A 30-member team of Malaysian experts are coaching 300 Tanzanian experts on how the country can move forward by implementing six priority areas articulated in the Tanzania National Development Vision 2025.
But as the four-month coaching ends tomorrow at the White Sands Hotel, participants in a two-day annual research workshop organised by Research on Poverty Alleviation (Repoa) yesterday described the Vision 2025 as only words on paper, saying nothing has been done to date to implement it.
The Development Vision 2025 was developed in the 1990s and came into operation in 2000. The Vision 2025 outlines broad national long-term goals, perspectives and aspirations.In 2009, Planning Commission conducted a study to review the implementation of the Vision 2025 with a view of assessing what has been done so far, identify gaps and propose the way forward.
Mr Chris Tan, director for Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), a Malaysian government agency conducting the coaching, said the coaching focused on six priority areas identified by the government of Tanzania.
He mentioned the areas as agriculture, education, water, energy, transport and resource mobilization, priorities articulated in the Vision 2025.
He said the Malaysian experts on these areas were coaching their Tanzanian counterparts from ministries, government departments and agencies, and the private sector under guidance from the Planning Commission.
He told The Citizen in an interview at Kunduchi Beach Hotel and Resort—the venue of the workshop—that the training followed an intervention by President Jakaya Kikwete last year.
“The process began after it was approved by the Tanzanian cabinet. We held a meeting with ministers in Dodoma in August last year,” said Mr Tan.
Giving his experience on how Malaysia, a developing country, rose from a poor country to an upper class society, Chris said the secret behind the country’s success story was that “the country has a strong directive leadership has been able to get things get moving”.
“The key to success is to have a strong directive leadership that will get things moving,” said Mr Tan.
He said when Malaysia started moving forward the country identified six priorities, including how to tackle crime and corruption.
“Our focus was on implementation and not on policy statements. Policy is a living document. What is important is to get things done. And we don’t need a PhD to do this,” he told his audience of academics, researchers, private sector, development partners, political leaders, government officials and civil society organizations. Sharing key lessons from the Malaysian experience, Mr Ali Mufuruki, chairman of the CEO Roundtable Tanzania, said although there was nothing wrong with the Vision 2025 there was a number of things that missed towards the realization of the Vision.
For example, Mr Mufuruki said there was lack of detailed attention on the implementation of the document, adding that there was also no timelines of its implementation as years slipped by.“And I don’t remember if there has been any budget figure for the Vision 2025,” he said adding that Tanzania was good at planning but when it came to implementation nothing got done.
Mr Mufuruki also discouraged the foreign dependency syndrome saying: “There has been over dependence on foreign aid. We have to be very careful. It’s our ideas, it’s our experience that will shape where we go.”
He wondered why crime and corruption did not feature in Tanzania’s priority areas of implementation. “If we seriously don’t deal with crime and corruption none of the other priorities are going to work,” Mr Mufuruki added.
Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, chairman of opposition Civic United Front (CUF), said the problem with Vision 2025 was that it is more a technocratic exercise than a political exercise.
“Vision 2025 is not a political statement by a political leadership,” he said, adding that the Arusha Declaration was a political vision but had problems over implementation.
He said the problem with Tanzania was that the country has too many policy documents that were not integrated, citing the review of the constitution and the making of new identification cards as examples.
“We had a slogan that said we must run while others walk but we have ended up crawling why others fly,” said Prof Lipumba, an economist by profession.
Mtwara Regional Commissioner, Colonel (rtd) Joseph Simbakalia, said it was not possible to achieve anything without a strong leadership.
Mr Damas Dandi, founder of Building Africa, said Tanzania did not need to learn from Malaysia or Indonesia on how to get things moving.“We have been talking about what we are talking today since the Nyerere era. Let us put the Vision 2025 into practice,” he said.
Prof Benno Ndulu, governor of the Bank of Tanzania, explained challenges that Tanzania needed to address if it wanted to go the Malaysian way.The workshop was opened by the Vice-President, Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal, who said the impressive GDP growth has not significantly helped to reduce poverty.
By Lucas Liganga