Towards a research framework for poverty monitoring in tanzania fi nal draft

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G. Measuring the Impact of Poverty Reduction Initiatives

1. Expenditure Tracking

An important part of monitoring the impact of various poverty eradication initiatives is to measure whether the allocated resources actually reach their intended targets. From both a development and fiduciary perspective, expenditure tracking provides assurances to government, citizens, and the Parliament and development partners that funds are being used for the allocated purposes.

In Tanzania, attempts at expenditure tracking are quite recent and there is still a significant learning process ahead. The first tracking study was carried out for the PER ’99. The PER ’00 included expenditure tracking for the Road Fund as a background paper. The PER ’01 commissioned a background study on expenditure tracking in two priority sectors – education and health. These studies all found significant diverting of “other charges” resources and non-disbursement of development expenditures, leading to a divergence between budgeted and allocated expenditures.

  • There is a need to establish a clear methodological framework that would provide guidance to those carrying out expenditure tracking, which includes both quantitative and qualitative dimensions. The intention would be to broaden the group of individuals who can carry out this kind of analysis. An important question would be whether Tanzania’s public expenditure management is in shape to meet the challenges of tracking expenditures intended for the poor.

A recent joint World Bank/IMF paper by the joint World Bank-IMF Public Expenditure Working Group assessed the public expenditure management systems of several HIPC-eligible countries (including Tanzania) (World Bank and IMF 2001). The paper concludes that for the majority of countries, systems require improvements before one could be confident that they are up to the task.

Two other approaches should also be considered in tracking public expenditures. The first is benefit incidence. More than the simple level of social spending, who benefits from such spending is often a more relevant question. Benefit incidence analysis, which examines the efficacy of targeting and the level of progressivity, does precisely that. Some definitions are in order. Following Castro-Leal et al (1999), government spending is considered to be well (poorly) targeted if the share of benefits to the poorest quintile from such spending exceeds (falls below) that of the richest quintile. Government spending is considered to be progressive (regressive) if the benefits to the poorest quintile exceed (are less than) the benefits to the richest quintile relative to their income or expenditure. Thus under progressive (regressive) spending, benefits are a smaller (larger) share of income or expenditure at higher levels of income. Demery (2000) provides a more extended exposition. This approach is even more powerful if gender is incorporated within it, so as to explore differential benefits for women and men within each quintile.
Previous benefit incidence analysis for Tanzania, that is now almost a decade old was not encouraging. It suggested that social sector spending is poorly targeted and often regressive. The poor are therefore benefiting much less than the level of social expenditures would suggest. Improving the benefit incidence of government health and education spending would thus help reduce inequality. With the new household budget survey coming out, this is an important area in which to update the analysis in order to gain a better sense of equity.
A second useful approach, which is more “quick and dirty” but equally useful is trying to map geographic pattern of expenditures with regional income distribution (obtained through poverty maps for example). This can give a quick picture of the incidence of spending (see Devarajan and Hossein 1998).
Specific questions could thus include:

  • What is the benefit incidence of spending in health and education in Tanzania? What are the gender differentials?

  • How do public expenditures match up with the geographic pattern of poverty and income distribution?

2. Safety Nets in Tanzania and Targeting

The term safety nets covers various transfer programs designed to play both a redistributive and risk reduction role in poverty reduction. The redistributive role aims to reduce the impact of poverty while the risk reduction role aims to protect households and communities against uninsured income and consumption risks. The balance between the two roles is determined by country-specific conditions. Social safety nets can take two main forms: income support or transfers. Income generation schemes are intended to provide income support to the vulnerable during a time of emergency by providing jobs. Under an income generation program, the recipient is obliged to work in exchange for the income received. Examples include labor-intensive public works programs or credit-based self-employment schemes. Safety net transfers can be in the form of cash or income transfers (pensions, child allowances) or in-kind (energy subsidies, feeding programs, food subsidies, housing subsidies). Unlike income generation schemes, this carries no obligation from the recipient.

