Dodoma — Finance and Planning Minister Philip Mpango tabled in the National Assembly yesterday budget estimates for his ministry, asking the House to approve a total of 8.716 trillion/- for the fiscal year 2016/2017, a large chunk of which will be used to service the national debt.
Available data indicate that the national debt, comprising domestic and foreign loans, has swelled to 42tri/- as of January, this year. The funds were used to finance implementation of development projects in various sectors of the economy.
He explained in the House here that a total of 8tri/- will be used to settle the national debt while 791.99bn/- and 45.45bn/- will be channelled to development projects and wage bill, respectively.
A former World Bank senior economist, Dr Mpango said that in the coming financial year, the government has also allocated 1.14tri/- to settle obligations it owes social security funds as an employer.
During the same period, the ministry expects to collect 449.699bn/- from various sources including sell of licences, tender documents, rent charges, dividends and contributions from public organisations.
The budget estimates covers the Ministry and departments falling under it namely the Treasury, the National Debt Department, the Accountant General, the Office of the Treasury Registrar and the Joint Financial Commission.
Others include the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the National Audit Office of Tanzania (NAOT) and the Planning Commission, to which Dr Mpango was executive director before he was appointed by President John Magufuli as Acting Commissioner General of the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and eventually Minister for Finance and Planning.
In a related development, Dr Mpango asked the House to approve 230.693bn/- for recurrent and development votes for the Office of the Parliament and the Judiciary Fund.
This is in accordance with amendments on Chapter 237,Section 29 (3) of the Parliament Administration Act; Chapter 115 through the Budget Act of 2015, which empowers the Minister responsible for Finance to request funds for the vote.
The same applies to revisions of Sub-section 59 (3) of the Judiciary Administration Act through the Budget Act of 2015, empowering the Finance Minister to budget and ask for funds for management of the judiciary in the country.
Before the amendments last year, fund allocation for the Parliament was covered through the Prime Minister’s Office whilst that of the Judiciary was catered for in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
“My ministry thus asks the House to approve 131.627bn/- for the Judiciary Fund of which 48.297bn/- and 36.567bn/- will be used for salaries and other charges, respectively, while development projects have been allocated 46.761bn/-, ” he explained.
The Office of the Parliament on the other hand has been allocated a total of 99.066bn/- in which 92.066bn/- is for other charges, including salaries and recurrent expenditures, while development projects have been allocated 7bn/-.
On the other hand, the Vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Budget Committee, Mr Josephat Kandege (Kalambo-CCM), stressed on the need to properly examine the debts before payments are made.
“The committee is concerned as well that longstanding debts owed to employees, contractors and other suppliers have been swelling each year and thus giving a burden to public institutions which are made to pay loans arising from previous fiscal years,” he stated.
Deputy Shadow Finance and Planning Minister David Silinde (Momba – Chadema), much as he refused to read his budget, requested Deputy Speaker, Dr Tulia Ackson, to record the written speech in the Hansard.
Among other issues, Mr Silinde expressed concern in his speech that the national debt was increasing at an alarming, urging the government to explain sustainability of the liability compared to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Credit: All Africa