Bunge watchdog committee goes to work on NSSF eco village project

10Nov 2016
Polycarp Machira
The Guardian
Bunge watchdog committee goes to work on NSSF eco village project

THE parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has formed a task force to investigate the Kigamboni Satellite Village project being undertaken by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), which has lately become a subject of much controversy.

Kigamboni Satellite Village project

PAC chairperson Naghenjwa Kaboyoka told the National Assembly here that, among other things, the committee wants to ascertain whether the land measurements shown in the project contract are the same as those indicated in the title deeds.

According to the Controller and Audit General (CAG)’s 2014/2015 report, the state-run NSSF entered into a joint venture contract with the privately-run Azimio Housing Estate Limited (AHEL) company to develop 20,000 hectares of land in Dar es Salaam’s Kigamboni suburb, starting with 300 acres in the first phase.

Under the contract, NSSF owns 45 per cent and AHEL 55 per cent of the shares in the massive $653.44 million project.

AHEL was required to supply 20,000 acres of land, equal to 20 per cent of its shareholding, and contribute another 35 per cent in monetary terms towards the project.

But according to the CAG’s report, the project has been hampered by many challenges and is now stalled as the partners seek newer and better ways to fund it amid growing misgivings about the actual size of project land made available.

“Due to these controversies concerning the project, the PAC deems it fit to form a small task force to investigate the matter in more detail and advice the government accordingly,” committee chairperson Kaboyoka said.

She explained that one job of the task force will be to confirm that Azimio Estate does indeed own 19,700 acres of land in the Kigamboni area free of any encumbrances to avoid conflicts with villagers.

It will also do a thorough review of the project contract between NSSF and Azimio Estates, plus other projects undertaken by public organisations on land for equity agreements.

Kaboyoka meanwhile also called on parliament to compel the government to table a serious plan showing how it intends to pay its outstanding debt to the country’s social security funds.

According to the CAG’s report, the government owes the six top social security funds a total of 1.54 trillion/- , of which 754.57 billion/- is the principal amount, 698.8bn/- is interest accrued, and 93.2bn/- in the form of penalty for the repayment delay.

“Despite government promises to repay the debt, the government should be pressed to give a clear repayment schedule, like on a quarterly basis, to avoid further credit risk,” the PAC chairperson told the House.

Singling out the 499.7bn/- debt that is owed to the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) alone up to June 2015, she noted that PSPF is on the verge of collapsing following an actuarial deficit of 11.15tr/-, and the reduced capital makes it difficult to pay members their rightful benefits.

The Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) should also be pressed to consider reducing tax exemptions which totaled 1,6tr/- up to end of June 2015, equivalent to 15.1 per cent of the 10.6tr/- collected revenue, Kaboyoka added.