IMF: Tanzania on track in social service provision

THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has hailed Tanzania for its grand move of hiring 10,000 additional health workers and 15,000 school teachers, in improving further provision of health and education services.

However, IMF has suggested that Tanzania should mobilise more resources to improve its public spending on key social services, to close the human capital gap, which relieve people from abject poverty.

IMF also recommends that additional resources will be needed to expand the coverage of the Tanzanian Social Action Fund (TASAF) programme to eligible families and improve targeting of its beneficiaries.

Among such key priority areas include education, health, water, social safety nets (cash transfers through Tanzania’s Social Action Fund -TASAF), rural electrification, agricultural inputs, as well as for upgrading and maintenance of rural roads.

The recently released IMF Staff Report hailed Tanzania for its grand move of hiring 10,000 additional health workers and 15,000 school teachers in improving further provision of health and education services.

“The authorities are on track…closing the resource gaps in education and health requires sustaining these recruitments over the medium term, financed by rebalancing budget allocation, improving the efficiency of public spending and mobilising domestic revenues,” stated the report.

This report went on revealing that improving health and social assistance will also contribute to human capital accumulation and poverty reduction.

Besides, continuing to support affected low-income households with cash transfers, through TASAF, will also help the economic recovery while protecting the most vulnerable.

According to the report, over the medium-term, the government will focus on increasing resources for the health sector to keep up with the increasing demand for health services and to reduce gaps in coverage.

However, the IMF recommended that expanding TASAF to more eligible families, while properly targeting the aid provided will help reduce poverty and inequality and protect the human capital accumulation of poor households.

They also suggested in the report that the government commits to review the subsidy system to identify gaps and reform measures needed to improve efficiency and targeting by December 2023.

The report also suggested measures to improve the quality of spending, where the government seeks to rebalance spending towards priority social and investment spending to support equitable growth and sustainable development.

“Towards this end, the authorities are deploying more resources to hiring additional teachers and health workers and remain determined to meet the associated indicative target on social spending,” the report notes.

Meanwhile, the authorities will continue to cushion vulnerable households through targeted fertiliser subsidies designed to counter the cost-of-living crisis compounded by the conflict spillovers.

Over the medium term, the strengthening of social protection will continue to rank high on the authorities’ agenda, as well as the expansion of the cash-transfer programme.

On the other hand, the IMF inquired about medium-term capital spending which will focus on accelerating industrialisation and infrastructure mega-projects, which include roads, energy, ports and railways infrastructure.

On several occasions the government has reiterated its commitment to uplift living standards of poor households through its national poverty alleviation scheme TASAF.

Ex-Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Public Service Management and Good Governance, Jenista Mhagama noted that without the fund, over two million Tanzanians could still be languishing in abject poverty as hundreds of children fail to get post primary education.

“TASAF has made great strides, one of the successes is that beneficiaries have injected into circulation about 6.9bn/- through revolving funds, from what they get from the fund,” she insisted.

TASAF’s Executive Director, Ladislaus Mwamanga, had disclosed that at least 158,000 beneficiaries are to graduate and leave the programme. They are those who have shown improved livelihood and financial status.

He said 6 million people and 1.4 million households benefit from the programme which has been extended from 2023 to 2025.

“The programme has impacted positively on the lives of people and the focus should be beyond 2025,” he said, with focus on people with special needs, youths, women and the elderly.

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