THE European Union (EU) has pledged to provide 40bn/- , equivalent to 15 million Euros towards building sustainable anti-corruption action in Tanzania, that should improve capacities of national accountability institutions.
EU Ambassador to Tanzania and the East African Community (EAC), Roeland fan de Geer, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the funds will finance a programme named “Improving accountability through fighting corruption and increased access to justice.”
“It will specifically focus on improving capacities of national accountability institutions, including Ethics Secretariat and the Prevention and Combatting of Corruption Bureau (PCCB).”
Ambassador Geer was speaking during the launch of EU funded “United for Our Rights Project,” which is geared to lower corruption behaviour of actors in Tanzania by fostering cooperation between Civil Society Organisations and Local Government Authorities.
The Ambassador lauded efforts by President John Magufuli’s government in fighting corruption, saying the initiative needed everybody’s support now that recent survey indicate there is decline in corruption levels.
Corruption, according to Ambassador Geer, is simply theft of citizen’s rights as it deprives them and societies of their assets and even their fundamental rights and freedoms.
“Economic cost is huge, but human and societal cost is even bigger,” he said. He said that citizens should not be in a situation where getting a job does not depend on skills but on a bribe, likewise, saying one should not think the only chance to win in court depends on the ability to pay. He said there is need for institutions that work properly and treat everybody equally.
The Ambassador said that corruption is the true enemy to development and progress, saying it is a major cause of poverty, adding that the European Union was committed to join efforts with the Tanzanian government to make a difference in supporting its industrialisation process.
Equally important, Ambassador Geer noted that in Tanzania, corruption was a key challenge as it hinders the quality of public service delivery, weakens governance systems and constrains the business environment.
With regard to corruption at the local level of authority, the EU Ambassador underscored the importance of strengthening Civil Society Organisations’ capacities to play their watchdog role and in demanding enhanced accountability and transparency from local governments.
Project Director, Daniel El-Noshokaty, informed those present that the project ‘United for our rights- Empowering local structures for more accountable and a better fight against corruption’, aimed to bridge the existing communication gap between the Local Government Authorities and the Civil Society Organisations in the fight against corruption through promoting transparency and accountability.
He said the project will be implemented by three partners- Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), Civic Education Teachers’ Association (CETA) and Action for Democracy and Local Governance (ADGL).
It is a 30 months project with a budget of Euros 953,278.82 (Tsh 2.5 billion). And according to Project Manager, Maria Kayombo, 27 CSOs, seven community radio stations in seven regions covering 40 districts are beneficiaries.
The Project covers three South-East regions namely Lindi, Coast and Ruvuma together with four Lake Zone regions - Simiyu, Geita, Mara and Kagera.