PAC faults TPA, REA, BoT over June 2019 CAG Report

23May 2020
Henry Mwangonde
The Guardian
PAC faults TPA, REA, BoT over June 2019 CAG Report

THE Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday unveiled a number of gaps and areas that need to be addressed to ensure transparency in government expenditure.

Naghenjwa Kaboyoka

Committee chairperson Naghenjwa Kaboyoka (Same East, Chadema) made the recommendations in the august House when tabling an analytical document after the committee went through the Report of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019.

The committee identified laxity in the administration of contracts at the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) and operational challenges which provide room for the loss of revenues, noting that TPA failed to account for 1.8bn/- expenditures.

She also faulted the government over poor administration of issuing national identity cards, handled by the National Identification Authority (NIDA). “There were no binding contracts between NIDA and institutions that use its data,” the committee report affirmed.

The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) had during the financial year approved payments totaling 1.08bn/- to SMEC International Property Ltd, ignoring the committee’s advice on the issue, she stated.

The PAC report noticed a 454.4bn/- debt which the Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (TANESCO) is owed by its customers, of which 205bn/- is electricity bills by government institutions and agencies.

“The debt affects Tanesco’s performance,” the committee noted, highlighting also that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism spent about 1.5bn/- of unbudgeted funds.

The committee advised the government on how to control laxity in the management of public funds, by improving judicial mechanisms to facilitate quick judgment of tax disputes.

The committee advises that the government should conduct frequent inspection and ensure close monitoring of TPA operations to ensure no public money is lost.

The committee also proposed that NIDA improves its internal regulations and enter into properly contracts with institutions that use its database.

The move shall boost the authority’s revenue collections, the committee noted.

MPs also advised Tanesco to prioritize debt collection to ensure quality services to customers.

 Tanga MP Musa Mbarouk (CUF) queried embezzlement of REA funds amounting to 1.08bn/- paid to SMEC International PTY despite failing to implement its job properly, with the government hiring 27 companies to supervise REA projects.

“REA had power projects in 1,798 villages but has never hired a consultant engineer. Worse enough it decided to hire 27 companies to supervise the projects, which is a massive embezzlement of funds. This situation also indicates that corruption was involved, so the government should put an eye on this matter,” the chairperson intoned.

For his part, Kilindi MP Omari Kigua (CCM) said that the government has been losing billions to recklessness, despite huge efforts by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) to collect revenues.

“I urge the government to ensure that boards meet so as to put up strong measures to increase collections. If TRA would be more focused, the government would be able to supervise implementation of strategic projects,” he stated.

Mlalo MP Rashid Shangazi (CCM) said that TRA needs major reforms how it collects revenue as available systems do not optimally deliver, thus denying the government the revenues it requires.

“Tax disputes are not solved on time due to inactive systems, being too slow to give answers. This matter should be taken up with urgency,” he emphasized.

Mwanakwerekwe MP Ali Salim Khamis (CCM) said that the CAG report shows that dilapidated banknotes worth 300bn/- weren’t inspected by the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) and thereafter the monies were disbursed to commercial banks.

“So, why did the central bank not inspect the bank notes before dishing out the pile to commercial banks? I’m wondering why such a big amount of banknotes wasn’t sorted out before disbursing the notes to commercial banks,” he queried.

He urged BoT additional care on the matter, as it in turn leads to unnecessary inconveniences for other actors in the country’s financial sector.

Special Seats MP Felister Bura (CCM) also queried expenditure of 1.5bn/- by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism without following the right procedures.

“These monies weren’t approved by the National Assembly. My appeal is that the government sticks to rules and regulations governing financial expenditure,” she declared.