A call has been made to the government to meet the demands of free education including capitation grant, financing infrastructures, school feeding porridge program and compensation of school fee secondary education inorder to achieve a balanced budget in the education sector 2016/2017. In addition for this to occur there would also need to be an increase to 30%-40% of development budget for the education sector budget and a perfect match between allocation and actual expenditure in development budget.
This was said by Mr. Godfrey Boniventura, Research and Policy Analysis Manager from HakiElimu on the 29th of April 2016 at the Policy Forum monthly breakfast debate titled “Achieving a balanced budget in health and education Expectations, Challenges and Opportunity” at the British Council.
Centering on the health sector budget, Mr. James Mlali discussed the importance of harnessing the demographic dividend towards a middle income economy. As Tanzania already faces a number of challenges including meeting needs for universal access to health services, education, sanitation and power, there needs to be consideration of how rapid population growth will affect the implementation of all new national strategies, an investment in high job creating sectors and the allocation of sufficient funds for family planning services.
Both Mr. Mlali and Mr. Edward Mbanga (the discussant of the event) mentioned that though the percentage allocated to health sector has improved, it has not yet reached the 15% stated by the Abuja declaration pact. However, Mr. Mbanga seemed optimistic that they are headed in this direction and that health infrastructure will be given priority.Dr. Wilson Kitinya on the other hand stressed that it is important to focus and differentiate between need and allocation as well as allocation and disbursement. He also brought attention to the issue of development vs training in the health sector and called for government to re-consider donor dependency.
Attendees called for the broadening of the definition of health, a focus on how money is spent and allocated, formalizing other sectors, enhanced revenue collection to finance budget and a shift of priorities of the nation so as to achieve a balanced budget.