Tasaf financing can also be revamped for better results

11Jun 2021
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Tasaf financing can also be revamped for better results

THERE has been mutual praise lately from officials of the World Bank and the Tanzania Social Action Fund (Tasaf) on the manner in which the fund has implemented agreed projects.

This has brought the World Bank to express its readiness to continue funding Tasaf’s Tanzania Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN) project.

The bank says that the project has proved to be one of the best ways to reduce poverty, an assertion by its executive director for a group of African countries.

Not only is the bank committed to continuing supporting Tasaf but it is also even contemplating more funds in the belief that the programme is transforming the lives of many people and boosting development.

When such remarks come from a donor agency, it would ordinarily be hard to suggest the need for improvement of how things are going at the local level – without extremely good reasons to do so.

The point is that President Samia Suluhu Hassan was at the start of the week expressing misgivings about what we have achieved with more than 2.0trn/- meant for women’s empowerment.

The point hence is that, much as the funds going into women’s empowerment and those going to Tasaf may have originated from distinctive sources, chances are that the World Bank is one of the principal sources in both funding spheres.

In that case, their results must largely be comparable or having a number of things in common even if there was some tangible difference in design, where the Tasaf projects would be shoulder higher.

More pointedly, it can be said that the president’s remarks were more to the point and focused on the bottom line, while the World Bank executive directed tended to be generous.

This is especially so in that the WB director, Dr Taufila Nyamadzabo, has visited Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania, where similar programmes are being undertaken, and concluded that Tanzania’s project implementation showed greater promise.

The first two countries are in a constant war situation and may not have the organisational parameters needed for sober project implementation and appraisal, while Kenya has greater land-based costs or wages and a higher level of direct and indirect corruption. In that case, Tanzania may stand out not for agility, with the others crippled.

Tasaf executive director Ladislaus Mwamanga says that the projects are aimed at improving the economic status of the beneficiaries, this as part of the plan to have them form savings groups.

He says that through such groups, beneficiaries saved over 5.9bn/- that is now revolving in the groups – an important observation on what can be done not just for Tasaf funds but even for women’s empowerment financing as a whole.

Instead of giving people cash and then hoping that they will save, it can be done differently. The design can be changed into a revolving fund from the start, where it isn’t the poverty but minimal trust that brings a loan.

Those groups may add administrative chocking points and have little extra cash to suit each person’s needs, if the cash is the savings they have.

Savings and credit cooperatives are better in that they borrow from financial institutions and are more flexible in the loan amounts and return period, and less peer-based for resource amounts.