GOVERNANCE and CORRUPTION in TANZANIA:1995-2005
By, Policy Forum [The author of this summary-- is the founder of Tanzania Development Research Group (TADREG) ]
This report maps what we know about trends in governance and corruption in Tanzania over the decade 1995-2005—the ‘Mkapa years'. There are large gaps in the literature and no firm conclusions can be drawn on trends in the quality of governance or the incidence of corruption . Nevertheless, we can make an informed assessment.
1. Grand corruption and waste in central government
Public procurement and contracting frequently involve corruption and waste. Roads, infrastructure and construction have been prime areas of abuse. Some contested public investments in the decade under review include the $40m radar system bought from British Aerospace of the UK, the $350m Bank of Tanzania Twin Towers , the $ 63m Mafuta House , and the $47m presidential jet . These and other projects have been criticised on the grounds of cost, priority as public investments and the likelihood of corruption.
Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL), Tanzania 's first experience with a private power project, has been contested on the grounds of cost, corruption, and choice of technology. The cost ( $40m a year in ‘capacity payments' alone) has forced the government and donor agencies to subsidise the power utility Tanesco , and to borrow $40m from the World Bank to help foot the power bill.
Corruption in public procurement in central and local government is said to cost up to $300m a year. Questionable expenditure identified by the Controller and Auditor General for the year 2002/03 amounted to about $67m. There is a significant downward trend in levels of questioned revenue and expenditure during the period 1998-2002. Some argue that the CAG reports are serious underestimates of the actual rate of ‘leakages'. Donor budget support (about 40 percent of the recurrent budget) is implicated pro rata in the theft of public money.
Tanzania currently collects about 13 percent of GDP in taxes, up from 11.3 percent in 1999. Some argue that the relatively low tax/ GDP ratio (it is less than half the Kenyan figure) reflects the narrow tax base and the largely agricultural nature of the economy. After the creation of the Tanzania Revenue Authority in 1996, revenue collection improved substantially. Despite evidence of continued corruption, the increase in revenue collection has remained positive to date .
2. Foreign aid
Donor aid in the form of budget support accounts for about two-fifths of recurrent spending. Donor agencies are heavily involved in supporting governance and anti-corruption initiatives in Tanzania . Chronic problems with dependence on aid for these and other reform initiatives include inadequate local ownership, poor coordination by donors and government, and the persistence of off-budget spending (though this has improved somewhat in recent years). The misuse of foreign aid, and the consequences of this misuse, are underreported and under-researched. Negative consequences of dependence on foreign aid from the governance perspective include the creation of parallel structures that serve to emasculate an already weak state, and heavy transaction costs of aid management for senior officials. At the same time, according to one school of thought, aid reinforces the formal powers of the executive arm of government at the expense of parliament, civil society and the private sector, all of which also enjoy ‘donor support'.
3. Natural resources
Fishing, hunting and logging licensing and regulation, and building and agricultural land allocation, are all vulnerable to corruption, both petty and grand. The opportunity to earn high rents makes natural resource exploitation highly vulnerable to corruption at both local and national levels.
Land is the basic natural resource for farmers and pastoralists and critics argue that the 1999 Village Land Act is inadequate because land is ultimately disposable at the discretion of the President, or his representative. The legislation does not protect villagers against state appropriation of village land, does not provide for basic transparency in land registration, and gives ‘the district' powers of adjudication that may be abused.
4. Petty corruption and local government
Critics see decentralisation as a means of decentralising corruption and reproducing the patrimonial state at lower levels. The Local Government Reform Programme (LGRP) is designed to improve the quality and quantity of service delivery and raise the quality of governance in local government administration by bringing decision-making and accountability closer to service users. Critics argue that the ‘good governance' component of the LGRP is weak.
Incidence of corruption
Tanzanians see official corruption as pervasive. Corruption is perceived to be more common among the police than among other officials. Civil servants are seen to be more corrupt than elected leaders, and local more than foreign businessmen. In a 2001 survey, two-thirds of respondents disagreed with the statement ‘bribery is not common among public officials in Tanzania .' Similarly, 62 percent disagreed with the statement: ‘corruption was a worse problem under the old single-party government than these days'.
