Mpango told to explain where money for water projects went

09May 2018
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Mpango told to explain where money for water projects went

FINANCE and Planning Minister Dr Phillip Mpango was yesterday taken to task in parliament over an unduly large number of stalled water projects in the country after the Treasury released only 22 per cent of funds allocated to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation in the 2017/18 financial year.

FINANCE and Planning Minister Dr Phillip Mpango.

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Job Ndugai, directed Dr Mpango to submit to parliament a detailed report on why the government failed to ensure the timely disbursement of water project funds to the relevant ministry.

“The government should take all the blame for the implementation failure of several water projects in the country. We want to know the reasons behind this failure since the monies were approved by the National Assembly for the financial year ending this June,” Ndugai said.

A report from the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Agriculture, Livestock and Water shows that by March this year, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation had received only 135 billion/- (22 per cent) of total funds approved for the 2017/18 fiscal year.

According to Speaker Ndugai, delays is disbursing funds for the implementation of water projects is tantamount to thwarting efforts to address water availability problems in the country.

Asserting that the involvement of local communities in implementing such projects was crucial to ensure their sustainability, he said: “Most of the water projects end up being white elephants due to poor management and poor engagement of locals. There must be inclusiveness of people at all levels in these projects in order to bring a sense of ownership.”

Earlier, while debating the 727.3bn/- Ministry of Water and Irrigation budget estimates for the 2018/19 financial year, members of parliament raised concerns over what they described as lack of commitment by the central government in addressing water problems.

Mtera MP Livingstone Lusinde (CCM) said the water shortage situation is becoming a threat to both government and the ruling party, and added:

“We need to come up with a probe team to look into the expenditure of water project funds. Billions of shillings are spent on these projects, but they end up being redundant. We need to investigate this matter to ensure accountability and proper expenditure of public funds.”

Kilwa South MP Selemani Bungara (CUF) urged the government to sell two of its aircrafts bought for Air Tanzania Corporation Limited (ATCL) and use the funds to solve water problems especially in the rural areas.

According to Bungara, ensuring proper water supply throughout the country should be made a priority ahead of the purchases of ATCL planes.

“Yes, we have purchased the aircrafts, but most of our people are still spending hours in search of water. The government should be blamed for water shortage problems since it has not prioritised the sector,” the Kilwa South legislator said.