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Tanzania

To Make Budget Data (Eight Key Budget Reports), Audit Committee Reports and Tax Exemptions Publicly Available by December 2014. (TZ0028)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Not Attached

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Finance (MoF), Parliament, and the Controller and Auditor General’s (CAG) office

Support Institution(s): Prime Minister’s Office – Regional Administration and Local Government (PMO-RALG), unspecified CSO, and private sector organizations

Policy Areas

E-Government, Education, Fiscal Transparency, Health, Open Data

IRM Review

IRM Report: Tanzania End of Term Report 2014-2016

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Public Accountability , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

In line with internationally accepted good practices for open budgets, this includes:
(i) Publish, in a timely manner, the following eight key budget reports each budget year: a pre-budget statement; the executive’s budget proposal; the enacted budget; a citizens budget; in-year reports on revenues collected, expenditures made and debt incurred; a mid-year review; a year-end report; and audit reports.
(ii) Publish the reports of the Parliamentary Audit Committees.
(iii) Publish all tax exemptions, on a monthly basis.
(iv) Publish Budget data online, in machine-readable formats, as well as key information made available at district councils as far as possible at all education and health facilities.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 3.2. Open Data

Commitment Text: To establish an open data system by December 2016

Key steps to operationalizing this commitment include the following:

(i) Establishing a coordinating body or working group under the Ministry of Finance for exploration of this issue.

(ii) Supporting guidelines issued, followed by legislative resolutions demonstrating support for transparent operations and the integration of open data into policy considerations, including provision of data in machine readable formats.

(iii) Establishment of a user-friendly, interactive open data portal data.go.tz.

(iv) Publication of key datasets on data.go.tz, particularly related to the education, health and water

sectors, including data from Basic Education Statistics in Tanzania (BEST) and national examinations

(NECTA), medical facilities and Medical Stores Department (MSD), water points, company registrations,

NBS census and survey data and GIS data on village and ward boundaries; and with all data an

emphasis on provision of disaggregated data at the facility level so as to be meaningful to citizens.

Additional activities as listed in the implementation plan:

Review existing data disclosure Policy, Act and Regulations.

Formulate Open Data Policy

Editorial note: The milestones reviewed in this commitment are a combination of the key steps listed in the commitment and activities outlined in the implementation plan.

Responsible institution(s): Ministry of Finance (MoF), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), President's Office-Public Service Management (POPSM), e-Government Agency (eGA), Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MOEVT), Ministry of Water (MOW), Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW), National Archives, and Prime Minister's Office-Regional Administration and Local Government (PMO-RALG)

Supporting institution(s): PMO-RALG, unspecified CSOs, and the private sector

Start date: Not specified End date: 31 December 2016

Commitment Aim:

This commitment aims to develop a framework on open data in Tanzania that includes forming guidelines and policies, establishing an oversight body, and mandating that government MDAs publish data immediately in a new open data portal.

Prior to the commitment implementation, data was largely inaccessible to the general public. Typically, the lead government institutions responsible for a policy area would publish information internally, barring it from public access. For more than four decades, government-held data such as water points, medical supplies, and basic education statistics remained the exclusive preserve of a few civil servants, select parliamentary committee members, and development partners.

This commitment offers a pathway to opening government data and enabling Tanzanian citizens and the public in general access to reusable information. Through the commitment's implementation, the government could potentially build public trust by providing accountability or evidence for services rendered.

Status

Midterm: Limited

The IRM researcher found limited implementation of the commitment. The open data portal (www.opendata.go.tz) was estabished and key datasets were published. The IRM researcher also found that the data was easily searchable and that the format used on the portal'”comma-separated-values (CSV)'”allows files to be reprocessed by users.[Note 16: The Open Data Institute, http://bit.ly/1PSbMmA.%5D However, the other four activities, including establishing a coordinating body under the leadership of the Ministry of Finance, reviewing procedures for open data disclosure, issuing open data support guidelines, and developing an open data policy, had limited or no progress at all.

It is important to note that in the first action plan (2012-2013), the government created a system to publish certain datasets online in a machine-readable format, including water-point mapping datasets.[Note 17: Ngunga Tepani, Tanzania OGP IRM Report. March 2014.] According to the current action plan, the portal was to be populated by datasets from three sectors: education, health, and water.

The IRM progress report recommended that one government institution take the lead on coordinating data to improve the efficiency of releasing information on the portal in a timely manner. Further recommendations included reviewing the open data disclosure policy, publishing more open datasets on the portal, developing a new open data policy, and developing a coordinating body to oversee all processes.[Note 18: Ngunga Tepani, Tanzania OGP IRM Report, December 2015.]

