ secretariat meeting on the work of the Controller and Auditor General conducted and hosted by the National Audit Office in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
The Clerk pointed out that the challenge that the parliamentary staff faced was to build their capacity in research, so as to be better able to control public resources.
“Let me express my appreciation to the NAOT and in particular CAG for aiming to equip clerks of the Oversight committee with knowledge, skills and tools of interpreting and analysing critically the report of the CAG at committee level while they are discharging their day to day duties.”
He said the Audit Office and the National Assembly Office were responsible for managing an enormous amount of public resources.
“These institutions have much in common in as far as controlling the public resources and therefore, these institutions must take acceptable risks with other people’s money while working towards safeguarding the public trust,” he said.
He said the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the Local Authorities Accounts Committee (LAAC) and the Public Organizations Accounts (POAC) are entrusted with oversight mandate to the executive and have a role to play on issues of enhancing accountability and good governance in Tanzania through the use of reports and works of the CAG.
“I am sure that the parliament and the judicially are working very hard to ensure that there is an increased accountability and good governance among the institutions which have been vested with the responsibility of serving the people,” said Dr Kashililah.
For his part Juma Mshihiri, Acting CAG said his office will continue with the process of sharing information and expertise on how best the three parliamentary oversight committees can make use of CAG reports to hold the government accountable for the resources entrusted to it.
“It is important that our two offices as agents of public accountability share information and learn from each other how best our two offices can use the mandates bestowed on them in ensuring that there is accountability on the use of public resources,” said Mshihiri.
He said in Tanzania, there are checks in place to ensure that the powers of the executive are used responsibly rather than arbitrarily.
“And that check is our parliament of Tanzania. …the government of the day must answer for its actions to the people’s representatives in parliament,” he noted.
He explained that the people’s right to know how public funds are collected and spent is one of the cornerstones of democratically accountable government.
“To assist this process, the government provides parliament with information about how it uses the public funds entrusted to it. At the same time the parliament needs assurance that this information is appropriate, credible and complete and that it accurately reflects the results of the activities of government,” he added.
Mshihiri told participants that his office job was to give parliamentarians independent, fact-based and reliable information on how programmes being delivered and how they can be delivered better.
“Auditors, we need to be sure that the things we bring to parliament’s attention are not only significant and relevant, but are also clearly presented and done with the utmost professionalism,” said the acting CAG.