Fiscal Governance, Budget Needs and Public Expenditure in Tanzania

With an Analysis on Aspects of Inequality and Trust

Published: 28 October 2021


Executive Summary


The government’s budget is an important tool for the implementation of policy decisions to achieve social and economic objectives. It allocates resources among different needs and priorities in order to bring economic stability and growth. It is a tool used to connect fiscal governance, budget needs and expenditure management to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those related to inclusivity and trust. Indeed, it is broadly agreed that inequalities undermine sustainable development, hence the inclusion of the fight against inequalities in the SDGs.

A good governance would rely on an accountability and transparency over distributions of public resources. This study was meant to provide an in-depth and detailed analysis of Tanzania’s inclusiveness of the budgeting process and a critical review of the process. The study focused on assessing the transparency and the accountability of the government budget process with a specific analysis of inequalities and trust. The study used the budgetary framework process to show how different stakeholders are engaged in the budgeting process. Youth, women, private sector, development partners, and members of parliament were used to demonstrate their engagement and participation in the budgetary process. The study also assessed the budgetary alignment with the national long, medium, and annual plans. From the desk reviews and the field data analysis, the findings brought up interesting information and inputs for policy, decision makers and other stakeholders.

1. Public sector governance and accountability

The accountability mechanisms of the public sector can be reinforced through efficient monitoring and evaluation frameworks implying strong performance management measures in the civil service. This is additional to economic and corporate governance frameworks enhancing trust among domestic and foreign investors – which implies a necessary delivery of goods and services from the public sector.

2. Trust towards the budgeting process

The study highlights the importance of trust towards the central government’s budgeting process. This trust depends on fiscal sustainability but also on the level of participation of the main stakeholders (political parties, the parliament, social and civil organizations…). Currently, the roles of stakeholders such as civil society organization (CBOs) and NGOs, the media, and related others in holding the executive accountable remain insignificant.

3. Participation in the budgeting process

On paper the central government budget is highly participatory to guarantee that the national budget considers the concerns of the stakeholders. However, the lack of formal public private dialogue (PPDs) and advocacy platforms/mechanism to influence such changes makes the participation process inefficient. Currently, the majority of the dialogue platforms lack good management systems, human and financial resources, as well as gender analytical capacity.

4. Budget alignment with country periodic plans

There is an alignment between the budget themes and priorities, particularly the realization of the FYDP II objectives and hence the TDV 2025. However, the budget allocated for the respective sectors were not enough to support FYDP II sector based key interventions. That is reflected through the agriculture sector that is underfunded compared to the ambitions of the program – this is further developed in a case study later in the study.

5. Good practices in the budgeting process

This study identifies key good practices for the budgeting process. Good budget management practices are accepted practices if they focus on : policy-based budgeting; predictability and control in budget execution; credibility of the budget; comprehensiveness and transparency; decentralization; multiple year; participation. Good practices and reforms in the budgetary process are expected to strengthen the government’s fiscal governance and hence, enhance trust and accountability, and ensure improved fiscal outcomes and economic development.

Policy Recommendations

The study provides evidence-based policy recommendations to assist the policy makers to make informed decisions for effective and efficient budgeting process in Tanzania. The recommendations are meant to improve inclusivity and trust on the process by enhancing participation and accountability in the budgeting cycle. They also focus on enhancing budgetary execution, monitoring and evaluation; and emphasize on improving alignment of the FYDP and the annual budget; while facilitating good practices in budget formulation, enactment, implementation, monitoring control and evaluation. The recommendations also intend to improve dialogue platforms/networks/association’s structures for improved participation, inclusivity, and accountability especially for the special groups in the society, the women and youth. Policy recommendations include:

  • To develop campaigns to improve awareness, enhance understanding, and build capacity on mainstreaming gender budgeting at all levels.
  • To encourage the use of technology and utilization of digital platforms to increase participation and allow transparency in urban and rural areas as well as for those outside the country.
  • To improve stakeholders’ technical capacity on the governance in budgeting especially the apex dialogue platforms/networks, parliamentarians, and government staff.
  • To emphasize on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) in terms of output, outcome, and impact when structuring the budget M&E framework. The KPIs should be linked to the key priority sectors as well as marginalized groups in the society (women and youth).
  • To strengthen institutional and organization capacity of women and youth platforms, networks, and associations at all levels in terms of human resource, institutional framework, and systems to enable effective engagement in PPDs. Borrow experience from BEST-Dialogue/BEST-Advocacy.


  • Prof. Marcellina Mvula Chijoriga
  • Dr. Neema Robert
  • Dr. Amina Abdul