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Fifth phase financial discipline yields tangible results

CRAFTING strategies to raise government revenue compounded by prudence in public expenditures were some of the two aspects, which contributed in raising the country’s economy to the middle income status ahead of Development Vision 2020-2025.

Speaking on Thursday in Dodoma, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sport Dr Hassan Abbasi further said discipline in financial expenditures, played a pivotal role especially money saved from the judiciary.

It would be remembered that having come up with an affirmative action on how to improve revenue collection, Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) now collects an average of 1.3tril/ per month from 800bn/- in 2015.

The rise in revenue collection is attributed to sealing of loopholes of revenue loss through sensitization to the public on the importance of paying tax and use of Electronic Fiscal Devices.

Legal reforms in the mining sector and marine services were also included as some of the factors, which contributed towards the rise in revenue collection.

He observed that improvement in revenue collection without discipline in public spending was useless, as further noted by the President, who thereafter instructed strict public expenditures.

Speaking in his capacity as Chief Government Spokesperson, Dr Abbasi, while addressing the press, said the factors collectively made the country’s economy to rise to the middle income status.

According to Dr Abbasi , to be able to observe prudence in public spending, President Magufuli’s government all along threw its weight on instituting strict measures, which included abolishing unnecessary foreign trips, workshops and bringing sanity in public services by removing ghost workers and those with fake academic credentials from its payroll.

Other measures included stepping up war against graft and inculcating the discipline of work among public servants and the general public.

When inaugurating the 11th Parliament in November 2015 President Magufuli laid down his government priorities, including making it clear that ‘it will not be business as usual under his leadership’.

Haphazard public spending, according to Dr Magufuli, was one of the vices that were cited to have been withholding back the nation from moving out of abject poverty.

In that memorable speech President Magufuli expressed his concern that the government was incurring a lot in financing unproductive foreign trips.

By the time he delivered the 11th Parliament inaugural speech in November 2015, the State had spent whopping 356.3bn/- in air tickets and allowances alone between 2013 and 2015, an amount that could have built 400 kilometres of tarmac road by then.

To date, overseas trips for public officials are still limited, and although the president no longer issues approvals, officials must seek permits from authorities closely monitored by his office.

In bringing sanity in public service, a total of 19,708 ghost workers were identified and removed, while 15,411 other civil servants who were using fake academic certificates were also axed from the government payroll, saving close to 20bn/-. On zero torelence on corruption, President Magufuli reiterated his campaign pledge to form a special court to try graft cases, a promise that was implemented. His zeal in anti-graft war has made Tanzania to be ranked the 96th out 180 countries in the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index, an improvement in three slots from the previous report. Unlike in the past, high profile government officials have been dragged to court for various charges, including economic crime- related offences. The public has also witnessed unnecessary workshops being scrapped off, saving billions in the would- be sitting allowances.

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