Local Government Accountability

Over the past 10 years, the budgets of Tanzania’s local governments increased by more than 400 per cent, and the government established a mechanism for transferring development funds to LGAs, the Local Government Development Grant (LGDG) System. Today, LGA budgets already account for over 25 per cent of the total national budget, and LGAs are the main suppliers of basic services to the citizens. While all of this has led to an improvement in local public service provision, local administrations also face severe challenges regarding the efficient, transparent and responsible management of their funds. Although the report for the fiscal year of 2011/2012 acknowledges considerable improvements, the National Audit Office has continued to highlight weaknesses in local administrations. LGAs’ administrative capacities still lag behind the ever-increasing demands arising from their growing role in the provision of public services. As the Government of Tanzania continues to modernise public administration procedures, LGAs are also challenged to comply with more rigorous planning and accounting standards. In this context, organisational checks and balances, for instance through internal audits, elected councilors and audit committees, offer great opportunities to improve local government accountability, but they remain far from unfolding their full potential. SULGO assists the government with its efforts to improve the management of public finances and establish systems of checks and balances in LGAs and Regional Secretariats (RSs). As a result, new methods of capacity development have become available. They emphasize on-the-job coaching and strengthen LGAs’ internal control systems. Best practices improving access to information on the local level have been developed, helping to fulfil LGAs’ legal obligations. Also, elected councilors now have a better understanding of their role and mandate, strengthening the system of checks and balances.

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