Ugandan businessmen find lucrative maize market in Tanzania

Ugandan businessmen have now found lucrative maize market in Tanzania, thanks to the food shortage that has hit several parts of the country.

A comprehensive survey conducted by the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) at Mutukula border between Tanzania and Uganda and Bukoba Municipality over the weekend has established beyond reasonable doubt that maize dealers are now reaping huge profits from the business.

Uganda businessman, Edger Kizito, told FCS that maize dealers from Uganda side, mainly from areas of Rakai, Chotera, Mbarara and Murongo are now enjoying doing business with traders from Tanzania side simply because the market is reliable.

“What we do is that we communicate with Tanzanian traders on the amount of tons of maize they need before we transport the produce from our stores to Mutukula border,” Kizito said while refusing to divulge names of Tanzania traders whom he trades with.

According to Kizito, the mode of business is carried out per kilogramme, insisting that a kilogramme of maize at Mutukula border was trading at between TSh 720 and 850.

The Foundation or Civil Society (FCS) witnessed lorries from Uganda offloading tons of maize at the border while trucks from Tanzania side loaded the produce, transporting  it to other  regions. At the border it was difficult to spot Tanzanian traders from whom we could extract information besides casual laborers and drivers.

A woman who neither refused to mention her name nor be photographed but runs a milling station called ‘Muganyizi Millers’ in Bukoba Manicipality said maize has now become a ‘golden  commodity’.

“We buy maize at Mutukula border at TSh820 per kilogramme and sell the same kilogramme at Sh 1,000 here in the Municipality. When the same kilogramme of maize is milled we sell the flour at between Tsh 1,100 and TSh 1,200 she said while looking nervous.

According to her, consignments of maize purchased by traders at Mutukula border were transported as far as Shinyanga, Dodoma, Mwanza, Singida and Mara regions.

Meanwhile, the Foundation for Civil Society has established that textile business between Uganda and Tanzania through Mutukula border has substantially declined due to what traders described as stringent taxation measures.

A small trader who identified himself by a single name as Shafii told FCS that most textile traders have ceased to import their goods from Uganda after some of their colleagues underwent stringent taxation procedures at Mutukula border in the previous days.

A woman in Bukoba Municipality who runs the Baby cloth shop christened ‘Aivan Shop’ but preferred anonymity said she found it easier to buy her merchandise from either Dar es Salaam or Mwanza rather that Uganda due to taxation hassles.

“Bus passengers crossing to Tanzania from Uganda are thoroughly inspected including their luggage, one after the other. Their nationality is also scrutinized,” she said.

This reporter’s bag was searched by custom’s officials at Mutukula border as he was returning from Uganda side where he had crossed to, obviously in search for commodities they thought were purchased on Uganda side of the border.

Work hard, PISCCA beneficiaries told

The Innovative Projects for Civil Society and Coalition of Actors (PISCCA) beneficiaries from Tanzania have been urged to work hard in order to achieve their projects goals.

Speaking during the opening of a three days training on how to manage PISCCA grants, the Head of Cooperation and Cultural Affairs from the Embassy of France in Tanzania Mr. Phillippe Boncour said, the selection of the funded projects was competitive and called upon all beneficiaries to implement their projects as planned so as to achieve anticipated objectives.

“You have passed through a tough competition. Now you are here. My message to you today is that, you have to work hard and stick to your projects,” he said and later congratulated the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) for its commitment and engagement in supporting PISCCA guarantees.

The FCS Program Manager, Mr. Fransis Uhadi used the event to convey his congratulation message to the six organizations and insisted that the training undertaken by the Foundation is important as it targets to capacitate the best practices in managing projects.

“I am requesting you to participate in the training actively and when you begin implementing your projects try to be keen on managing finance by ensuring integrity when using projects fund,” he said.

The Foundation for Civil Society entered an agreement with French Embassy to conduct training on managing grants to the staff of six organizations, which succeeded to receive grants from the Embassy. These six organizations are; Friends of Lake Tanganyika (FOLT), Zanzibar Climate Change alliance (ZACCA), Tanzania Support for women Rights (TASUWORI), Uigizaji na Ngoma za Asili (UNA), White Orange Youth (WOY), Medical Women Tanzania (MEWATA).

