Civil society organizations in the country have contributed a staggering 279 billion shillings, in just three years, hence playing a key role to the development sector and the overall Tanzanian economy.
Aidan Eyakuze, the Executive Director of Twaweza, quoted these figures as the main speaker during a session on ‘The contribution of NGOs in the development of the nation’ which took place at the two-day national stakeholders and engagement meeting between Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children recently held in Dar Es Salaam at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre on 26-27 January 2021.
According to Eyakuze, the figure is a result of a study conducted between 39 NGO’s in the country, for the years 2016 up to 2019.
Elaborating further Eyakuze said that “Out of the 279 billion shillings value addition made to the development sector, 95% of it is accounted in foreign exchange. Whereas, 200 billion shillings, equal to 72 per cent, was used in expenses such as the purchase of goods and services.”
For the remaining 79 billion shillings, 53 billion, which is 19%, was spent on salaries and social security. 22.4 billion, 8 per cent, was used to pay government taxes such as Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and Skills Development Levy (SDL), while the remaining 3.6 billion was spent on renovations.
Speaking on the basis for the report, Eyakuze said that the study is a response to Dr. John Jingu, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, who during the CSO Week 2018 tasked members of NGOs to evaluate their socio-economic role in the development of the nation.
However, Eyakuze went a step further saying that NGOs are not only confined to their financial contribution but offer help in other aspects as well. Eyakuze stated these areas as the provision of social services, promotion of unity, and protection of human rights in the country.
On social services, he said that the civil society have an important role in delivering water, education and health services, citing an example from projects where over 350,000 Tanzanians now have access to water, thanks to efforts from local NGOs.
In regards to unity, Eyakuze said that the civil society are key players in promoting harmony, solidarity, conflict resolution, and accountability between leaders and the wananchi.
He added that it is also the duty of the civil society to educate Tanzanians about human rights.
“It is our duty to speak for them and to defend them whenever possible. Historically, Tanzania has volunteered heavily in the promotion and protection of human rights in southern Africa. We should therefore continue this work even within our own borders,” underscored Eyakuze.
In response to Eyakuze’s remarks, Vickness Mayao, the Registrar of NGOs, welcomed the NGOs study, emphasizing that her fellow colleagues in government should recognize their contribution as well.
“The extent to which you have contributed to the Tanzanian society cannot be ignored. It must be acknowledged. However, I would like to take this opportunity to also challenge you in conducting a joint-study with the government in order to further recognize your role,”said Mayao.
The Registrar also insisted NGOs to complete their development projects, calling out on some NGOs who do not.
“The people and we as a government, would like to see value for money, projects that have begun, delivered, and completed on time,” Mayao stressed.
On his part, Shadrack Msuya of Salama Foundation, advised the government to include the civil society in the vision 2025, by employing specific indicators on how NGOs and the private sector are supposed to contribute in the political and socio-economic development of the nation.
“This will be a practical and sure approach in the recognition of our role,”he said.