Tanzania`s development partners have committed USD 495 million equivalent to 776bn/- to support the government budget in the 2012/13 financial year compared to the 869.4bn/- pledged for the year ending next month.
The European Union said in a statement availed to The Guardian yesterday that General Budget Support (GBS) donors have committed themselves to disbursing more than half of their contribution in the first quarter to help the smooth implementation of the 2012/13 budget.
The EU delegation which chaired the group of twelve GBS development partners for the last year, said: “This commitment is based on three key issues: a satisfactory annual review outcome in 2011; an improved dialogue in some critical sectors over the past year; and the reforms of GBS over the last two years that have instilled a multi-year monitoring framework focused on the way public finances are spent.”
They pointed out that the events of the past few weeks have proved that domestic oversight institutions are playing an active role in analysing government performance and calling for action where underperformance is identified.
“Over the coming year continued and strong attention will be paid to the way public finances are spent by closely monitoring how the findings in the latest Controller and Auditor General’s annual report are being acted upon, including at local government level,” they said in their statement.
They stressed improvements in budget execution that mirrors the budget approved by Parliament would be important.
“We look forward to reinvigorated dialogue through the Public Expenditure Review Group in financial year 2012/2013,” they said.
The GBS annual cycle has been re-energised by strategically focusing on three core themes, which include strengthening dialogue to improve the way GBS development partners and key Government partners discuss Tanzania’s development challenges and to delivering results to ensure that development results in Tanzania are regularly monitored and reviewed.
The third category is improving accountability to increase the ability of the citizens to hold their government to account.
“These themes helped to focus the way in which the government of Tanzania and its GBS development partners have discussed the development challenges facing the country through the year,” said the partners.
The new GBS Chair – the UK’s Department for International Development is proposing to manage GBS around the same core themes when it takes over the GBS Chairperson role for one year from this month.
The partners said GBS is helping the government to get more children into school, to invest in transport infrastructure and to bring down the costs of doing business.
Notable results tracked in 2011 included the delivery of annual capitation grants of 25,000/- per student to all government secondary schools, and the reduction in the number of days taken by Business Registration and Licensing Agency (BRELA) to register a company from 6.9 days in 2009 to 3 days in 2011.
Partners said challenges remained however, exemplified by the crisis in the energy sector, adding: “The quality of education was also in and out of the media focus with attention focusing on the poor Standard Four pass rates and the recent report by the CAG which shows a 41 percent shortfall in development budget transfers compared to the budget approved by Parliament.”
They said figures based on Bank of Tanzania May 2 exchange rates and the way in which the GBS development partners and key Tanzanian stakeholders discuss corruption has improved. A high level dialogue was put in place in 2011 and ran the course of the year to provide a formal structure to discuss the active fight against corruption.
The high level dialogue around corruption is expected to continue in 2012 and results from these processes will be tracked through the year, the partners said.
They stressed that clear results in the fight against corruption are crucial for economic and social development in Tanzania as well as for GBS to be an efficient and effective development cooperation instrument.
The EU Ambassador to Tanzania, Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, said the improved set of results posted in 2011 must be sustained.
“Throughout the coming year the GBS development partners will closely monitor the openness and transparency of the budget and the value for money Tanzanian citizens get from Government expenditure. We will also pay close attention to Government's implementation of the CAG report recommendations,” he noted
The EU Ambassador also said the year ahead will also see a renewed focus on a selected set of issues such as management of natural resources which is a critical component of Tanzania moving beyond aid and increasingly relying on revenues from agriculture and its mineral and potential gas reserves.
The partners offering budget support include the African Development Bank, Canada, Denmark, European Union, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and the World Bank.