PRESIDENT John Magufuli has instructed local government authorities countywide to closely followup expenditure of funds distributed in Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN) programme, and to keep off ghost beneficiaries.
Equally, he directed that the scheme being implemented by the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF), should only benefit needy and deserving citizens, as envisioned to raise their living standards.
The President, who was speaking in Dar es Salaam, yesterday also ordered all leaders at the local government authorities to monitor the exercise or else risk losing their jobs.
“This will be their benchmark to ascertain whether one fits a position or not, because the government would not tolerate whoever tampers with this money meant to benefit poor households,” he said, shortly before inaugurating TASAF III the second term that will run for the next four years (2020-2023).
His directives came after a verification unearthed 73,561 ghost households and 22,034 also deceitfully benefiting from the funds, yet do not qualify.
In details, some 18,211 households had one or all both couples as beneficiaries though dead but were still paid The analysis revealed some 18,700 who had died, and hence, could not show up to collect their money for two consecutive times, but their funds were collected.
To worsen the situation, some 5,134 beneficiaries were members of the monitoring committees at village and street level contrary to the stipulation of the fund.
In the course, the Head of State mentioned ten Councils with worse records over the registration of the beneficiaries, and hence, instructed leaders of the administrative areas to take measures and avoid reoccurrence of the blunder.
The Councils with ghost household beneficiaries were identified as Songea Municipal (2,991), Temeke (2,012), Chamwino(1,840), Kinondoni (1,538), Ilala (1,476), Dodoma Municipal (1,334), Moshi Municipal (1,071), Morogoro (954), Buhigwe (862) and Arusha Municipal (851).
“Regional and District and Council leaders of the mentioned areas should be ashamed of this,” said the President, while referring to the finding of the verification exercise conducted between November 2015 and June 2017.
However, the thanked councils, which took efforts to reduce the number of ghost household beneficiaries, adding that the same spirit should be continued.
List of the councils with their statistics on bracket was read as Mtwara Municipal (25), Babati Township (45), Geita Township (56), Igunga (76), Chunya (104), Pangani (149), Rorya (207), Kilolo (211) and Unguja (242).
In a related development, President Magufuli directed that in the next term, TASAF funds should also be channeled to development projects, which facilitate temporary employment opportunities’ creation to enable the citizens earn income, and at the same time participate in economic activities.
In the past, 67 per cent of the allocated fund was for basic grant paid to the beneficiaries unconditionally, a move which Dr Magufuli said realised little output, because majority of those who were getting the money were misusing it.
“Instead of giving them fish, people should be taught how to fish, and this is the new approach which the second phase of TASAF III scheme should bank on” he explained.
The execution of the new term has seen budget of direct grant to the beneficiaries reduced to 38 per cent from 67 per cent that was allocated in the first term of TASAF III.
According to Dr Magufuli, the money will now be distributed to elders, children and people living with high level of disabilities.
The second term of TASAF III scheme has four components such as PSSN that is made up of the basic grant (unconditional cash transfer) and a conditional cash transfer and a public works subcomponent, enhancement of livelihoods and increasing incomes, which involve community savings and investments and livelihood enhancing grants.
Others are targeted infrastructure development; and capacity building aimed at ensuring adequate programme implementation by communities, local government authorities, and regional and national level players.
President Magufuli said 60 per cent of the budget that is equivalent to 1.22tril/- will be spent on 30,000 development projects in 16,596 villages and streets in Mainland Tanzania and 388 wards in Zanzibar focusing on sectors of health, education, water, roads and environment.
“The intended health projects will cost 121.736bn/- while education sector will cost 365.209bn/- water 585.937bn/-, roads 49.668bn/-, and environmental projects has been allocated with 96.416bn/-,” he noted.
During the execution of the projects, priority will be given to people from poor households to enable them earn income and at the same time participate in the development projects.
About 1.2 million job opportunities are expected to be created out of the projects. On his welcoming remarks to the President, the Minister in the President’s Office – Good Governance and Public Service Mr George Mkuchika promised to make sure that the whole money is spent according to its intended purpose.
Attending to the event, the Second V ice-President of Zanzibar, Seif Ali Iddi, said that the previous phase of the scheme had to a large extent uplifted the Islands’ citizens living standards.
According to him, majority of them now engage in productive economic activities, including farming of vegetables and other businesses, which among other things enable them to renovate their houses also.
“They are now enjoying a better living standard in comparison to the past, and we are proud of the scheme that is of great value to poor households,” he said on his note, on behalf of President of Zanzibar Dr Ali Mohamed Shein.
On his part, the Director General of TASAF Mr Ladislaus Mwamanga said the scheme enabled many people in the country to eke out a living legally.
“We have been able to build 4,412 kilometers of roads in rural areas, 100 classrooms, 84 teacher residences, 22 dormitories, 2,498 desks and 24 dispensaries.
“Also there are 277 students of higher learning institution who are under TASAF scheme, who were given loans from Higher Education Students’ Loans Board (HESLB),” he explained.
The event was also attended by V ice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, Speaker of the Parliament Job Ndugai, Minister of State in the Office of Second Vice-President of Zanzibar, Mohammed Aboud Mohammed, and senior government officials, as well as some beneficiaries of the TASAF schemes.