STATUS ON ENGENDERING THE GOVERNMENT BUDGET IN TANZANIA: ACHIEVEMENTS AND CHALLENGES Paper Presented at the 53rd Conference for Commission on Women Status – 2nd -9th March 2009 NEW YORK –USA 1. Introduction Tanzania is among the countries that have accorded higher priority on gender equality, and women empowerment. This is evidenced by the various affirmative actions undertaken by the government at the level of Parliament, Judiciary and Executive for creating a levelling playing field particularly for women and other disadvantaged groups in the society.
The government is committed to ensure that, through gender equality and equity women of this country will become agent of their own development. Hence, to attain that goal, the government has been in the process of engendering her national budget. This brief paper highlights on the gender budgeting initiatives in Tanzania, how the government has integrated it in the planning and budgeting processes, as well as funding of gender targets and activities for attaining the desired results. The paper also points out challenges encountered and how the government is committed to address them. . Gender Budgeting Initiatives in Tanzania Gender Budgeting initiatives were first pioneered in the country by the Tanzania Gender Networking Program (TGNP), a Non-Government Organization, way back in 2000. The intervention was supported by the Government whereby the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (MoFEA) in collaboration with TGNP conducted number of awareness training sessions to the government Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Regions and Local Governments Authorities (LGAs) on Gender Responsive Budgeting.
Planning and Budgeting Officers were trained on how to mainstream gender in their plans and budgets. Following the training, in the financial year 2006/07 a section was included in the Plan and Budget Guidelines instructing MDAs, Regions and LGA’s to develop targets and activities addressing gender equality issues in their respective institution’s Medium Term Strategic Plans and Expenditure Frameworks. To date MOFEA has continued to allocate resources to the MDAs, Regions and LGAs targets and activities for achieving the long-term desired goals on gender and equity aspects. . Integrating Gender into the Planning and Budgeting Processes Government Budget is the key policy instrument that the government uses to ensure that, targets and activities are accomplished to realize the desired set of national goals and objectives. Over the years, Government has made strides to make gender equality and women’s empowerment as the main instruments for achieving the country’s national economic growth and poverty reduction objectives.
Engendering of the government budget is a complex process that requires a well designed planning and budgeting processes. Government has a good designed planning and budgeting processes in place, which involves many actors at different stages. Therefore, in the financial years 1998/99 and 2000/2001 government adopted performance –oriented budgeting and Medium Term Expenditure Framework with the aim of improving service delivery to its citizens.
Under the model, each MDA, Regions and LGA is required to have a three years Strategic Plan indicating its mission, vision and well articulated objectives, targets and action-oriented activities inline with the national priorities and other sector policy interventions. National and international commitments are reflected in the national Strategy for Growth and Poverty Reduction (NSGRP) and in the institutional strategic plans.
The objectives and targets in the Strategic Plans are reflected in the Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks for MDAs/Regions/LGAs for effective implementation. Hence, strategically these systems in place have been used as an entry point for engendering the national budget. 4. Financing for Gender Equality, Women Empowerment and HIV/AIDS Pandemic policy interventions Gender and HIV/AIDS are cross-cutting issues that have been given due attention in the allocation of national resources. Furthermore, to ensure that MDAs, Regions and LGAs mainstream well gender in heir institutional Plans and budgets, the Plan and Budget Guidelines are issued in each financial year providing policy instructions for mainstreaming gender. For example, in the financial year 1999/2000 the Plan and Budget Guidelines calls for MDAs to specifically develop objectives and targets on gender mainstreaming in their Ministries/Departments Medium Term Plans and Expenditure Frameworks. Moreover, each MDA, Region and LGA is required to identify and itemize the actions it has taken which contributed to gender equality or which promotes awareness of this issue.
Each Department is also required to show explicitly how it has addressed gender equality in its budget and present indicators which reflect the degree to which the main gender gaps within the sector have been addressed. This approach implies that, each MDA must examine its activities and establish on how gender equality is taken into account and translated into the budget. The funding trend for gender activities has been increasing year after year confirming government commitment to attain the desired end results. For instance, the share of allocation of the national budget for the past four-year’s i. . financial years 2005/06 to 2008/09 to the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Children which is responsible for overseeing the gender sector, shows that, its budget increased to the average of 14 percent as shown below. |F/Y 2005/06 |F/Y 2006/07 |F/Y 2007/08 |F/Y 2008/09 | |7,126,084,000 |8,297,354,000 |7,121,611,000 |9,920,393,000 | 17%14%39% =An average for four years 14% Specific interventions on Women Empowerment
Tanzania has a population of about 37 million, of which 51. 1% (2002 Population census) are women. An estimated 61% of the population lives below the poverty line, while 80% of the poor population lives in the rural areas depending on subsistence agriculture using outdated technology hence unable to participate in broader markets. One of the critical areas in which Tanzanians women are marginalized is in access to formal financial services. Women especially those in rural areas find difficulties in access to financial services from commercial banks as well as financial institutions.
Some of the reasons for this state of affairs are traditional values and norms, where the husband is considered ultimate head of the household and bread winner and the wife cannot undertake certain activities without the authority/consent of her husband. Seriously encumbered by their low levels of education, women in Tanzania are unable to find employment in formal private sector and are the first to lose their jobs in retrenchment exercises. As such, women’s status is very low, in term of education, health and nutrition compared to men. They are subjected to domestic violence and sexual harassment.
