NEW REGISTERED CSOs
A total of 617 new CSOs were registered between 2018 and 2019 while only 385 were registered in 2017. This is a significant growth (60 percent). Among the 617 CSOs registered, 44 were registered at international level, 551 nationally, 7 regionally and 15 at district level. These figures, therefore, add to a total of 10,318 CSOs registered in the country as of October 30, 2019. The Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly and Children, Hon. Ummy Mwalimu, provided the figurers during the opening of CSO Week 2019 in Dodoma.
JAFO CEMENTS RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GOVT AND AZAKI
The Minister of State in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Hon. Selemani Jafo, had this to say:“Because of the enormous lobbying and advocacy efforts of AZAKI, The government was able to go through an ambitious transformation in the health sector which saw the construction of 352 health centres countrywide in a span of 18 months. We were able to build these centres and provided them with surgery equipment in the period between December 2017 and June 2019.”
CONTRIBUTION OF 16 CSOS
The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) and Twaweza unveiled the economic value brought by CSOs in Tanzania based on data collected from a group of 16 CSOs operating in Tanzania. These are the contributions of 16 CSOs to the National Economy (2016 – 2018) as shown below:
TZS 236 billion—Foreign exchange earnings;
TZS 169 billion—Beneficiaries and service providers;
TZS 19 billion—Paid to Govt. as Tax, Tariffs and VAT;
TZS 45 billion—Employees’ salaries/wages, pension/dues) and
TZS 3 billion—Savings for growth/future
ONLINE REGISTRATION PLATFORM FOR CSOS
The Government will soon be finalising an online registration platform that will enable new CSOs to register their organisations in a more timely and effective manner. This will cut down on paperwork and enable our limited number of employees to process the applications at a much quicker pace. The faster the pace of registration, the faster communities can be accessed with more NGOs assisting them in solving their socio-economic challenges.
During the CSO Week 2019 session on the topic, ‘The Evidence: What Have we Learnt about State-CSO Relations in Tanzania‘, Registrar of NGOs, Vickness Mayao said the migration from the manual means of registering CSOs to online registration goes alongside the successful cases in other government departments such as BRELA and Immigration that have been using the method in registering companies and processing passports respectively.
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND ACCESS TO LGAs FUNDS
Members of Tanzania Federation of Disabled People Organisations, mostly know in its Kiswahili acronym as SHIVYAWATA, commended a Government Circular of July 2017 that directed Local Government Authorities to allocate 2% of the 10% budget from the district revenues for the purpose of improving the welfare of people with disabilities. The Government order finally came into effect officially in the 2018/19 when The Financial Act legally recognized the percentage ratio of 4:4:2 allocations to be implemented countrywide.
All these efforts are commended and so is SHIVYAWATA’s call for more efforts for people with disabilities to be self-reliant and escape the chains of poverty.According to government officials, the financial year 2018/19, a total ofTZS54.08 billion were allocated by councils countrywide as loans for women, youth and people with disabilities; however, up to June 30, this year, only TZS42.06 billion was accessed, whereas only TZS3.87 billion was accessed by people with disabilities.
For the year 2019/20, the Government has allocated TZS62.22 billion in its budget for the same cause, whereas women and youth have been allocated TZS24.9 billion and people with disabilities TZS12.4 billion, while children with special needs from pre-school, primary school to secondary school have been allocated TZS2 billion shillings for equipment. The government has also allocated TZS3.9 billion shillings to cover for these children’s food.
Sikika, in its role of advocating for a better healthcare and environment in the country. were commended by the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Social Services and Community Development, Hon. Peter Serukamba (MP). The MP made the commendation during one of the CSO Week 2019 sessions, entitled’ ‘Advocacy in the Health Sector: Sikika’s Experience’, that aimed at sharing the experience of Sikika in their task of strengthening health systems and structures through evidence-based advocacy in Tanzania.
“Our healthcare budget keeps on increasing year after year. For example, in 2015, we spent only TZS30 billion on medicine, but right now, four years later, the Government is spending TZS270 billion annually to buy drugs. This is a very significant achievement that couldn’t have been attained without your advocacy efforts,” said Hon. Peter Serukamba.
COMPLIANCE TO TAX LAWS: CHALLENGES FACING CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS IN TANZANIA
Tanzania Human Rights Defender (THRDC), Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) and Wajibu Institute of Public Accountability (WAJIBU) with support of Accountability in Tanzania Programme (AcT2) tabled findings from an assessment of tax compliance for the CSOs sector. The findings highlight key issues by most of the CSOs for compliance challenges, namely:
• Application for a ruling on charitable status;
• Payment of skills and development levy (SDL);
• Payment of Cooperation tax
• Payment of Withholding tax on services
• Payroll taxes (especially for expatriates) and
• VAT exemption for activities supported by funders who are exempted from VAT,
The study was jointly coordinated by THRDC, FCS and WAJIBU with the support of Accountability in Tanzania Programme (AcT2).
EMANCIPATION OF GIRLS
In a landmark ruling, the Tanzania Court of Appeal made a decision to uphold a High Court of Tanzania ruling of 2016 that declared the unconstitutional marriage of girls under the age of 18.“Girls aged between 15 and 19 have increased from 23% in 2016 to 27% in 2018, an increase of 4%,” says the Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS) report.
Ms Rebecca Gyumi, the Executive Director of Msichana Initiative revealed that Tanzania is the tenth leading country in the world with the youngest population. She noted that the country has reached equity in enrolling children at pre-school level, but it is facing challenges in upper levels.
Ms Gyumi further noted: “Year 2016/17 statistics show that 1 out of 5 girls aged between 14 and 15 is a teenage mother, a situation that adversely affects their attendance and performance in school.”