Annual assessment of planning in Tanzanian government ministries
2004; Tanzania; United Republic of Tanzania – President’s Office
Governments invest huge resources in the development of strategies and operational plans. The obvious question arises – is this investment worth it?
Under Tanzania’s Public Service Reform Programme in the early 2000s, the role of government had been redefined, confining functions to policy and regulation, and new department and agency structures were introduced. We conducted three studies – to assess the quality of plans; to determine the extent to which plans were actually being used; and to judge the quality of indicators and data used to inform planning and strategy development.
Our findings showed clearly that much of the day to day work of the civil servants we met was not guided directly by the strategies and plans they had prepared. Two key reasons for this emerged – firstly, different ministries enforced the use of plans to different degrees. Some saw the development of a strategy or plan as a compliance requirement, but once these were approved they could return to ‘business as usual’. Secondly, where plans were prepared without reference to the likely availability of finance, the plan would quickly become redundant in the face of scarce resources. Our study contributed to a wider reflection by government on the status of public sector reforms and to consideration of a more streamlined planning process more closely linked to resource availability.Image © Tanzania Photo Credit: Emmeline Willcocks