Social funds help finance small projects identified and implemented by poor communities which often (though not always) provide co-financing. Social funds address a wide range of risk reduction objectives and often comprise both income generation and transfer aspects. For example, they include infrastructure building and public works, child and maternal feeding and nutrition programs, support for the setting up of microenterprises, support to small farmers, miners and fishermen, strengthening the social capital of communities, and immunization and other health care programs.
Social safety nets are an important component of reducing the vulnerability of the poor to economic shocks and crises. In Tanzania, while safety nets are scattered here and there, for example, some public works programs, there has been no comprehensive attempt to assess existing safety nets (Tsikata and Madete 2000 review Tanzania’s experience with public works programs). Over the PRSP period, safety nets will be especially important as many of the structural changes needed to accelerate economic growth will probably only take off in the medium-term. The PRSP is relatively silent, however, on a working definition of the vulnerable and on the status of safety nets.4
In all countries, at least three main types of vulnerable groups can be identified:

  1. the chronically poor whose income falls below the country’s poverty line (or other acceptable minimum) even during periods of economic growth;

  1. the temporarily poor, whose income levels fluctuate above and below an acceptable minimum during periods of natural and exogenous shocks; and

  1. those groups (transient poor or not), directly affected by adjustment or shocks in the economy (for example workers who have lost their jobs because of a bankrupt government owned or operated business/enterprise).

For policy purposes, it is important to distinguish between those poor people with the potential to move out (for example those of working age, in good health) and those who cannot do so in the short-term and will need longer-term help (i.e. the disabled, children, the infirm and the elderly) because of limited capacity to generate income.

  • Who are the vulnerable, what is the source of their vulnerability and what are good indicators to help identify them?

  • What aspects of the existing institutional framework can be used to facilitate this process?

  • Who is best placed to take the lead on collecting and maintaining a database on the vulnerable?

An assessment of existing safety nets that specifically addresses the targeting issue is critical. To the extent possible, this should address both formal and informal safety nets.

  • What safety nets exist on paper and in practice? What is the take-up rate or how many people are they reaching? What kind of viable and sustainable welfare services (including HIV/AIDS counseling) can be provided to vulnerable children and adolescents at community level, especially in poor rural and urban communities? How have safety nets been affected by HIV/AIDS?

  • Who are they reaching, in terms of geographic location, gender, age and income? If that information is not available what kinds of changes need to be made in the information system to allow that assessment to be made?

  • What roles can communities and local governments play in the assessment of government programs intended to target the poor?

  • How effective is the targeting mechanism? How is this linked with the varying administrative complexity of the different programs? How much does it cost to administer these programs and how does it compare internationally?

  • Overall, which are the most effective programs? Are any vulnerable groups not being addressed by the current set of safety nets?

  • What does all of this imply for the design of safety net programs in Tanzania?

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Annex 1

Participants in the Consultative Workshops Held May 14, 16 and 18 2001
Facilitators: Marjorie Mbilinyi (IDS) and Yvonne Tsikata (ESRF).


May 14 – Academics/Experts

Professor J. Semboja


Dr. D. Mushi


Professor S. Wangwe


Professor H. K. Amani


Dr. F. Musonda


Ms. M. Manyanda


Dr. Rutasitara


Prof. S.L.S. Chachage


Prof. A. Mascarenhas


Prof. O. Mascarenhas

University Library

Professor B. Ndulu

World Bank

Mr. A. Mufuruki

Info-Tech/CEO Roundtable

Mr. A.A. Zuki


Mr. J. Biswaro

May 16 – Civil Society

Ms. Mary Rusimbi


Mr. R. Rajani


Ms. L. Just


Ms. W. Shariff


May 18 – Policymakers

Dr. G.M. Kamugisha


Mr. F.W. Magere

Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education

Mr. A.B. Nnunduma

Ministry of Water and Livestock Development

Mr. R. Musingi

President's Office, RALG

Mr. A.R. Ndyalusa


1 As indicated, this will be expanded following completion of the Agricultural Sector Development and the Rural Development Strategies.

2 This exercise will have to assess the results coming out of the rural development strategy and the rural development policy to avoid duplication.

3 These estimates have to considered and revisited given the significant upward revision of GDP figures for Tanzania.

4 It is expected that the Participatory Poverty Assessment (PPA) will address at least some of these issues on vulnerability. Further questions should not duplicate the work of the PPA.

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