The new directive by the president to cabinet ministers was issued in Dar es Salaam yesterday by the Director of Information Services, Hassan Abbas.
Abbas said the move has been instituted to ensure that the media including the public easily track national agendas set by the government for implementation.
He said ministers will be required to provide the status of budget implementation every month, by announcing government priorities and challenges facing the implementation of the set development projections.
“All ministers have been provided with the programme regarding schedules to speak to the media and the public at large on the feedback on their budget implementation,” he explained.
“The government will not tolerate excuse of respective ministers intentionally or otherwise denying the public access to information on how he or she is implementing development plans with regard to the current financial year budget,” the director intoned.
The move would also promote transparency and create awareness among the public on budget allocations, he said, noting further that the public has the right to know what is going on regarding promises made by the government in the Budget as a follow up to the general election campaign.
Implementation of those promises is among government strategies on improving the performance of ministers and other public executives in talking to the public.
The Directorate of Information has introduced a mechanism of providing monthly reports on implementation of plans at national level, where sector information will be released to the public by the directorate, whose director also serves as government spokesman.
The government will strengthen its cooperation with various stakeholders including the media as part of efforts to implement strategies of communication to the public.
The government will make sure it works closely with the media so that it can fully participate in building the nation, hence from next week the director will start a tour of media houses to meet with their leaders “and look into how to solve vicarious challenges facing them.”
“I will pay a special visit to all media houses, have enough time with them to discuss various issues that need to be addressed as well as listening to their claims. Then after I will sit with my team and see how we can take off on the mentioned challenges,” Abbas indicated.
Reached for comment through mobile phone, Professor Honest Ngowi of Mzumbe University said the initiative is likely to have positive impact as it acts as a way of closely monitoring every step on budget implementation.
“This will also increase accountability among ministers and they will be very keen in implementing the budget since they know that they are accountable to provide a monthly report,” he stated.
The monthly report system is common in project implementation as a way of promoting effectiveness in work, he said, noting that despite being a good system, the provision of monthly reports by government officials would be a hard task. He suggested instead that a quarterly report would be fairer for the government and more informative for the targeted public.
Contacted for comment regarding the new guidelines, the Minister of Defense and National Service Dr. Hussen Mwinyi said that ministers had positively received the plan because communication is very important in any public activity.
“This will help to reduce complaints because the public will be aware of what is going on,” he stated.
Executing projects without giving out feedback to the public was not a proper way of doing it, in which case the move is likely to have a positive impact on budget implementation, the don added.