General Budget Support cuts: a case of shifting burden to citizens- June 2010

THE government should protect against misuse and abuse of public resources to safeguard the development
partners’ budget support contributions for the benefit of the ordinary citizens.
This follows a report from the development partners who agreed to reduce the commitment to the General
Budget Support (GBS) in Tanzania for the recently approved budget (FY 2010/2011) to $534 million. This
amount is $220 million less than the last financial year 2009/2010 commitment.
The development partners announced this in a press release dated on Thursday 13 May, 2010. It not only had
the government running around to look for other sources of funds, but also shifted the burden to ordinary
citizens.
According to the press release, one of the major reasons for this reduction is the slow implementation of reform
programmes, thereby making it difficult to achieve the expected outcomes. Resulting from slow pace of
implementation, many targets like reduction of maternal mortality rate from the current 578 to 265 per 100,000
live births by 2010 (as per the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty) are far reaching.
Government’s objectives have been difficult and take long to accomplish mostly because allocation of funds has
not been efficient and effective across all Ministries, Departments and Agencies. A good example is from the
budget books for the year 2008/09 and 2009/2010, where the amount allocated for seminars and related items
stand at Tshs 683,747,329,980 and Tshs 530,337,691,576 respectively. As health activists, we find it unworthy
to spend such a huge amount of money on unnecessary items like these while we have more demanding areas in
the primary health services to concentrate on.
Misuse and abuse of public resources should stop immediately. Under the current financial situation, the
government must improve its performance for the better of the country. Evidence of such issues is documented
in the reports of the Controller and Auditor General. An example of this is found in the audit report for the
Ministry of Health and Social Welfare for the year ended June 2008 and June 2009 of which Tshs. 325,574,300
and Tshs.77, 707,817 respectively were paid to the so called ‘ghost workers‘.
Sikika therefore, feels that the government should avoid unnecessary suffering of citizens by making sure that
transparency and accountability is up held when it comes to the allocation and implementation of budgets in
order not to shift the burden to citizens.

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