Funding woes hit irrigation

Saturday April 20 2019


By Josephine Christopher @JocfineQ

Dar es Salaam. The over-dependence on donor funding has seriously impaired the implementation of irrigation projects in the country, the controller and auditor general report for the financial year 2017/18 says.

The report prepared by Prof Mussa Assad and tabled in Parliament early this month says the National Irrigation Commission (NIRC) has been receiving measly financial resources that have made it difficult for it to carry out its responsibilities.

Understaffing of Zonal Irrigation Offices and shortage of working tools are also another problem that has stalled the implementation of irrigation projects, which are crucial in weaning Tanzania out of rain fed agriculture.

The CAG report says for the past four years from 2014/15 to 2017/18 development partners financing contributed about 89.6 per cent of the total funds disbursed to irrigation projects. “The approved budget for the last four financial years were dominated by donor financing. The trend shows an increase in donor financing from Sh19 billion to Sh47 billion from 2014/15 to 2015/16 followed by a decline from Sh47 billion to Sh15 billion in the financial year 2017/18,” CAG report reads in part.

But even donors did not meet full obligations. Between 2014/15 and 2017/18 donors’ commitment was Sh110 billion but they only disbursed Sh19.4 billion.

The approved government financing declined from Sh15 billion to Sh6 billion from the financial year 2014/15 to 2017/18, the CAG report reads in part adding that the funds were not released as approved.


Government released only Sh2.5 billion in 2016/17 and no disbursement was made for 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2017/18.

CAG added that; “Due to unreliable mode of funding to NIRC, the irrigation offices in zones changed their priorities, planning and conducting feasibility studies were given low priority.”

Poor financing affected feasibility studies, which are key to the viability and efficiency of irrigation projects.

To determine the viability of irrigation projects, National Irrigation Act requires all irrigation works to be done after a detailed feasibility study, according to the CAG report.

“These studies are expected to show if the project is technically feasible and economically justifiable. From the feasibility study report, it can be concluded as to whether the project is worth the investment or not,” the report reads in part.

But poor financing means that many studies were not conducted.

Failure to plan for feasibility studies led to construction of irrigation infrastructure with cost variation, the CAG report says.

The CAG noted that a total of 360 feasibility studies were planned while 11 feasibility studies were only executed, equivalent to three per cent of all the planned feasibility studies.