In the second stage of the third phase of TASAF, launched by President John Magufuli in February, 2020, all the beneficiaries will be required to have bank accounts or have mobile phones, the only ways of cash disbursement.
Addressing a press conference here yesterday, TASAF’s Executive Director, Ladislaus Mwamanga said all the transactions will be done through mobile phone money transfers or bank accounts, calling on the beneficiaries to ensure they have the national identification authority (NIDA) numbers.
He said after the launch of the new stage of the programme his office embarked on preparations for the implementation of the phase that will see at least 1.4 million people from both mainland and the isles registered as beneficiaries.
He noted that some 5,900 households that qualified for the ‘Productive Social Safety Net’ but were left out due to lack of funds will be included in the new stage, adding that a total of Sh 2.032 trillion will be used for various projects.
Some of the projects include improvement of infrastructure, health, education, water while other funds will be directed on subsidies to households.
“A lot of success were recorded in the earlier stages of the programme, one of them being use of technology in cash transfers to the beneficiaries,” he said.
The executive director observed that use of online cash transfer started as pilot project on May, 2017 in 16 district councils of Arusha , Unguja, Ilala, Kinondoni, Temeke, Mpanda, Kigoma Municipality, Bagamoyo, Songea Municipality, Kisarawe, Kilwa, Muheza, Mkuranga, Bahi, Urambo and Siha.
Up to January, 2020, a total of 55,539 out of the 102,299 beneficiaries, being 56 percent had been registered for online cash transfer system and have been paid through the system eleven times using bank accounts or mobile phones numbers.
Mwamanga said the remaining 46,760 beneficiaries, being 44 percent who have not registered in the online cash payment system continues getting cash delivery throughout the payment schedules.
He explained that they did not register in the new system since it was at trial phase and the beneficiaries joined voluntarily. On the other hand, one of the conditions to join the system was that a beneficiary must have a mobile phone on bank account, of which most did not have.
Another factor that hindered them was that in some villages there were no mobile money transfer agents hence even those willing to join could not access the service. There were also children and the elderly who the transfer system was not friendly to.
He said after the two years implementation of the new system, it has proved beneficial in administration as it reduces costs involved in money distribution to beneficiaries. However, several challenges have been realised too.
These include; some of the beneficiaries forget mobile money PIN numbers and to solve this, the beneficiaries were encouraged to have secret numbers that they develop themselves instead of those done by other people.
Some of the beneficiaries lost a lot of money in the hands of people they trust, whom they send to withdraw money on their behalf. Such people, according to the TASAF boss ended up withdrawing more than the amount they were sent to cash.
Others could not get money because their mobile phone lines were blocked for failure of finger print registration due to lack of NIDA number. “ After this trial phase, the management has decided that cash transfer to beneficiaries in the second stage of the third phase will be done online,” said Mwamanga.
He said that it is therefore important for beneficiaries to have mobile phones through which a lot of information will be delivered. This is handy at a time like this when the COVID-19 has forced people to avoid gatherings, almost all information is therefore sent through phones.
Speaking at the same meeting, TASAF’s director of Community Support, Amadeus Kamagenge noted that only those who qualify for the programme will be included in the new stage, adding that those who were in the previous stage and no longer qualify will be phased out of the programme.