The training aimed at improving the project documents especially looking at the anticipated outcomes and activities designed, monitoring of the project and financial management. Each organization was represented by two participants one with financial background and another with project activities skills. The total number of participants was 12, (8 males and 4 Women). The three days training started on Monday 16th January and ended on Wednesday 18th January 2017 and was conducted at Blue Pearl Hotel in Dar es Salaam.

FCS calls for PWDs grant applications

The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) is calling for registered Civil Society Organizations run by Peoples with Disabilities (PWD) to apply for grants to support public services monitoring for peoples with disabilities in health and education sectors in Tanzania.

The announcement issued by FCS states categorically that, only CSOs managed by PWDs for PWDs are allowed to submit their application and that non PWDs organizations are not allowed to apply. PWDs organizations are allowed to submit their proposals by considering the fact that all grants values up to 20 million Tanzanians shillings and the time frame for selected project will be eight months.

In that advert, applicants are advised to design and submit precisely proposals with sense of creativity, describe nature of the problem to be solved, the community engagement into the planned projects and present methods of conducting projects monitoring and evaluation.

Applicants are also recommended to analyze into their proposals the nature of projects they want to pursue and spot its benefits to PWDs and their community at large. The proposals, must also stick to the five years (2016 – 2020) FSC strategic plan that covers four key areas namely; good governance, capacity development, CSOs capacity building and Community participation in development.

Deadline for receiving grants application forms is dated February 13th 2017 and there will be no room for receiving or considering any late application. The adverts also states that, desired applicant can access some information online through: http://www.thefoundation.or.tz/index.php/en/notice-board

UMATI calls for improvement of Shehas offices in Zanzibar

 

UMATI calls for improvement of Shehas offices in Zanzibar

The Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar has been urged to implement its 2014 Act number 7 and 8 in order to ease relationship between citizens and their ward representatively commonly known as Shehas.

The Shirika la Uzazi na Malezi Tanzania (UMATI), Zanzibar Branch, says the situation on the ground is tense hence there is a necessity to restore relations between citizens and sheha’s in the Isles. In doing so, UMATI urges the government of Zanzibar to implement the amended Act of Local government and Regional Administration of 2014, which among other things, stipulates the presence of shehia offices in Zanzibar. The law recognizes the position of ward representatives and it commits in providing them offices and payable assistants.

 “After recognizing some loopholes in these laws, and after assessing antagonistic relations between citizens and sheha’s, we realized the need for community engagement to solve the existing hostility. May I use this opportunity to deliver my sincerely gratitude to the Foundation for Civil Society, which supported this initiative financially.

 “After starting to implement this project, we realized that many citizens were not aware of the laws that govern shehia offices in Zanzibar and others did not know the authority that shehas have in the community. We also found that many shehas had little understanding on the laws that govern their positions,” says Ali Suleiman, an official from Umati.

Suleiman adds that after implementing this project in East A and West B Districts in Unguja, they realized that the laws provide benefits to shehas such as offices and assistants. “This has never been done here and many citizen engaged in this project argue that, once implemented, it will cement good relationship among citizens and their shehas,” he argues.

The sheha for Mkokotoni, Ame Haji Ame, who is among the beneficiaries in this project says, the FCS grants to Umati has facilitated peace and tranquility among citizens in Zanzanibar and that the education programs facilitated by Umati is little compared with the need. He says Umati has done a remarkable job by teaching them immigration laws.

“We know and many Tanzanians know that they have the right to live anywhere they like without breaching the law. Many citizens know that right and move from one place to another without informing the authority.

“Now we are teaching them to search for introduction documents once they decide to migrate to new places. This is the only way of being recognized when they get to new places. It becomes easier to serve them once they provided us with the introductory information,” he says.

