Delayed funds release hits water projects

Dar es Salaam. Less than 50 per cent of water programmes have been implemented in a decade, a new report shows.

The report, compiled by Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) Tanzania, shows that the water projects have been implemented at a snail’s pace due to late disbursements of funds to the implementing agencies, among other reasons.

It shows that the water projects undertaken between 2006/07 and 2015/16 failed to meet the annual target of any of the planned water points and beneficiaries.

“Funding commitments is not reflected in physical achievements,” reads the report in part.

There was inadequate prioritisation of water projects at Local Government Authority (LGA) level, inadequate follow-up and monitoring of water projects at all levels of project cycle, says the report.

It shows further that the exemption process in the Value Added Tax (VAT) was cited as one of the factors that caused late payments to contractors.

This, according to the report, led to poor performance of contractors resulting in time overruns in projects implementation in some regions such as Lindi, Kigoma and districts such as Sumbawanga and Musoma

CoST Tanzania chairman Kazungu Magili said the problem could have been avoided if the water projects had released their annual progress reports on time.

“Reports come too late to enable authorities take meaningful interventions on the covered activities but provides inputs for future programmes,” noted Mr Kazungu as he presented the report in Dar es Salaam yesterday. “There is a need to put in place early warning systems to raise issues at the appropriate time,” reads the report.

According the Water Sector Status Report 2016, the pace of implementation of water projects was expected to improve as a result of improved liquidity level of the National Water Investment Fund.

Also the report shows that urban water supply and sanitation collected only 30 per cent of revenue in bills and other expenses. It was targeted to garner Sh49 billion.

Meanwhile the goal was to increase sewerage systems from 17 per cent by June 2007 to 30 per cent by June 2020.

Currently, only 10 towns/cities have sewerage systems which cover only 20 per cent of total urban population.

Water and Irrigation minister Isaack Kamwelwe did not immediately respond to our reporter’s written questions on the matter.