The Tanzanian Government is working on the wide range of measures that will lead to national culture change over time. I have blogged here and here about corruption, and today I see a Reuters report about the Tanzanian Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), whose job is to regulate government tenders to ensure that the money goes to the project, and not into the pockets of officials.
According the World Bank’s country procurement assessment report for Tanzania issued in 2003, about 20% of government expenditure on procurement is lost through corruption, mainly in the form of kickbacks and bogus investments that eventually have to be written off. The report says,
Considering that public procurement accounts for about 70 per cent of the entire government expenditure budget, this translates to a loss of $300m (approx. 300bn/- at the time) per year, which is enough to finance the combined annual recurrent budgets of the ministries of health and education.
Clearly the PPRA has plenty of work ahead! Established two years ago, the PPRA will issue standard procurement procedures to government departments for running tenders, monitor the performance of tenders and investigate any irregularities. Head of PPRA, Ramadhan Mlinga, says,
Actually one of the serious things is lack of information. Basically all these efforts will be able to give some correct statistics on procurement.
Under Tanzania's new anti-corruption law anyone found guilty of graft through procurement could face fines of between 1.0 million shillings and three million, or three and five years in prison.
For another view on government effectiveness in fighting corruption in Tanzania, see a report (4 Sept 2007) in This Day, which quotes a recent assessment by the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit.
New laws, regulatory agencies with real power, professional development training and an alert media that keeps the spotlight on the problem – all of these things will contribute to a change in culture in coming years. Reducing corrupt practices at all levels of life will help reduce poverty and encourage faster economic growth.
That's good news for the kids at the School of St Jude. Your support will help them grow up well-equipped for a new society that is undergoing important social change.