TZ premier denies 2014 energy corruption scandal derailed budget rollout

BLAME THE DONORS: Prime Minister of Tanzania blames donors for withholding aid

BLAME THE DONORS: Prime Minister of Tanzania blames donors for withholding aid

Tanzanian Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda has denied reports that the 2014 massive energy scandal led to major delays in the country’s budget implementation as key development partners withdrew USD558million (about Tsh1trillion) budget support for 2014/15.

Members of parliament have charged last year’s corruption saga in the energy industry disrupted government plans but the premier Thursday said for nearly four years prior to the scandal “donors had not been fulfilling their support as promised.”

In May last year, at least twelve donor countries including multilateral companies put stringent conditions to the government until it thoroughly and transparently investigated the scandal that saw top government officials swindle $124 million from an escrow account in the Bank of Tanzania in 2013.

The account was jointly held by the government utility company-TANESCO and an independent power producer (IPTL). This massive prompted resignations and firing of cabinet ministers and senior government officials including the attorney general.

The donors’ decision to suspend aid meant the Tanzanian government did not implement key projects in priority areas of education, health and energy among others but now Premier Pinda puts the blame on donor partners including the US government for reneging on their aid promises.

Contrary to the Prime Ministers’ denials and shrugging, that “the matter should not be translated as an outcome of a controversial energy scandal,” the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Dr Servacius Likwelile concedes the scam proved costly to the government particularly in budget rollout.

He said support from the global financial institution had brought about economic improvements in the country. “However, regardless of economic improvements there has been a problem that is failing our budget implementation“ he said adding “and this comes as a result of donors demands that issues related to IPTL be resolved first…this IPTL issue was never in our agreements.”

Premier Pinda reiterated “For the last three to four years these donors have not been fulfilling their supports. The escrow saga should not be referred to as a basis for donors halting their funding supports.”

Pinda however seemed to indicate the government has leant from the experience by planning and diversifying its sources of funding rather than rely on donor dollars.

He told lawmakers today “it’s the right time to find funds from own sources, and budget estimates and expenditure for the next financial year is a good example.”