State to scrutinise identification of Tasaf beneficiaries

THE government has said that it intends to address a number of issues that have emerged during the operations of the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF), particularly with regard to the selection of beneficiaries.

This was said in the august House on Thursday by Deputy Minister in the President’s Office-Public Service Management and Good Governance, Ridhiwani Kikwete, in response to concerns expressed by lawmakers prior to the docket’s budget’s approval.

The ministry’s budget estimates for 2023/24 amounting to 1tri/- in recurrent and development expenditures was unanimously endorsed by the Members of Parliament, yesterday.

Mr Kikwete said the ministry will work on the areas with gaps in the TASAF project, including the information provided by the officials assigned to the project.

“The committee and parliamentarians’ suggestions about TASAF are correct that there are some areas that should be revised and we will work on them,” he said.

Additionally, he stated that lawmakers are very concerned about the identification of beneficiaries.

“It is true that this area has challenges. Nevertheless, the government has always improved this area and we will continue to do so in order to ensure that the appropriate people will benefit from the project,” he said.

According to him, the government has developed a procedure to direct village governments to ensure that TASAF meetings include all villagers; however, there have been some complaints about political affiliation being included in these procedures, which the ministry will address as well.

Responding to issues raised by Members of Parliament during the budget estimates debate, the minister in charge of the docket, George Simbachawene, stated that employment issues for public servants are critical for the country’s security and resource.

On salaries, he said that the budget must be in line with the national income and economic capacity.

For example, he said, for the financial year 2020/2021 the salary budget was 7.7tri/- and the internal income was 24tri/-, 2021/2022 the wage bill stood at 8.1tri/- and the income of domestic revenue was 26.3tri/- and in 2022/2023 wage bill shot up to 9.8tri/- and the national income grew to 28tri/-. In 2023/2024 fiscal year, the bill will go up to 10.8tri/- and domestic income is expected to grow and reach 31tri/-.

He added, “When it comes to interests, we should consider other areas as well because there are international standards and if you go above them, you’ll enter an economic crisis. If we want public servants to receive very high salaries, that means we have to stop some development projects.”

On division of labour into councils to ensure equality in hiring public servants, Mr Simbachawene said the policy of employment management in the public service, second edition 2008, section 4(2) states that jobs should be competitive and done in accordance with the scheme of service.

Mr Simbachawene said in the past without Public Service Recruitment Secretariat, the problem was bigger than it is the case now, adding that with the current system; it has become easy to see the shortcomings that have been identified by many parliamentarians.

“The current recruitment system has shortcomings, but it is because the number of graduates from universities in the country who depend on government employment opportunities is greater than the number of available government job opportunities,” Simbachawene explained.

He also suggested that for volunteer jobs, a system be established by employers to ensure that the volunteers receive at least a daily allowance and that a budget be set aside for them if possible.

Earlier, during a debate on the ministry’s budget estimates, Nkasi North MP Aida Khenani stated that TASAF programme embodies good intentions, but the method used to identify beneficiaries presents some challenges.

In the same vein, Special Seat MP Furaha Matondo (CCM) said another challenge of TASAF was the lack of awareness.

“Most people in our areas are unaware of what TASAF is, what it offers, and who is targeted; it is critical to educate Tanzanians on this project,” she said.

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