Tanzania: Chinese Scholar Faults Africa's Economic Growth Miracles
Updated: 2014/06/04 Source: AllAfrica.com
Beijing — THE economic growth will remain merely figures on papers if common people are not involved in decision making process, thus increase the chances of dwarfing development pace.
Though, a number of players are involved in the economic decision from grass root levels, the participation is still embraced by politicians and leaders to lock out many common 'wananchi'.
The jinx of trade, according to Chinese experts, is to make further efforts to involve common men, as the government's decisions about how to raise and spend money affect all citizens.
They said traditionally economic decision especially on budget process should not be considered the exclusive domain of technocrats, economists and accountants who most complicated the process common men to follow up.
China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, Institute African Studies, Executive Director Mr Xu Weizhong, said despite Tanzania's good system of involving public opinion on budget making, the pie has to be increased to make sure the growth brings about social development.
"This is reflects on growth (figures) to not be translated by common peoples, despite registering a relative impressive economic growth," Mr Xu, who is also a research professor, said.
The Executive Director said this is not the only problem of Tanzania but almost for the whole of African countries that economic growths do not reflected on the social development on the ground.
"The system is good but to make it better Tanzania has to increase the pie to make it even bigger, as currently it seems it is largely a domain of politicians and a few elite," Prof Xu said.
He said further politicians involvement was better but they should not own the all process, more players have to participate.
According to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, the Public Expenditure Review (PER) process and Annual Review is an avenue for development partners, members from academic institution, political parties, social based organisation participation in the budget process.
In a study conducted by jointly by HakiElimu and Policy Forum - "Understanding the Budget Process in Tanzania" it was discovered out that the main problem is on the local government authorities.
"The local government budget process is not perfect," the study said "several have been identified over the past two to three years by a variety of researchers and analysts".
"It is useful to understand what some of these challenges are, since they can result in the process being very different in reality from the way it is described in official policy".
The study argued despite the budget, basically to be about "people's money" the process of deciding how to spend the money and making sure it goes where it is supposed to go is very difficult for the general public to access.
Much of the relevant information is not provided and when available it is extremely difficult to understand by the general public.
"Therefore, most citizens do not have the opportunity to engage with the budget," the study said. The report underlined some of challenges that include lack of reliable budget data.
It said during the budget formulation process, the village and LGA budgets pass through several different government offices, many of which have the power to amend the budget.
Sometimes, lower levels are not fully informed of such amendments until late in the process. When the final budget arrives at the start of the financial year, it may look very different from when it was passed by the district council or village assembly. Thus local priorities get lost.