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TPA to pay heavy price over fund misuse saga

The Deputy Minister for Transport, Dr Charles Tizeba, said TPA has been abusing the powers for utilisation of funds, something that has left the government with no choice but to reverse the arrangement.“The TPA will only retain a portion of the revenue. This is a hundred per cent state owned enterprises,” Dr Tizeba told stakeholders, who met to chart the way forward following delay in commissioning the  Single Point Mooring dual pipeline.

Under the new scheme, TPA will now forward all revenue to the treasury and the government will decide the amount it will be allocated.This means the autonomy that it used to enjoy of deciding its budget, salaries and strategic plans will be curtailed, with all expenditure matters approved by the treasury.

On the other hand, TPA said they paid the treasury about 3bn/- in fiscal 2010/11 as dividends after generating 70bn/- in pretax revenue. According to officials, the authority paid around 30bn/- in taxes.But Dr Tizeba said the government was not supposed to get dividend from the authority but rather the full amount as it wholly owns TPA.
The move comes at a time when the top TPA brass, including the Dar es Salaam Port Manager, have been suspended to pave the way for investigations into allegations of office mismanagement and underperformance.However, some stakeholders are worried the move could lead to even lower levels  of performance as treasury takes its time before disbursing funds.

“The treasury might not see the importance, say of buying a new tag boat and may think it’s very expensive, thus hesitate to approve such budget at the expense of efficient cargo clearing and forwarding,” an industry analyst who preferred anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter  said.

He added: “Who does not know that money after it enters treasury coffers has many priorities?” The analyst suggested that those who decided that the port should retain its revenue were not unwise. They had good reasons and it would be better to stick to them.

“The best way is to give the authority terms and references of what they should do on strict conditions of delivery instead of directing to remit all revenue to the treasury,” the source said.In 2010, TPA bought one ultra modern tag boat, which according to some tag masters, is the most expensive asset so far the Dar es Salaam  port has, costing roughly 30 million US dollars (about 48bn/-).

Finance and Economic Affairs Minister William Mgimwa said last week the main challenge the government faces is balancing between its responsibility to exercise ownership to achieve vision and profitability without influencing the management of public enterprises.

A South African Corporate Lawyer and Lecturer, Ms Thina Siwendu, told the good governance forum that most African state-owned enterprises and public companies worked without clear objectives and strategies while they have multiple lines of accountability and reporting.

“Decision making becomes hostage to politics of the day… (while) accountability is diffused in confused roles,” Ms Siwendu, a founding partner and CEO of Siwendu and Partners Inc, said.As a result, parastatals are plunged into lack of responsibility and responsive leadership amid misallocation and loss of public funds and ultimately the institutions sink into ineffectiveness, she said.

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