In a 2003 survey, households were almost twice as likely to have bribed a policeman or woman (11 percent) as a health worker or a magistrate (6 percent). No less than 16 percent of the top income quintile had bribed a police officer during the previous year, and eight percent of this group had bribed a health officer or a magistrate/court clerk.
A summary of 36 service delivery surveys commissioned by the President's Office (Public Service Management) found that:
A third of respondents said they were asked to pay a bribe; 13 percent actually paid; the average bribe was TShs 22,000 ($20);
A very tentative estimate is that the average public servant receives the equivalent of 45 percent of his or her salary through corruption;
‘There is essentially no serious deterrence to corruption in terms of employment sanction.'
Research in six contrasting districts found variable views on the degree of corruption in the local council. Overall, nearly three-fifths of respondents thought corruption was a serious problem in the council, ranging from 40 percent to 72 percent.
Reports from the Controller and Auditor General ( CAG ) indicate a substantial increase in questionable expenditure during 1997-2003. In contrast, there appears to be a significant improvement in the proportion of Local Government Authorities receiving clean CAG reports, though the high year-on-year variance (+/-30 percent) suggests extreme caution in drawing firm conclusions on trends. A number of tracking studies have shown that Other Charges (OC) are frequently reallocated from service delivery to council expenses, including allowances and travel. A REPOA tracking study found that funding primary education through the Primary Education development Plan (PEDP) involves transfers to districts from three separate ministries, thus increasing the likelihood of leakages. The study found that just over half (54 percent) of the central government disbursement reached sample schools. However, leakages in the ‘book component' were more than 60 percent, compared with less than 20 percent for the ‘cash component'.
Local tax administration
LGAs collect a wide range of ‘local' taxes. Although local taxes account for only about 5-10 percent of total LG spending (more in urban, less in rural, LGAs), LGA tax administration leaves much to be desired as regards predictability, fairness, and efficiency of collection. Moreover, tax revenues are largely consumed by councillors and council officials rather than being used for providing services. Many taxes collected never reach the local council's coffers.
Access to information
A REPOA national survey (2003) found that, apart from official AIDS prevention posters, there was little public information available to respondents and their households. The best-off respondents were more than twice as likely to know how to report corruption or make a complaint against an official as the poorest, and to be aware of road fund allocations
5. Governance, corruption and service delivery
Basic education has received a positive assessment from the public as a result of the abolition of school fees, new classroom construction and the expansion of enrolments under PEDP. But quality issues have not been addressed, and system leakages have undermined attempts to increase per capita spending on textbooks and other teaching materials.
Healthcare spending has increased significantly under the Poverty Reduction Strategy, with mixed results. A REPOA survey (2003) found that:
(1) half the respondents thought that facilities were cleaner than previously; (2) time to reach the health facility had improved in a quarter of cases, and worsened in only five percent; (3) availability of drugs had improved for nearly a third of the sample, it deteriorated for nearly a quarter (23 percent); (4) waiting time had improved in a quarter of cases, but deteriorated in almost a fifth; (5) a fifth of respondents declared that the cost of treatment had declined; two-fifths said the cost of treatment had risen.
Spending has increased significantly on road repair and maintenance as a result of the Road Fund, financed out of an earmarked fuel tax. More than two-fifths of survey respondents (43 percent) saw no change in the quality of local road maintenance and repair, a third (35 percent) had seen an improvement, and a quarter (23 percent) noted deterioration.
Although the picture is mixed, there is little evidence that additional resources brought about improved basic services. Improvements have been unevenly distributed across the country, have been largely quantitative , and in some cases have not been sustained , and that the poor see fewer benefits from additional spending than the wealthy. Basic services are under-funded in relation to demand, but corruption, waste and mismanagement make the availability and quality of services much worse than need be...[The summary continue here>>]