ON Friday, Minister for State in the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government (Po-RALG), Ummy Mwalimu ordered for stern disciplinary measures against all Local Government Authorities (LGAs) officials involved in financial irregularities as earmarked in the just released audit report of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG).
The Minister also directed the Permanent Secretary in the docket to review the Local Government Revenue Collection Information System (LGRCIS) and Government of Tanzania Health Operations Management System-(GoTHOMIS) to ensure smooth collection of revenues.
According to her, the review of the electronic revenue collection system must address the shortfalls indicated in the CAG report as intervention in controlling unnecessary financial loss. Ms Mwalimu said she also submitted to the appointing authority names of 61 District Executive Directors (DEDs) whose councils received adverse and qualified opinions from the CAG report.
She also noted her intentions to sign performance contract with Regional Commissioners for them to properly supervise revenue collection and expenditure in accordance to the rules and laws of the land.
The measures instituted by Ms Mwalimu must be commended by any person wishing to see the taxpayers’ money being judiciously spent for the benefit of the public. The problem regarding thievery, misappropriation and embezzlement of public funds appears to be chronic in local government authorities since each financial year audited reports uncover massive rot in their accounts.
The concern over poor spending in local government authorities was also raised by President Samia Suluhu Hassan recently when she ordered Mr Selemani Jafo to put the house in order who, before the recent cabinet reshuffle, was heading the docket.
The president went a step further to ask Mr Jafo to seek help from top national leaders should the task of cleaning the mess at the docket prove to be an uphill task for him. Fortunately, during the cabinet reshuffle, he was transferred to the Ministry of State in the Vice President’s Office (Union and Environment).
Experience which is shared by budget planners shows that close to two thirds of the total government budget each year goes to the local governments to finance implementation of various projects.
It is the Regional Administration and Local Government ministry that oversees implementation of a large number of projects in almost all sectors that touch lives of wananchi. When someone mentions services such as education, water, health, rural road maintenance or agriculture the buck stops with the PoRALG.
In that sense, Tamisemi as it is popularly known in Kiswahili, is the ministry which is the focal point when it comes to implementation of development projects.
Given the ministry’s importance, the mess must be cleaned immediately or else the funds will be ending in unscrupulous government officials’ pockets.