ACT Wazalendo calls for huge BRT reforms to attain efficiency


What you need to know:

  • Maye said the poor management of the BRT services was not due to a lack of funds but rather to the mismanagement of its operations, which will ultimately lead to the inability to repay the loan issued to start its operations.

Dar es Salaam. ACT Wazalendo has suggested that the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) board has to be dissolved and replaced with competent individuals within the transportation sector to make the project a success.

This, they said, was due to the mismanagement that has caused BRT to operate at a loss for several years.

ACT Wazalendo Shadow Minister, Kiza Mayeye, said this on April 20, 2024, when analysing the Controller Auditor General (CAG) report.

She said the poor management of the BRT services was not due to a lack of funds but rather to the mismanagement of its operations, which will ultimately lead to the inability to repay the loan issued to start its operations.

“Dar Rapid Transit Agency (DART) is sitting on digital assets worth Sh3.4 billion for fare collection, where it was revealed that they bought smart cards and other equipment worth Sh2 billion, but they are lying idle,” she said.

Further, she noted that the government bought 210 buses, but 132 of them have been damaged and out of service. She noted that instead of servicing the buses, they were left to deteriorate.

“This mismanagement is economic sabotage. Instead of seeking solutions, the government has decided to seek new investors, and those who should be held accountable are now seeking solutions,” she stressed.

According to her, projects like the BRT are managed by the government, citing examples of Berlin, London, and Toronto, among other countries, where the government operates without any hiccups.

She said that if the government does not find a solution, even with new investors, they will continue to misuse government assets.

Given this, she recommended that the government ensure the electronic system was implemented immediately to curb mismanagement.

Further, the Dartboard of Directors should be dissolved and reconstituted with competent individuals to work for the benefit of the public.

She further noted that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) should conduct a criminal investigation into Dart so that all those involved in sabotaging the project can be prosecuted for economic sabotage.

Regarding the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project (JNHPP), she said issues like design flaws and additional costs, among others, have plagued the project.

Explaining, she said the initial design looked into flood prevention, which required additional dams to contain excess water, but now it's flooding farms and residential areas, causing disasters.

She said the corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds have not been used for work in Rufiji.

“We should heed the warnings from the CAG, not rely on government advisors, and find an independent one. We need to build dams to contain floodwaters,” she stressed.

In another development, the political party’s leader, Ms Dorothy Semu, said the analysis of the CAG report indicates that the government's spending spree is jeopardising Tanzania's development, its self-sufficiency, and hindering economic growth, driven by debt.

“This means we are borrowing today and paying tomorrow, which can stress the nation with debt,” she said.

According to her, the current growth rate of the government's debt is unprecedented. The CAG report shows borrowing of over Sh17.7 trillion, with the economy deteriorating and Tanzanians facing hardships despite a 5.2 percent growth rate.

“During the tenure of three presidents, debt grew from Sh29.7 trillion under President Jakaya Kikwete to Sh82.25 trillion under the current administration,” she said.

She said the CAG's report warns that debt growth has several consequences: every revenue earned goes into debt servicing rather than addressing citizens' challenges.

Citizens face numerous challenges, including healthcare, infrastructure, and youth unemployment. A significant portion of our budget goes into debt servicing.

For pensioners, she said the government should ensure the social security funds pay retirees their dues on time.

She recommended that the issue of workers' claims of Sh36.47 billion and their Sh856.78 billion contributions not being submitted to social security funds be addressed. Many local authorities owe workers salaries and benefits.

On misappropriation of funds, she said the misappropriation of Sh3.14 trillion in public funds highlights the need for accountability. These funds could have improved education and infrastructure, among other things. Those involved in corruption must be swiftly prosecuted.

On farmers not receiving fertilizer subsidies, she said the government should invest in local industries, particularly fertilizer production, to support agriculture.

On fuel, she recommended that the government immediately ensure the country has a national reserve to avoid shortages of petroleum products in the case of wars, dollar shortages, and other challenges. “The government needs to improve fuel distribution infrastructure to reduce dependency on imports,” she said.

She noted that the government could also invest in the gas utilisation in Mtwara, which has not been fully utilised.