PETS Push For Transparency in Bahi and Magole
Public Expenditure Tracking Systems (PETS) have had a long history in enhancing accountability and transparency for governments. The phenomenon is more applicable in rural areas where villagers have for a long time been intimidated into not questioning their leaders. The start and rise of PETS committees has therefore come with a host of challenges: political, social and economic. At some point PETS committees were seen as mere political contenders who try to undermine the job done by incumbent leaders. Consequently PETS members were threatened in different ways and they generally had their welfare jeopardized.
Against all odds PETS has seen the fruition of its labour. For instance in Bahi District at Bahi Sokoni the PETS committee tracked construction project at Bahi Primary School. It was observed that in the foundation of the building clay was used instead of cement. From their observation and pressure applied thereafter, the head teacher together with the school committee decided the class room should be re-constructed. Meanwhile some of the medicine and flour which the government offered free for people living with HIV/AIDS was sold by a nurse. PETS committee learnt about the issue and made follow up. The nurse returned the money and she was consequently shifted to another dispensary.
In another case a village owned some houses which were let to different people. Shockingly the villagers did not know how the income from rent was spent. After PETS had made follow-up and demand transparency, there seems to be more transparency as well as more vivid spending of the money. For instance, in 2014 the money has been used to fund construction of the village dispensary.
In Chibelela and Mpamantwa in Bahi District there were five telecom towers for Vodacom and Airtel. The telecom companies owning such towers do pay royalties owners of the land they use, which in this case is the village. However the village leaders presented only 600,000 Tshs (Six hundred thousand) as income from telecom companies. But after PETS committee had made follow up it was revealed that the village government received a sum of 3,000,000 TShs (Three million) every year.
In Kilosa Magole village PETS committees tracked a water project. There was a big project of water in Magole where it had stopped working since April of 2013. The problem is electricity cut-off due to accumulated bills. In this time the community had to buy water for domestic use. After PETS Committee following up; it was learnt that the village leaders misused their funds such that they failed to clear the bill from TANESCO. Villagers joined the committee to pressurize the leaders to the extent that the village chairperson and Village Executive Officer had to clear the bill.
CCT has been working and is still working to see that PETS committees are becoming stronger and more influential in villages. The aim is build accountability to public and transparency, as a culture in Tanzanian society.