Stakeholders insist on youth-inclusive budget

AS the parliamentary budget session ended on Wednesday, stakeholders have called for active engagement of young people in budget-related activities, so that Tanzania can create a more inclusive and participatory budgeting system from the grassroots.

The call was made in Dodoma recently during a two-day workshop dubbed: Stakeholders Workshop Budget Justice and Debt Management in Tanzania jointly organized by the Tanzania Youth Vision Association (TYVA), Tanzania Coalition for Debt and Development (TCDD) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, in a bid to ensure that youth voices are heard, their concerns are addressed and their aspirations are reflected in the budgeting process.

The workshop brought together political parties’ leaders, teachers, health workers, university students and business men/women from Dodoma rural and urban respectively.

The workshop intended to broaden participants’ understanding with regards to participatory budgeting and budgetary issues. It also provided a platform for participants to come up with innovative ideas and methods of increasing revenue, identifying untapped income generation opportunities and developing their positions and demands in view of progressive budget and taxation as a tool to budget financing.

During her presentation, Ms Hellen Masawe, a Programme Assistant for Budget and Policy Analysis at Policy Forum, said the issue of budget processes and budget justice holds a significant importance for the young population in Tanzania.

She said it was crucial for them to be actively involved in all stages of the budget cycle, including the planning, implementation and evaluation phases.

“This level of involvement is essential because the budget directly impacts their daily lives,’’ she noted.

She highlighted that the budget can be used to address inequalities and allocate resources to citizens’ needs such as road infrastructures, education, health and social protection.

However, on the other hand, budgets can be misused to escalate social inequalities and create classes in society, particularly when citizens’ participation in public affairs is minimal.

She pointed out social and structural factors that influence budget justice in Tanzania as well as the main challenges that hinder participatory budget process in Tanzania. In order to avoid the budget misuse, community engagement in the budgeting process is crucial.

Also in his presentation on Domestic Resource Mobilization Dr Balozi Morwa, a Senior Lecturer from the Catholic University College of Mbeya spoke about the concept of resource mobilization and its crucial role in financing the national budget.

He pointed out a list of causes and factors for the budget deficit and the rationale behind domestic resource mobilization.

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