YESTERDAY President John Magufuli launched phase two of Tanzania Social Action Fund (Tasaf) which aims at providing poor households with income-earning opportunities, socioeconomic services and enhancing and protecting their children’s human capital.
Besides highlighting various achievements in the implementation of Tasaf I, President Magufuli also cited some challenges that have been experienced such as registration of unq ualified beneficiaries.
This has been a misuse of Tasaf by all standards. The President, however, made it clear that he wouldn’t like to see such flaws reappear in the implementation of Tasaf II.
The launch of Tasaf II comes after the World Bank (WB) board of executive directors approved $450m (more than 1tri/-) for Tasaf’s social safety net programme.
The money should be spent as intended to bring the anticipated results. While Tasaf I benefitted 1.1 million beneficiaries, Tasaf II will have 300,000 more beneficiaries.
In light of this, the government intends to continue using various approaches to reduce poverty and enable Tanzania to attain a middleincome economy by 2025.
Various initiatives have been set up to attain Tasaf’s objective which is to enable poor households to increase incomes and opportunities while improving consumption. There are also other efforts made to ensure the youth and women engage in income-generating activities.
This has worked extremely well as a good number of them are seen doing something to uplift their livelihoods where they would have stayed idle and languish in poverty if not in absolute poverty (a situation in which a person lacks the wherewithal to meet basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter).
The social safety net programme has enabled beneficiaries to boost their children’s school attendance by 90 per cent , has facilitated the number of expectant mothers and children aged five years and below by 1.5 per cent to attend clinic with improved services.
There are also those who have joined health insurance and have access to health services which in the past were not able to due to their limited financial position.
We commend these achievements which must sustain. It is a fact that poverty has adverse effects on families. It limits their ability to utilise opportunities that enhance their livelihoods and makes them remain in the poverty trap.
As the government pushes for inclusive economy and development, we are optimistic that poverty levels will be reduced to a considerable extent.
Already Tasaf I has decreased poverty by 10 per cent and extreme poverty (living on $ 1.25 or less a day) by 12 per cent. We are hopeful that Tasaf II will do more than this.
According to the Household Income and Expenditure Report (2017/ 18), 26 per cent of Tanzanians live in poverty and 9.7 per cent live in ex treme poverty.
So, if Tasaf II is well-implemented it will boost the beneficiaries’ livelihoods and q uality of life and the country’s middle-income economy.