Time to stop the endless financial mismanagement

14Apr 2022
The Guardian
Time to stop the endless financial mismanagement

In the past few days big headlines in the country’s media and social networks – including this paper’s lead story yesterday – were about the characteristic grim side in the establishment – how a handful of influential people are stealing citizens’ money left, right and centre,-

- depriving them of quality basic social services - education, health and water, and no one seems to care.

The big story was the Controller and Auditor General Report for 2020/21 Financial Year that was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

As is routine – since times immemorial – CAG reports have been displays of what is outrageously amiss in the nation’s official accounting system and for the government becoming deaf about it.

It would be accurate to say it is the greatest display of the rot that tells much about the country’s difficult drive in poverty eradication as well as the rampant corruption in officialdom.

Hence to merely say the report is a grim side in the establishment’s over six-decade history is perhaps an understatement – but its playing deaf on the shenanigans going on without relent borders the inconceivable.

The report details many cases of negligence on the part of public officials in financial management and accountability resulting in loss of public funds, pilferage through shoddy contracts, outright embezzlement and thievery by officials and sheer lethargy on the part of management.

For example, the latest CAG Report faulted the government over delayed implementation of the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project (JNHPP) which was to be more or less completed end of October last year but was just around halfway due to a number of factors, where the outbreak of COVID-19 was just one reason.

Also, frequent power cuts at the JNHPP area from January to October 2020 led to TANESCO paying the contractor a fine of $8.53m equivalent to 19.51bn/-, the Report states.

It also includes the weird – that audits conducted at the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) showed that 731 male members went through cesarean section (C-section) in delivering babies.

It is in fact shocking to see that misuse of public funds was deep rooted in a government vowing zero tolerance of corruption.

Many hold the view that in order to tame the rampant wastage of taxpayers’ money, the government must shift from depending on “strong personalities” to fight corruption in favour of strengthening institutions of governance.

For many decades repeated calls were being made to have the annual reports used to hold accountable those found to have abused their powers and caused the government losses running into billions of shillings, with some calling for outright court action against the culprits.

The latest CAG Report is the last one that covered the Phase V administration, that as stated had vowed zero tolerance to corruption, but Tanzanians are yet to see the results of that pledge, instead business we still see business-as usual, happy-go-lucky style of public resource management.

We are therefore reminding that something has to be done if merely to show that the current administration is in reality different to its predecessors.