Speaking yesterday during a one-day visit of the committee in Iringa, vice chairperson of the committee, Najma Giga said Iringa Region has been able to effectively put into effect the devolution of powers enacted by parliament.
She said that through the committee, members of parliament approved proposals to adopt a law that would give full powers of the central government to register and extend the service to the public more closely.
Giga, who is also the chairperson of the Standing Committee of Parliament on constitution and law added that the reformed legislation on the births and death as well as the law of decentralization from central government to local government, has eliminated the accumulation of many under five-children without birth certificates in the country.
She said that RITA is active in 15 regions of Tanzania, and Iringa Region is one of the regions that have done well with enrolling five-year-olds since the programme was launched, and urged RITA to reach all remaining regions with the programme.
In addition, the registration of children under the age of five initiatives (U5BRI) officially started in Iringa region on 22/09/2016 after the then Minister for Constitution and Justice Dr Harrison Mwakyembe launched the programme at Mwembetogwa grounds in Iringa Municipality.
Prior to the launch, various government officials who are involved in the day-to-day registration and certification process for children under-five, also staff who are known as assistant registrars, those at all health facilities with maternal and child care centres as well as all ward officials (WEOs) were trained.
After one month about 127,000 children were enrolled in the system of RITA database and reached the 100 per cent registration target.
Due to the continued success in the registration of Iringa region, RITA in collaboration with development partners such as UNICEF and TIGO's mobile network agreed to make Iringa region a pilot site for death registration and to issue death certificates without payment.
The death registration exercise officially started in July 2018 and has been a great help to the public as the deceased's relatives when in need of such certificates on time and free of charge.
According to the Coordinator of the Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) in Iringa Jonathan Magoti, the decentralisation of power to local government had made it easier to register more children under five because before that citizens had to go to district heads (DCs).
He said that there are currently 361 centers offering such registrations adding that an average of 1650 births and 340 deaths are registered compared to the previous 400 births registered and 70 deaths per month.
Magoti further explained that the registration of children under five years old and adults and 30-day unregistered deaths takes place at the district heads office, the office of the district administrative secretary, since various institutions or authorities require such certificates for certification of age, names and validity of the relevant event.
"As of 23/01/2020 a total of 4,337 deaths and a total of 212,007 births have been registered in the system in the Iringa region," said Magoti.
The Acting Executive Director of RITA Emmy Hudson said that over four million children have been registered and given birth certificates in 15 regions in the country.
RITA also called on all parliamentarians and officials to help them educate all citizens about the importance of taking birth certificates as they are provided free of charge, and that the service has been moved closer to them.
For his part, Minister of Constitution and Justice Dr Augustine Mahiga, who is also a member of the constitutional and legislative committee, said the government’s plan is to ensure that every newborn is registered and given a certificate within a short period of time.
The minister also praised the efforts of various stakeholders in the country in support of the government efforts in implementing its plans considering that the government needs to have accurate information about the population in order to effectively plan for the budget.
“The need for accurate data of people is important to make the government plan and provide social services to its people and plan for the budget accordingly,” Dr Mahiga stated.
He said that in order for the government to properly plan for it, accurate records of births and deaths must be provided so that a range of social services are in line with the budget.
Dr Mahiga also asked the Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) to work closely with religious institutions to ensure that the government's goals for enrollment of children under five and death certificates are fulfilled.
He asked religious leaders to help provide education to their believers and the public on the importance of taking birth certificates as they are provided free of charge, and that the service has been moved closer to them.
Adding that in order to facilitate the issuance of these certificates funded by Unicef, the Tigo telecommunications company and the Canadian Embassy in the country, stakeholders like religious organisations are important.
According to the 2012 Census, Iringa Region had a population of 941,238 of which were 452,052 men and 489,186 women with an average annual population increase of 1.1 percent.
Estimates of the population according to statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics, for 2018 show Iringa Region has a population of 1,095,172 males being 530,544 and 564,628 females.
The region has a total area of 35,743 square kilometers, of which 33,038.80 square kilometers are of arid land and 2,704.20 square kilometers of water area.
Iringa Region is divided into three districts namely Iringa, Mufindi and Kilolo, and is also divided into five councils namely Iringa Municipality, Mafinga Town Council. Iringa District Council, Mufindi and Kilolo district councils.
In addition, the region is subdivided into 15 Divisions, 106 wards, 360 Villages, 222 streets and 1,840 hamlets.