They are predominantly found in informal, micro-level and low-growth sectors and encounter high competition while earning subsistence incomes. Several women lack exposure and socialization which restricts their ability to identity from home and growth potential business ventures. They are likely to be operating in groups from home and often lack social, cultural and business support for their role as entrepreneurs. Women operation in the country lack the ability to accumulate the savings required for the business start up process and lack access to working capital and credit, hence have low profits to reinvest in their businesses.
They often lack technical and business management skills, including the sophistication needed to negotiate with financial institutions. In view of the above, in 1989 Government in collaboration with UNDP and DANIDA established a project namely Credit Scheme for Economic Activities for Women in Tanzania CREW (T) with the aim of providing small loans to women groups. Moreover, in 1993 government established Women Development Fund (WDF) under the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children with a purpose of providing loans to women particularly in the Local Governments.
There are also other windows that are being supported by the government for empowering Tanzanian women, which includes among others Small Industrial Development Organisation (SIDO), Small Empowerment Loan Fund(SELF), National Income Generation Programme (NIGP), Pride Tanzania, SACCOS – Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies. More importantly, one of the major objectives of Tanzania’s Fourth Phase Government is the promotion, advancement and empowerment of poor women in the country, economically, politically and socially.
Among the strategies to be adopted is through financial services accessibility, especially for those poor women living in rural areas. The government intention is to increase women’s incomes, while enabling them to take advantage of economic opportunities, protect themselves and their families against risks (through savings), and attain high standards of living and creation of employment amongst them. Establishment of a Tanzania Women’s Bank Currently, government is in the process of establishing Women’s Bank in the country.
The objective of this Bank is to achieve widespread access by women, especially those living in the rural areas, to micro-financial services operating on commercial principles. The Women’s Bank is expected to achieve the following: • Develop self-sustaining women micro-financial services and institutions; • Extend financial services to women, especially those living in rural areas; Increase women’s income; • Enable women to take advantage of economic opportunities; • Enable women protect themselves and families against risks (through savings; • Enable women attain high standards of living; and Create employment amongst women. So far, the government has injected Tshs. 2. 8 billions as an initial capital for establishing the Bank. The process for establishing the bank is at the stage of acquiring License from the Bank of Tanzania. . 5. Achievements to-date Tanzania regards gender budgeting as a modern instrument for allocating resources in accordance to the needs of different groups in the society as well as a tool for promoting transparency and accountability in the use of tax payer’s money.
Since the adoption of gender budgeting in Tanzania, a number of milestones has been noted particularly in the aspect of engendering the national budget. • Gender Budgeting has build the trust between the government and Civil Society Organisations(CSOs); • There is increased awareness of MDAs, Regions and LGAs on the benefits and advantages of Gender budgeting; • Greater transparency in terms of opening up the government budget to the public; • Better articulation of government’s priorities particularly on gender and HIV/AIDS pandemic; . Challenges Engendering government budget is a complex process that requires a well designed program for maximum results. Despite of the concerted efforts undertaken by the government in engendering MDA’s, Regions and LGA’s plans and budgets, the desired results remained far from being reached. A number of bottlenecks have been observed which hinders achievement of the set goals and objectives.
The constraints among others include, lack of analytical skills to analyze the budgets in a gender perspective; lack of Tools, Methods/Guidelines/Manual for preparing Strategic Plans and Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks that addresses gender equality and equity; and lack of indicators to track implementation of gender objectives and targets. These constraints have significantly contributed to a slow pace in mainstreaming gender into the Government Budget. 7.
Looking Ahead Government recognizes that, gender budgeting is a good policy tool for allocating scarce resources, however is a challenging task. Moreover, government believes that, gender responsive budgeting in tandem with other budgetary reforms will fulfil its objectives for promoting good control over the public funds, efficiency in allocation and utilization of resources based on the national priorities and will promote economic growth and reduce poverty levels.
Government regards gender budgeting as a means to promote among others, good control and accountability over government’s finance, resources allocation in accordance to the needs of different groups in the society, efficiency in the use of government scarce resources; and more importantly a means for spreading good governance. Hence, the overriding objective is to put in place a gender-oriented budget practice that take into account gender and equity concerns in the planning and budgeting process.
In view of above, strategically the government focus is on the following: analysing of the previous two years budgets performance to establish gender gaps and indicators for gender responsive budgeting. Secondly, develop a Handbook/Manual on GRB tools and Guidelines for dissemination to MDA’s, Regions and LGA’s. Thirdly, build the analytical capacities of Planners and Budget Officers at all levels in analyzing the government budget in a gender perspective.
This will include also exposure to countries with good practices in gender budgeting. Last but not least, institutionalization of the GRB Tools including monitoring and evaluation of institutional Medium Term Plans and Expenditures on a gender perspective. In view of these, MOFEA is in the process of setting up a Program for enhancing Gender Responsive Budgeting in MDAs, Regions and LGAs.
At the end of the Program it is expected that MDA’s, Regions and LGA’s will be able to plan and budget and analyze their institutional budgets in a gender perspectives. More specific, improve efficiency and effectiveness of the planning and budgeting processes, as well as equity in distribution of the public resources and delivery of resources will be improved.