THE government has adopted new systems for budget planning and report as well as Facility Financial and Accounting Reporting to improve social services delivery.
The rebranded PlanRep system and first ever FFAR system are user-friendly systems designed to replace a manual paper work by both budget planners and finance officers, across councils and public service providers institutions in the country respectively.
With a five-year investment amounting to 62 million US dollars from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Tanzania is categorically planning to roll out the system to 185 councils across the country.
Prime Minister Mr Kassim Majaliwa said at the official launch in Dodoma this week the two systems will improve transparency and accountability in management of public funds and subsequently promote speedy social-economic development.
“The two systems will link up all departments with experts engaged in the planning and reporting budget with the regional and ministry headquarters,” he said.
The systems are further described to be crucial in the government decision to promote D by D system which is a policy option to devolve powers and authority from the central government to the local government to facilitate participation and quick decisions for local development to improve service delivery.
The systems are 100 per cent owned by the government, officials said. “It will also speed up provision of financial statement by councils and service providers to respective authorities,” the premier said at a fullparked assembly.
Initially in local governments, at least 15 members from every council had to meet frequently discussing budget planning and reporting. Such meeting interrupted provision of service and some other officials lost lives in road accidents when travelling from one part to another to present the financial statements.
According to the Prime Minister 8.32bn/- was spent by officials in 185 Councils to fulfill such duties. “This system will save over 4bn/-,” the Premier said. “The local government authorities spent a huge part of their budgets to plan and prepare budget reports … now all such works are digitalised and will be uniform to all councils,” he added.
While concerns are likely to be on system operators, considering the challenge to apply the technology, Minister in the Office of the President (Regional Administration and Local Governments) Mr George Simbachawene says a sufficient number of system operators have been trained to manage and feed the systems.
“We trained over 13,000 civil servants from across councils and service providing institutions (education and health centres) to be able to apply and manage the systems,” he said.
The minister was of the view that the new systems be integrated with other systems within the departments and allow all responsible parties to communicate without necessarily travelling from one part to another.
Citing the health sector, the minister said, the government had been providing at least 41bn/- to councils to finance health systems and in addition social security funds and health insurances had been paying the authorities “yet it was not easy to trace spending of the money.” “Now every cent allocated for a specific work can be traced,” he said.
Chargé d’Affaires at the United States Embassy in Tanzania Ms Inmi Patterson said “the US is proud to partner with Tanzania as you work towards a future marked by transparent government, sustainable development and shared prosperity.”
She further said: “The two systems will increase efficiency and improve financial management, enabling the government of Tanzania to more effectively distribute its financial resources and respond to citizen needs.”
The US government is supporting the two systems through its generous five year USAID Public Sector System Strengthening PS3. Despite that USAID is covering 93 districts in 13 regions, the country’s USAID boss believe the scope can be expanded to cover the total 185 councils.
“It’s part of our mission to ensure a large area is covered. We believe with other sponsors we can seek ways to expand the area covered by the programme,” USAID Mission Director in Tanzania Mr Andy Karas said.
He reaffirmed the US government cooperation commitment with Tanzania insisting for decades long, USAID has been supporting Tanzania in a number of sectors including Education, Health and Agriculture.
Meanwhile PS3 Chief of Party Dr Emmanuel Malangalila explained that in order to improve government service delivery, the system were designed to cover the question of governance and citizen engagement, human resources, financing and information systems.
“Given both its health and multi-sectoral emphases the two systems will activate quality delivery of social service in the country,” he said.
The meeting was however attended by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled) Ms Jenista Mhagama, Finance and Planning Minister Dr Phillip Mpango and Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Minister Ms Ummy Mwalimu.
Others were representatives from the development partners and senior government officials.