MPs demand stimulus package audit report via The Guardian-IPP Media
Opposition Members of Parliament yesterday pressed the government to present an audit report of the 1.7trn/- stimulus package to rescue the economy from the global economic crisis in the 2009/10 budget.
In a supplementary question, Zitto Kabwe (Chadema, Kigoma-North) said in last year’s Bunge session, the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) was told to investigate expenditures of the stimulus package.
The outspoken legislator wanted to know if the exercise was conducted and when the government planned to present the report in the House for the MPs to discuss and make their recommendations.
Responding, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister Office (Empowerment), Dr. Mary Nagu said audit of expenditures of various projects was normal in the operations of the government. She stressed that the audit of the stimulus package was conducted and that the funds were properly spent, citing successful projects that had helped farmers and entrepreneurs out of economic crisis that faced the country then.
Wawi legislator, Hamad Rashid said what the MPs demanded in last year’s Bunge session was a full audited report showing how the funds were spent.
“The issue was not of normal expenditure on projects related to stimulus package. What we want is a full audited report of the whole package. We want the government to submit this report in the House,” said Rashid.
In her response, the minister of state in the PMO said: “The government will work on the issue, and make sure the report on the stimulus package is presented in the House at an appropriate time.”
In another supplementary question, Bariadi (East, UDP) MP, John Cheyo said as part of the stimulus package, the government had promised cotton farmers affected by global economic crisis in the Lake Zone compensation of 80/- for each kilogramme of cotton sold. He said however that some of the cotton farmers have to date not received the money.
Minister Nagu responded that the government would work on the MPs’ concerns with a view to ensuring that the affected farmers were paid.
In the basic question, Ilala MP, Mussa Zungu sought to know if the government would be willing to introduce a special financial package to support youths engaged in agriculture and other activities, similar to the stimulus package designed during the global economic crisis.
The minister said the government has introduced a number of initiatives aimed at supporting youth engagements in economic, agriculture and other income-generating activities.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the national Assembly Anne Makinda was forced to explain a number of parliamentary regulations as the Minister for Energy and Minerals William Ngeleja, was accused of telling lies in the House.
The Member of Parliament for Singida East (Chadema) Tundu Lissu, accused the minister of lying, apparently unsatisfied by his response to a supplementary question which sought the government’s clarification as to why the mining firm, Shanta Mining which should not be charged in court for criminal trespass on areas not indicated in their mining license.
Lissu had argued that the mining company had gone beyond the area allocated to them when exploring for gold to the extent that they have also established an airstrip within the disputed area prior before compensating the residents who are to be relocated to another area.
Ngeleja dismissed the claims saying that the areas mentioned in the exploration and mining licenses were merely naming the project and did not mean they were the only areas where the gold mining activities would be carried out by Shanta Company.
Speaker Makinda said as per parliamentary regulations the speaker has powers to decide how such matters could be dealt with without wasting much time on a single issue.
She noted that according to regulation number 63(6) MP Lissu had to submit to the speaker his proof of allegations against minister Ngeleja in writing within a time frame provided by the Speaker.
Other sections of regulation which could be used by the MP who alleges are 50 (3), and 28 (8).
Makinda gave Lissu upto Friday to submit his allegations and that she would decide on how to settle the matter either by giving Lissu an opportunity to present his allegations before the House or through closed sessions.
Earlier when responding to Lissu’s original question, Minister Ngeleja said Shanta Company is conducting a feasibility study through MTL Engineering Consult to assess the project’s impact on environment, adding that two applications for a mining licence had been submitted to Ministry.
The two separate applications are a legal requirement if the area designated for mining is more than 10 square kilometres. In the case of Shanta which started its operations in October 2004, the area is 17.89 square kilometres.