DAR ES SALAAM: THE Treasurer Registrar, Mr Nehemiah Mchechu, has outlined operational efficiency and timely strategic decisions as major benefits to be obtained by public institutions due to the establishment of the Public Investment Fund, which has been recommended in the Public Investment Bill 2023.
According to Mr Mchechu, if the bill, which appeared in the National Assembly for the first reading in early November of this year, is passed into law by Members of Parliament and receives assent from the Head of State, the entities will reap huge productivity, thereby contributing to the socio-economic development of the people and the country.
“The Public Investment Fund is going to act as a reliable financial source of investments carried out by the government, empowering and strengthening cash-strapped public institutions that have failed to tap into investment opportunities and discharge their responsibilities,” said Mr Mchechu.
Mr Mchechu disclosed this during a working session with editors and journalists held on Tuesday in Dar es Salaam. He used the platform to explain the operations of the Treasurer Registrar’s office.
The Treasurer Registrar revealed that the envisioned fund will also act as a catalyst for timely financing of key strategic investment opportunities identified by the entities, such as the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), without facing any hurdles in the process.
Since the fund is expected to operate under the Public Investment Fund Steering Committee, he said clear guidelines should be set, outlining the criteria for investment, coordination, and other critical essentials required in the operation.
Similarly, the fund will not attract any interference from financial institutions, taking into account the underlying goal of empowering public entities to obtain investment capital. However, institutions with higher demands will be advised to secure bank loans, he said.
Mr Mchechu further noted that the fund’s operations will be independent from other sectoral funds, such as the Road Fund and Water Fund, which were established to meet the needs of specific sectors.
On the other hand, the Treasurer Registrar revealed the different proposed sources of the funds, including dividends remitted by public institutions, sales of shares, profits accrued from investment, and grants obtained from various sources.
The Public Investment Bill aims to establish the Public Investment Authority (PIA), which will be headed by a Director General, replacing all responsibilities under the office of the Treasurer Registrar.
Thus, it is recommended in the Bill that the Director General of the Authority shall be the main supervisor of the fund and responsible to the fund’s steering committee.
He observed that among the Director General’s responsibilities will be overseeing the proper management of all the fund’s accounts and expenditures, while the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) will conduct all audits pertaining to its accounts.
Also, the Treasurer Registrar outlined the members of the fund’s steering committee, including the Chief Secretary as chairperson, the Permanent Secretary responsible for planning and investment, and the Attorney General (AG).
Others include the Permanent Secretary in the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliament, and Coordination), the Executive Secretary in the Planning Commission, and three other members with ample experience and expertise in the area of trade and investment. The three members will be appointed by the responsible ministry in consultation with the authority.
Meanwhile, the Treasurer Registrar revealed that the government has no intention to deregister strategic public entities, regardless of their profit-making status.
The Treasurer Registrar noted that there are institutions that the government will not touch due to their strategic responsibilities, citing the example of the Tanzania Standard (Newspapers) Limited (TSN) and the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC).
“Our role is to closely follow up and support the institutions while ensuring that they deliver as intended for the interest of the nation,” said Mr Mchechu.
He added, “We intend to ensure that the institutions have proper management, a move aimed at reducing dependence on the government. It is quite clear that a country cannot operate without its own media.”
Mr Mchechu said that major efforts are being made to restore the glory of the entities by supporting them to become independent.