The National Budget 2014/15: What are the emerging issues in the Water and Health sectors?

Primary tabs

Categories

In spite of the substantial increase in Water Sector funding with more commitments made by the Government of Tanzania and Development Partners from the original estimate at USD 951 Million to almost USD 1.7 Billion as per March 2014, the sector still faces major challenges including delays in disbursement and low spending in new districts.

Speaking at the Policy Forum Breakfast Debate which took place on 30th May 2014 at the British Council Auditorium in Dar es Salaam, Namwaka Omari Mwaikinda, the Director of Policy atWaterAid revealed that these challenges existed in the context of a Water Sector budget that remains highly donor dependent with only 46% coming from the Government of Tanzania during the 2013/14 Budget.

Omari-Mwaikinda said that although the Government’s Big Results Now target to achieve sustained rural water coverage of 67% by 2015 by providing 15.4 Million rural Tanzanians with access to water was comendable, realising this target required an overall 3-year budget of 729  bil TZS.

“We are concerned with the current trend in releasing and spending of funds which is very slow from both Development Partners and the Government of Tanzania to achieve the targets,” she added.

Moroever, she noted that there were other implementation and monitoring problems like the lack of technical audits raising questions about whether there is a means of determining if the little money disbursed is effectively and efficiently used and with a water point functionality rate of 54%, whether the resources being disbursed are providing value for money.

The second presenter of the event Mr. Florian Schweitzer, Health Governance & Finance Department at SIKIKA, presented on the Ministry of Health and Social welfare Budget: looking at past, present and future trends.

He noted that although the Tanzanian population is growing, surprisingly, the MOHSW total budget for 2014/15 as compared to the budget for 2013/14 has dropped by 17%.

“Thissharp reduction which is also manifested in the development budget will have significant consequences for health care develivery as it includes funds from development partners that are spent, despite their classification as development, on recurrent budget items including essential medicines and medical supplies.“

He added that the Government’s Big Results Nowdoes not include health as priority and wondered how Tanzania will achieve universal access to primary health care and access to reproductive health services for all individuals. He recommended that financial planning  recognize the provision of essential medicines and medical supplies as a basic human right that has to be progressively realized and that government should establish a funding  target for essential medicines and medical supplies and provide a strategy of how to achieve it.