The Umati training sessions also provide to participants a room to examine their social and economic responsibilities from shehas in one side and citizens. The Pangawi Sheha, Abdallah Juma Mtumwene from West B District, argues that, the Umati project has contributed a lot to Shehas and it has changed the public perception towards duties and functions of the wards representatives.

 “Previously many people used to keep away from us. After the training, they are now recognizing that a Sheha is also a human being. The only thing we need now, is a proper translation of the 2014 Act number 7 and 8 that provide roles and responsibilities of Shehas in Zanzibar,” he says.

These law provisions are printed in English. Hadia Ali Makame a Mkokotoni resident says, it is difficult for citizens to comprehend them. She says after the three days training from UMATI, now she understands the importance of wananchi to attend and participate in all shehia matters.

“I never had information that we must apply the law in running our day to day activities. I didn’t know that the Sheha position is recognized by the law. Previously I knew it was like a monarch system where the father will bequeath the son. At least now I know that the position is legal and there are laws and regulations that override it,” says Nassor Khamis Nassor a resident of Magogoni Shehia allocated in West B District in Unguja.

Due to the impact of these training sessions Umati is offering has asked the attendants to send their sincere gratitude to FCS for its support to Umati. Sheha Abdalla Juma Mtumwene argues that, FCS through its grant to Umati has contributed directly to human livelihood. He now wants to see the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar to act by building offices for shehas in Zanzibar.

 “I am doing all these works at home. There is one day a woman came and used abusive words in front of my family. I was real embarrassed by such utterances. I felt disappointed and I know this couldn’t happen once the government has provided us with Shehia Offices,” he said.

Sheha Haji Ame added that, FCS has done great to conduct programs support visits and it entails that the Foundation is a very highly reputable organization that real works for human development.

 

 

Strong grassroots vital to enhance good governance

 

 

Unless the government builds strong grassroots capable of fully participating in project proposing and decision making process, questioning and tracking public finance expenditure, taxpayers’ money allocated for project implementation, especially in rural areas will continue to yield poor results.

This observation has been made here over the weekend by leaders of Kagera Development and Credit Revolving Fund (KADETFU), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), whose activities are also financed by the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS).

KADETFU leaders issued the caution when recounting to FCS on the results of the pilot project currently under implementation titled ‘Building Capacity for the Public, Village and Ward Leaders in Participatory Planning and Budget Process in Bukoba District’.

Syliveter Busanya, KADETFU Project Coordinator, said the organisation, whose mission is to protect human rights, conservation of the environment, facilitate promotion of social, economic, cultural development and thus empower the society to organize and fight for their needs through utilizing locally available resources, has so far visited eleven villages in Bukoba district.

According to him, in all areas they visited villagers appeared to have either very little or completely no knowledge on their civic rights, especially in holding leaders accountable in various matters while  members of Village and Ward Development Committees appeared to have little knowledge on their roles.

He said due to ignorance villagers were denied of their civic right to participate in initiating projects and tracking expenditures of development funds allocated for projects implementation in their areas.

In some areas KADETFU learned that village general meetings (village assemblies) were hardly convened, a trend that negatively impacted on village development matters, such making decisions on Land Use Plan ( LUP) and land conflict resolution.

“If the government wants to ensure that funds allocated for projects is judiciously spent then it has to invest in building capacity for the grassroots”, Busanya insisted.

“We, at KADETFU with the financial assistance of the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) have recorded significant results in areas where we have so far visited to implement this project. In the course of implementing this task we have noted that there is a pressing need for the government to collaborate with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to build capacity for the grassroots to enhance governance”.

Agastin Angelo, who also works with KADETFU as Project Coordinator, recounted that in areas visited by KADETFU villagers were now capable of pressing village leaders to convene general meetings and demand answers to various pertinent questions.

According to Angelo, KADETFU through FCS’ financial assistance is involving members of village and ward development committees in the training by focusing on the roles of each group, as far as governance is concerned.

“Though the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) through NGOs has all along been instrumental in building capacity for civil society in the country we think it must also direct its resources to strengthen the grassroots to be able to participate in decision making process, track public finance expenditure and also hold their leaders accountable,” he observed.

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