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Samia stresses tangible projects

Samia stresses tangible projects

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has directed local councillors to closely monitor interest-free loans derived from council’s internal revenue and make sure that tangible projects are being implemented by the funds.

The Head of State issued the directives on Friday in Mbeya Region after laying a foundation stone for the Mbeya Regional Commissioner’s office. Ms Samia is in the region for a four-day official visit.

Ms Samia stated that loan repayment was a crucial component that councillors must make sure is well-supervised for other groups to also benefit from the funds for the government to fulfill its primary goal on the loans.

President Samia further said that the manner by which councillors oversee interest-free loans and repayment is now how they will be evaluated.

Councils in the country must set aside 10 per cent of their internal revenues for interest-free loans based on a defined scale, with women and youths receiving 4 per cent each and People with Disabilities (PWDs) receiving 2 per cent.

“The money was intended to help these groups thrive, therefore failure to repay loans does not portray a favourable image,” she said.

She added, “When I return to Mbeya, show me the projects that were funded by that money, at the very least, show me one project for each group,”.

The Head of State said Councillors are the custodians of the development fund issued by central and local government. “Therefore, you must make sure that you attend council meetings so that you can discuss, decide, and ensure the funds are distributed and utilised as planned,”.

During the august House sitting, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Administration and Local Government Affairs recommended that the government carry out effective monitoring and control of expenditures of interest-free loans to achieve the intended goal.

Tabling the committee’s suggestions on budget estimates for the Ministry of State in the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government budget estimates for 2022/2023, the Committee’s Vice-Chairperson, Dennis Londo, said reports on such funds use vary raising integrity  questions.

He said it was high time for the government to prepare a special expenditure report based on the 10 per cent revenue as well as develop an online portal to track the loans.

“The report shall show the loans granted and repaid, and the amount spent on management for each Council from 2018 to 2022,” he noted.

President Samia yesterday expressed satisfaction with the execution of the three projects she visited in the region, including the Shongo water project serving residents of Mbalizi town worth more than 3bn/-, Meta Maternity wing at Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital worth 11bn/- and Mbeya Regional Commissioner’s Office worth 6bn/-.

The Shongo-Igale water project serving Mbalizi town residents costing more than 3bn/-, the Meta Maternity wing at Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital, worth 11bn/-, and the Mbeya Regional Commissioner Office, worth 6bn/-, were the three projects that President Samia laid foundation stones in the Region.

At the water project, President Samia asked the citizens of Mbalizi to protect the environment and local water sources to guarantee a steady flow of water in the community.

“The community, not the government, is responsible for protecting water sources. The Mbeya Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (Mbeya WSSA) must also make sure that water is available throughout because there is a tendency for water to only be supplied on the project's inauguration day, after which there would be a water shortage,” she added.

Oran Njeza, the member of parliament for Mbeya Rural, had earlier requested that Mbalizi be upgraded to a town council, saying that this would help the community receive social services.

The MP requested that the remaining two kilometres of the four-lane road be extended to reach the Songwe airport while thanking President Samia for the water project and the construction of the road from Igawa to Mbalizi.

President Samia responded to the request for Mbalizi to become a town council by stating that at this time, the government's objective is to ensure that social services are improved and available to all Tanzanians without adding administrative areas.

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