by CSOs on the PRSP Progress Report.
Prepared at a pre consultation
meeting on the Consultative Group meeting held in Dar es Salaam. 6th
Society views on the CG Process
First we commend the
Government and its development partners for creating more opportunity for
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to participate and comment on the
different strategies and plans toward poverty reduction in Tanzania. In
particular, we are grateful for the CG special session for consultations
with CSOs which broadens Civil Society participation.
evidence of government’s acknowledgement of CSOs wide range of expertise
in analyzing and understanding of poverty, based on extensive local
experience in all regions of the country.
However, that resource, knowledge and experience has not been
effectively used under the current arrangements for policy consultation.
take note that CG discussions are one part of a wider process of
negotiations and planning which includes the Poverty Reduction Strategy
Paper (PRSP), the Tanzania Assistance Strategy (TAS), the Medium Term
Expenditure Framework (MTEF), the Public Expenditure Review (PER) and the
Poverty Reduction Growth Facility (PRGF). However while we
acknowledge there has been limited participation on the part of the PRSP,
there has virtually been no participation
on the part of PRGF/PSAC-1- process, which has a bearing on the success of
PRSP. The PRGF stipulates the conditionalities imposed on the Government
by its development partners, principally the IMF and World Bank. In this
regard, because the PRSP is linked to the PRGF, we are even tempted to
step back and question the value added from our participation in
consultations over these strategies because it appears we are just called
upon to rubber stamp faire accompli agreements. In particular, we are
concerned that the “informal” discussions with civil society
representatives take place after the formal meeting.
We stress that in
order for civil society to contribute effectively, there should be
institutional mechanisms for consultation at earlier stages of these
processes, so that civil society inputs can be properly prepared to inform
the deliberations of the formal CG meetings.
on the PRSP progress Report
The value added by the
PRSP, the progress made to-date, the stabilization of economic indicators
at the macro level where the inflation rate has gone down and the adequate
level of international reserves that has been maintained.
transparency on public revenue and expenditure at macro level though this
exercise still needs to be improved at decentralized levels.
The introduction of
the micro finance policy to
reach the poor who have no access to credit.
of the tax system, which has started with this year’s government budget,
to reduce duplication of taxation thus strengthening the profitability in
agricultural production, which is the backbone of our economy.
Recent efforts by
the government to initiate a multi-sectoral response to the HIV/AIDs
pandemic. The epidemic has far reaching and deep impact on the economy as
a whole and priority sectors, leading to a reverse of previous
achievements in poverty alleviation. We call upon the government to
prioritize the response to HIV/AIDS as a priority among priorities
society engagement in these processes requires access to relevant and
adequate information, in good time.
It is difficult to
obtain a clear picture of the overall impact of current financing
arrangements on poverty reduction. This
constrains our ability both to comment on strategic changes and to assess
progress under the PRSP. In
particular, we are concerned that new loan agreements are being concluded
at a rapid rate, without adequate public consultation. After a few years,
by current trends, Tanzania will be as heavily indebted as it was before
The current basket funding
of PRSP, (PRSP resource envelop) is not transparent on HIPC saving
expenditure. This system does
not allow tracing and track-down of the actual amount of debt relief
savings disbursed to sectoral/decentralized levels, thus making it
difficult to measure its actual impact.
the improvement in transparency on revenue and expenditure at macro level
(through the MTEF/PER processes), we are still concerned that there is no
accountability in reporting back on actual expenditures, which have been
disbursed, to decentralized levels.
The ongoing process of
structural adjustment, particularly privatization has to be looked at
carefully and made more pro-poor. Privatization
should avoid adverse social impacts such as massive retrenchment and
acceleration of poverty in general (i.e. through reducing access of the
poor to the essential services offered by public utilities). We also note
that macro economic and structural reforms are being done with inadequate
safety nets to cushion negative impact on the poor. TASAF and SELF, which
are mentioned in the PRSP progress report as safety nets,
are not broad enough in their geographic coverage and their focus
is limited and narrow in scope.
The mandate of the
Poverty Monitoring System, which has been institutionalized as part of
monitoring the PRSP, should be extended to also monitor the PRGF and
Organizations should be given access to relevant documents on
macro-economic policy and structural reforms, and agreed aid/loan
conditionalities (e.g. the PRGF document).
participation in all relevant discussions/decision on social and economic
reforms at all levels (i.e. macro, sectoral, loan agreements and budget
support) CSOs were only invited as observers in the formal CG meeting.
The government should
institutionalize mechanisms to consult the public, may be through the
parliament, before acquiring new debt in order to justify the heavy burden
it will place on Tanzanian citizens.
We hope that these
comments will be received as they are offered in the spirit of
partnership, with the desire to make more useful and effective
contributions to the process of poverty reduction.