THE government has denied claims that 14 western Development Partners (DPs) have announced withdrawal of general support to Tanzania as depicted by a local media outlet.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Finance and Planning sought to clarify a news story carried on the ‘Guardian’ of March 31 and other social media, titled “Magufuli’s government hit by more foreign aid cuts.”
According to the statement, western Development Partners (DPs) still support the National Budget through three modalities namely General Budget Support (GBS), Basket Funds (BF) and Direct to Project Fund (DPF).
In the Financial Year 2015/16, a total of 8 development partners pledged to provide GBS; these include African Development Bank (AfDB), Canada, Denmark, European Union (EU), Finland, Ireland, Sweden and the World Bank (WB).For the 2016/17 financial year national budget, the AfDB, Denmark, EU and the WB have so far confirmed provision of the GBS; while other DPs will continue to provide support to the 2016/17 national budget through BF and DPF.
These include Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, the United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA) and Switzerland. Others are International Multilateral Development Agencies including AfDB, BADEA, Global Funds, OPEC Fund, Saudi Fun, EU, United Nation’s Agencies and the WB.
“Due to the ongoing domestic resource mobilisation, efforts of the Fifth Phase Government, it is anticipated that other development partners will also continue with the general budget support modality.
In this regard, the government is still in discussions with development partners regarding the general budget support 2016/17 financial year,” the statement read in part. “The government and Development Partners are in the process of commissioning a study on how best to improve development cooperation, including the dialogue structure,” the statement further noted.
The government thanked the Development Partners for their continued support towards the country’s development initiatives. Meanwhile, there are reports that the United Kingdom government is under pressure to review British aid worth £200 million to Tanzania over the Zanzibar elections.
A former UK cabinet minister warned against ‘spraying money around’ simply to ensure that Britain kept the United Nations target of spending 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid.
According to the news story published in The Telegraph of UK, the row focuses on Tanzania where the government has been accused of rigging elections on the island of Zanzibar, leading the opposition to boycott the latest poll.
But the UK Foreign Office told the Telegraph there was no decision to reduce Britain’s support for Tanzania even though Zanzibar’s election had not reflected the ‘will of the people.’
Dr Liam Fox, the former Conservative Defence Secretary, urged the government to review aid to Tanzania. “Western taxpayers expect their money to be used in an ethical way,” he said.
“When there are clear breaches of political rights or human rights, they will expect a response in terms of the aid we contribute. The fact that the US has reacted in such a strong way gives a very good signal.
We should be reviewing our own contribution in the light of that.” Britain has met the 0.7 per cent target since 2013, after the budget of the Department for International Development (DFID) jumped by 32 per cent in one year.
“There are lots of places in the world where we could be using our aid effectively to alleviate poverty,” said Dr Fox. “But countries need to earn support from the British taxpayer rather than us spraying money around until we hit 0.7 per cent.”
Owen Paterson, the senior Conservative backbencher and former environment secretary, said that DFID should reduce its aid to Tanzania in line with the US decision. “The Foreign Office says the election is not valid and we’re carrying on spending the money anyway.
This cannot be right. The Americans have acknowledged that this cannot be right and have acted – and we should act accordingly,” said Mr Paterson.
There has been rumours making the rounds that the United States is lobbying other international development partners including financial institutions and the United Nations to cut aid to Tanzania and the pressure on UK’s government to do just that, citing the US move as the basis, shades some truth to the rumours.
The US government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) announced recently that it will not release to Tanzania 470 million US dollars for funding electricity projects. According to a statement from the United States Embassy in Dar es Salaam, the corporation’s board decided to cease all activities related to the development of a second compact with Tanzania.
The MCC Board of Directors reportedly deferred a vote on the re-selection of Tanzania for compact eligibility, citing the nullification of election results in Zanzibar and the Cybercrimes Act, claiming that the law was used to limit freedom of expression and association.