Rebellion among Chama Cha Mapinduzi lawmakers against their government is brewing here, with Kisesa constituency legislator in Mwanza region, Luhaga Mpina, vowing to oppose the proposed 2012/13 government budget which was tabled here on Thursday by Finance and Economic Affairs minister Dr William Mgimwa.
Mpina said he was ready to pay the price for his avowed stance, including being dismissed from the party, adding that his opposition was a matter of principle.
Addressing a news conference yesterday, Mpina said when passing the five-year development plan (2012-16) here last year they (parliamentarians) agreed on three major points which had not been addressed by the proposed budget.
“The first point is that every year the government should set aside 2.7trn/- from internal sources to fund development projects. We also agreed to allocate 35 per cent of the budget to development projects and stop diverting allotted to other activities (ring fence). However, this budget has not addressed these issues,” noted Mpina.
He said implementation of the country’s development agenda was currently lagging behind the set targets, adding that in order to complement resource mobilization strategies both conventional and innovative measures would be employed by the government in order to set aside a minimum of 35 per cent of the national budget to finance development expenditure each year.
The MP said that, according to the guidelines on expenditure probity, in order to fulfill the activities outlined in the priority areas, the plan identified a range of strategic activities, the responsible implementation organs and the cost of implementation amounting to 42.98 trn/- over the next five years, with an annual average of 8.6 trn/- exclusive of recurrent budget.
Mpina, who is also a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, said the tabled budget goes contrary the direction which the parliamentarians resolved to follow that at least 35 per cent of the budget go to development projects.
He said this year’s budget has set aside only 30 per cent of the revenue for development expenditure, hence it was not valid according to what the National Assembly resolved.
Mpina said the government had allocated huge amounts of money (70 per cent of the entire budget) to recurrent expenditure, arguing that this would not benefit Tanzanians.
“There are many Tanzanians who die everyday due to lack of treatment and medicines. They lack water and their children get poor education,” he said.
He said a development plan is a contract between the people and the government, hence members of Parliament, as the representatives of wananchi, are obliged to protect it. He revealed that he had been urging the government, through their committee, to make major changes in the budget without success.
“The government told us that such a move would increase costs, while the budget was to be tabled parallel with other neighbouring countries,” he said, adding that he was out to oppose the budget on Monday before being debated in the House.
“The government’s decision to allocate 1.7 trn/- instead of 2.7trn/- as stipulated in the five-year development plan that was passed by the House last year has led to less money being allocated to development projects and many others have not been funded entirely. This defeats the purpose of having the plan in the first place,” he said.
“Worse still, in the proposed budget internal revenue has increased to 1.5trn/- but recurrent expenditure has gone up by 1.9trn/-. Development expenditure has decreased by 397.8bn/- compared to the the 2011/12 financial year. This is clear evidence that the government has no intention of cutting recurrent expenditure,” he said.
Mpina, who was denied an opportunity to seek the Speaker’s guidance soon after minister Mgimwa had finished reading the budget speech on Thursday, noted that for a long time the government has been issuing pledges to reduce its recurrent expenditure so as to accelerate service delivery and economic growth, but said a major part of the revenue was instead being used to run the government.
He said nothing would prevent him from seeking the Speaker’s guidance on Monday when the National Assembly resumes its business.
He intoned that expenditure on trips, allowances, fuel, purchase of vehicles and furniture, communication, celebrations, workshops, conferences and training outside the country could easily be avoided.
“How was it possible for the government to dish out 1.7trn/- to compensate banks and businesspeople who were affected by the economic recession in 2009 and now it fails to allocate 500bn/- for development programmes?” he queried.
He pointed out some of the avoidable expenditure as stipulated in Volume II of the estimates where there is an increase of 4,753,098,000/- for just two ministries: Energy and Minerals and Finance.
Mpina gave an example of an increase of 1.949 bn/- for a management and information system at the Energy ministry, saying the expenditure was proposed to rise from 53.87m/- to 2.003bn/-