The Constituent Assembly (CA) has so far used almost 27bn/- in tax-payers’ money since its start but has achieved little in discussing the draft Constitution, Finance minister Saada Mkuya said yesterday.
She said her ministry has been ensuring that the CA members get their payments on time believing that at the end of the day they will come up with something meaningful in the debating chamber.
“We have sacrificed a number of development projects for wananchi such as power, water and other important services especially in rural areas. We decided to cover the costs of this session believing that at the end you will come up with something meaningful,” Mkuya said in the debating chamber yesterday.
Despite blaming the CA members for failure to find solutions to intricate issues, she noted that both parts of the Union – Tanganyika and Zanzibar – face challenges in the implementation of the agreements contained in the Union Constitution and other laws.
“If we really want to address the challenges facing the Union, this (the debating chamber) is the right place and not somewhere else,” noted Mkuya.
She called upon members of the Coalition of People’s Constitution who boycotted the CA session to return to the debating chamber to work with colleagues in rewriting the constitution.
“This is like a reconciliation session, whereby not all interests can be fulfilled. There are some issues where you need to compromise. Walking out of the session means running away from the responsibility wananchi gave us,” Mkuya said.
She said the country’s budget has been insufficient for years and yet there is a two-government system, noting that adding another government means carrying more costs.
Mkuya said currently the country collects 17.6 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in revenues, but even if the collection goes up to 25 percent the extra money can be channeled to other important services for wananchi instead of paying for increased administrative costs.
Former Energy and Minerals minister William Ngeleja said when President Jakaya Kikwete formed the Constitutional Review Commission the objective was for the citizens to have the final say.
He said the draft constitution came with the proposal of changing the structure of the Union, but statistics are not satisfactory.
“Whatever we decide here in the Constituent Assembly will tie down more than 45 million Tanzanians. We are very much aware of the proposal of adopting the three-government system, but considering where we are now, two-government system is the way to go,” said Ngeleja.
He said people should stop misleading others by saying that those who hold different views regarding the structure of the Union to that presented by the CRC are antagonistic towards the Commission, explaining: “It is the people who will have the final say,” he said.