PM: Expedite decentralization-by-devolution policy

PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa has directed the Minister of State in the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government, Angellah Kairuki, to expedite the ongoing process of enacting the national policy for decentralisation-by-devolution (D-by- D), in order to ease service delivery to Tanzanians from the grassroots level.

The Prime Minister issued the directive in Dodoma yesterday, when opening the 13th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Tanzania Local Government Reforms Association (TOA).

TOA is an association which is a combination of all Regional Administrative Secretaries (RASs) and District Executive Directors (DEDs) from across the country.

Speaking when opening the meeting yesterday, the Premier underscored the need to fast-track drafting of the national devolution policy, saying having the policy would help intensify service delivery at local government level.

Mr Majaliwa was responding to a request by TOA Chairperson, Albert Msovera, who asked the government to expedite the process to enact that policy, saying that without that policy, there was laxity in providing services to people.

However, according to Ms Kairuki, the policy would come out anytime soon, adding that currently, it was at the level of the cabinet secretariat.

Mr Majaliwa further directed that the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government and the Ministry of Finance and Planning look at the possibility of starting to provide Local Government Development Grant (LGDG) to Local Government Authorities (LGAs), which stopped in the 2016/17 financial year.

According to Ms Kairuki, the government introduced the grant in 2005 but it withdrew it with a view to making improvements.

At the event, the Premier paid tribute to TOA for it’s initiatives to advise the government on several issues regarding LGAs, advising the association to intensify capacity building programmes to it’s members so that they can advice the government accordingly on how to improve services to wananchi, as well as increasing transparency and good governance.

“I want to also remind TOA to intensify awareness campaigns to its members, to ensure that they provide important information on the implementation of different government plans including information on revenue and expenditure, so as to build trust from citizens,” he added.

Mr Majaliwa also directed that TOA should offer priority and empower its members to put up strategies for supervising development projects in LGAs so that the projects are completed with quality as well as considering value for money.

“You should equally put-up strategies for revenue collection as well as sealing loopholes for revenue loss, so as to improve service delivery in your areas of duty,” he added.

The Premier acknowledged that a good number of civil servants who have benefitted with a training programme offered by JICA in Osaka, Japan from 2002 in various LGAs related issues.

“I take this opportunity to thank the government of Japan for supporting this venture,” he said.

Welcoming the Premier earlier on, Minister Kairuki demanded RASs and DEDs to effectively use an Improved Opportunities and Obstacles to Development (O&OD), which is one of the efforts made by the government to promote community empowerment village, hamlets and wards level.

Improved O&OD has been designed to replace Conventional O&OD developed in 2001 that was constrained with several shortfalls. Conventional O&OD was developed in line with Local Government Reform Programme (LGRP) articulated in D- by -D Agenda of 1996 and subsequent Local Government Policy Paper of 1998.

The LGRP was derived from legal framework of the Constitution of Tanzania 1977 under Article 145 and 146 that stressed on transferring authority to people to make them proactively participate in planning and implementation of development programmes.

Minister Kairuki said through training programme offered by JICA, at least 6,367 civil servants have undergone training on how best to deal with D- by –D, saying through such opportunity, the government will continue to strengthen the capacity of LGAs.

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