Thursday, January 15, 2015

Show Me the Money

An interesting perspective on donor funding from the Tanzania Daily News....  Actually, it made me quite angry, but what can you do?

The writer *appears* to understand why a foreign donor might want to withhold funding where there's issues with corruption, but then he still manages to blame us for the slow-down in development.

How 'bout the GoT chilling out with the bribes and graft and then we can all feel a little better about disbursing funds, knowing they're gonna go where they're meant to?  Or better yet, how about making that final paragraph a reality??  "It can be done."
When Donors Keep Shifting Goal Posts in Unlocking Aid!

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) last week expressed its satisfaction on Tanzania's economic performance where growth was expected to be maintained at above 7 percent levels and inflation tamed in mid-single digits.

The latest report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that year-on-year inflation for December 2014 reached 4.8 percent which was quite in line with the government's target of 5 percent.

During the period under a joint review by the government and IMF as part of the Policy Support Instrument (PSI) arrangement, most of the country's macroeconomic indicators were healthy.

The IMF officials, however, noted with concern delays in aid disbursements over graft allegations in the energy sector and revenue shortfalls risk.

The Breton Woods Institution pointed out that the trend, if not reversed as soon as possible, might end up undermining Tanzania's sturdy economic growth.  A group of 12 donors said last year that they will only pay outstanding budget support pledges worth nearly $500 million after Tanzania takes appropriate action against corruption.

The donors had by the end of last year disbursed only 15 percent of their pledges to the 2014/2015 Budget Support, insisting that claims of fraud and corruption in the transfer of billions of public funds to a private firm must be probed and proper action taken against the culprits.

The Controller and Auditor General (CAG) concluded the probe, and heads have started rolling.  More action is supposed to follow after further investigations on suspected public officials.

Despite measures taken by the government to address the alleged wrong-doings by some public officials, the development partners are still reluctant to unlock the much-needed government-budgeted support aid.

Some of their representatives were recently quoted as saying that they were still studying the matter and measures being taken before releasing funds expected to finance important projects including infrastructure development, health, education, energy, and water supply.

In so doing, these development partners are frustrating the country's efforts of the implementation of its growth and poverty reduction strategies (MKUKUTA).  These partners include the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank, the European Union, and representatives from Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Japan, and Canada.
The development partners were supposed to contribute over $900 billion during the 2014/2015 financial year, but so far only $140 billion has been disbursed, representing just 15 percent of the agreed amount.

This means the country's plans for infrastructure development, health, education, energy, and water supply for the 2014/2015 fiscal year might not be fulfilled because 85 percent of the funds are yet to be made available.

Under normal circumstances, the donors are expected to disburse about 60 to 70 percent of the pledged funds by the end of the first quarter of the financial year - that would have meant by September 2014.

With the ongoing delaying tactics or shifting of goal posts on the part of donors, the nation will be forced to wait indefinitely for reasons outside the agreed underlying principles of cooperation.

The five agreed-upon underlying principles by the Tanzanian government and the aforementioned development partners include maintaining sound macro-economic policies; committing to the MKUKUTA objectives and millennium development goals (MDGs); strengthening budgeting and public finance management; fostering rule of law and respect of human rights; and maintaining good governance.

It is unfortunate that the donors opted to withhold funds without engaging the government fully before making such a decision.

The Prime Minister, Mr. Mizengo Pinda, rightly observed in the National Assembly last year that the move by the partners was unfair to millions of Tanzanians.

This should, however, remind the nation of an important lesson: the country's destiny is in the hands of Tanzanians and not some foreign brothers.  The time has come to think on building more roads, better schools, and health centers with our own money.  It can be done.

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