Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania over the weekend.
Welcome to The Chanzo Specials, a citizen-centred platform discussing issues of high public interest
As part of its mission to drive conversations on critical issues of public interest, The Chanzo is today, June 19, 2023, organising an open dialogue on three major themes: public accountability, 2023/24 budget analysis, and 10 per cent municipal loans, at the PSSSF Commercial Complex, Dar es Salaam from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Over 300 participants from the government, the CSOs, the private sector, the media, and the general public are expected to participate in the dialogue, whose main purpose is to bring forth ideas that would help spur positive changes in how the government conducts its affairs.
Dubbed The Chanzo Specials, the dialogue will start with a session on public accountability, with the former Controller and Auditor General (CAG) Ludvick Utouh giving a keynote speech before a panel of discussants dive deeper into the issue. Some panellists include Annastazia Rugaba from Twaweza, leader of the opposition party ACT-Wazalendo Zitto Kabwe, among others.
The accountability session will be followed by the one on the 2023/24 budget analysis. Mr Aidan Eyakuze, the Executive Director of Twaweza, will give a keynote address and a panel discussion. The last session will be on how best to make the 10 per cent local government loan work for the targeted groups.
Some government representatives expected to participate in the dialogue include those from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA). During each session, participants from the flow will share their views and perspectives on the topics presented.
Monday’s dialogue follows the one that happened on May 13, 2023, on how government institutions fall short of implementing the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, which demands them to set aside at least 30 per cent of their procurement budgets to outsource goods and services from companies owned and led by youth, women, the elderly and people with disability.
The Chanzo believes that the dialogues it organises on issues of high public interest will contribute positively to efforts by other actors who work tirelessly to ensure the improvement of the welfare of Tanzanians.
Should banks manage 10pc local government loans?
Some local government officials have expressed worry at the prospect of banks handling the ten per cent local government loans, fearing that the arrangement will sideline many small entrepreneurs who are sceptical of the financial institutions.
Talks around the possibility of banks taking over the management of interest-free loans available for vulnerable groups from municipal councils intensified recently following a decision by the government to suspend their issuance for the remaining part of the 2022/23 financial year.
The decision followed damning reports about the loans by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) Charles Kichere, who, in his report for the 2022/2023 financial year, questioned the sustainability of the revolving loan scheme distributed on the 4-4-2 formula for the youth, women, and people with disabilities.
For instance, CAG reported that local government authorities failed to recover Sh88 billion of the loan distributed to respective groups. CAG also revealed that Sh2.5 billion were issued to groups that ceased business operations, and Sh895.94 million were issued to 48 groups that did not exist.
Commenting on these revelations, President Samia Suluhu Hassan suggested that the government should consider using the banks as a substitute for the municipal councils, a suggestion that some economists and financial experts have supported.
Based on interviews conducted with small entrepreneurs and local government officials from across the country, however, The Chanzo can reveal that the proposal is unpopular among many community members, with many feeling that if the proposal goes ahead, the loans will fail to serve its intended goal.
Full story here.
A day marred by tragedy: Uganda’s heartbreak on Day of the African Child
n a day meant to be a beacon of hope and commitment to the future of African children, an unimaginable tragedy cast a dark shadow across the continent.
The International Day of the African Child, commemorated every year on June 16, this year coincided with a horrifying attack on the Lhubiriha Secondary School in Mpondwe, Uganda, by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group with ties to ISIL (ISIS) group.
Reports indicate that at least 40 lives were claimed in this attack, with reports of abductions and destruction of school property.
The International Day of the African Child, established to honour the young lives lost in the 1976 Soweto Uprising in South Africa and to advocate for improved education for children in Africa, was shattered by the echoes of gunshots and cries of anguish in Uganda.
This incident forces the continent and the world to confront a harsh reality: African children’s ongoing vulnerability and insecurity.
Lhubiriha Secondary School, a beacon of education, was turned into a scene of devastation. Heartless rebels violently tore apart the dreams and aspirations nurtured within its walls.
Full analysis here.
AfDB approves a $107.8m-loan to promote Tanzania’s green and resilient recovery from COVID-19 impacts
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a $107.8 million loan to Tanzania to bolster governance and industrial competitiveness and reinforce social inclusion, bank said in a press release over the weekend.
The budget support loan will underwrite Tanzania’s Economic Competitiveness and Social Inclusion Programme (ECSIP), an initiative to drive Tanzania’s sustainable recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The program seeks to promote reforms that will enhance domestic resource mobilisation and strengthen public expenditure and procurement systems; enhance the management of environmental resources and the investment climate; and improve social protections and livelihoods of vulnerable groups, including small and medium enterprises and women and youth.
“This operation will allow the bank to deepen policy dialogue with other development partners on domestic resource mobilisation [and] public financial management reforms,” said Patricia Laverley, the Bank Group’s Tanzania country manager.
“[It will also] strengthen anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures; industrial development and competitiveness; as well as strengthening social protection through reprioritisation of public expenditures in Tanzania,” she added.
Over the last ten years, the bank has supported the Tanzanian government in implementing reforms that have made the country more attractive to business and investment.
However, global economic headwinds threaten the country’s fiscal progress. Average growth—nearly seven per cent before the COVID-19 pandemic—is estimated to have slowed to 4.8 per cent in 2022, the bank said.
The program is expected to directly benefit several government ministries and entities, including the ministry of community development, gender, women and special groups, and the revenue and public procurement regulatory authorities.
Businesses across Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar are also expected to gain access to more investment opportunities to enable them to expand.
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