End of term: Substantial

As of August 2016, 100 datasets have been uploaded on the portal (http://www.opendata.go.tz): 65 from education, 11 from water, 10 from health, and 14 from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).[Note 19: Interview with an anonymous government agency official, 24 August 2016, Dar es Salaam.] Stakeholder interviews[Note 20: Interview with an anonymous civil servant, 23 August 2016, Dar es Salaam.] and the government self-assessment report show that the open data policy is still being developed, and there is an ongoing review of the open data disclosure policy.

The government also issued an open data circular in March 2016 (URT, 2016) with a designated coordinating body for collecting, processing, and publishing open data for all MDAs and local government authorities. To complete the commitment, more open datasets need to be published on the portal in a machine-readable format. Additionally, a new open data policy should also be developed. Civil society stakeholders interviewed[Note 21: Interview with a civil society ATI expert, 21 October 2016, Dar es Salaam.] have questioned the accessibility and value of published data due to low levels of internet penetration in Tanzania. They argue that the same data, or a summary of the content, should be made available offline in an easily readable, Kiswahili language document that is available to the wider Tanzanian public.

Further, the third OGP action plan draft (2016/17-2017/18) envisages cleaning up the existing open data portal and populating it with more datasets in line with new policy developments.[Note 22: http://www.twaweza.org/uploads/files/FINAL%20OGP%20ACTION%20PLAN%20III%2030_8_2016.pdf. ]

Did it open government?

Access to information: Major

This commitment aims establish an open data system to provide the public with access to high quality government information. However, despite the potential benefits, several factors have limited the potential value of this commitment in opening government through various open data initiatives, such as a lack of internet access among the general population.[Note 23: http://www.tcra.go.tz/images/documents/telecommunication/CommStatMarch16.pdf. ]

The Tanzania Citizens Information Bureau (TIB), a civil society organisation that works with information access and related issues, confirms that the published datasets have changed the way citizens view the work of their government and has reclaimed some of the public trust lost in the past.[Note 24: Telephone interview civil society stakeholder, 13 October 2016, Dar es Salaam.] The portal displays data valuable to the public interest in Tanzania, such as statistics on student-teacher ratios in schools, water access points and maps, and the number of health workers by region. The previously unavailable data covers health, water, and education sectors and is in an open data format with reusable (CSV) files.[Note 25: http://www.opendata.go.tz/dataset?organization=ministry-of-health-and-social.%5D While the information released is highly useful for citizens, the low internet penetration rate (4.9 percent in 2014) has limited citizens' ability to use the portal directly.[Note 26: Juliet McMurren, David Sangokoya, Stefaan Verhulst, and Andrew Young, 'Open Education Information in Tanzania: A Tale of Two Dashboards,' GovLab, 16 January 2016. http://odimpact.org/case-open-education-information-in-tanzania.html. ] According to a 2016 GovLab report, while most citizens lack sufficient internet access to use the portal, civil society groups are able to act as 'infomediaries' and disseminate information from the portal through offline means to areas with limited online access.[Note 27: Ibid. ]

Further measures to improve user feedback could be enhanced by linking mobile technology to the portal. This is especially important because there is a growing use of mobile phones in Tanzania,[Note 28: Subscription to Mobile and Fixed Network, April to June 2016, TCRA. Available at https://www.tcra.go.tz/images/documents/telecommunication/CommStatJune16.pdf.%5D and allowing public feedback via mobile phones could greatly increase citizen's ability to influence and request the release of datasets. In addition, the IRM researcher established from a government official[Note 29: Interview with an anonymous government agency official, 24 August 2016, Dar es Salaam.] that one of the challenges for data uptake is the absence of applications to make open data easily understood and accessed by information users or consumers in Tanzania.

 

Carried forward?

Tanzania's third OGP action plan draft has a commitment on open data where the focus is on fully completing this commitment. Moreover, there is a proposal to revamp the open data portal to contain features that will allow for more user-provided feedback and more options for citizens to interact with the government online to request clean open data[Note 30: http://www.twaweza.org/uploads/files/FINAL%20OGP%20ACTION%20PLAN%20III%2030_8_2016.pdf.%5D.

 


Tanzania's Commitments

  1. Starred commitment To Enact a Freedom of Information Act by December 2014.

    TZ0026, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  2. To Establish an Open Data System by December 2016.

    TZ0027, 2014, Capacity Building

  3. To Make Budget Data (Eight Key Budget Reports), Audit Committee Reports and Tax Exemptions Publicly Available by December 2014.

    TZ0028, 2014, E-Government

  4. Make Land Use Plan, Ownership and Demarcated Areas for Large Scale Land Deals Accessible Online for Public Use by June 2016.

    TZ0029, 2014, Land & Spatial Planning

  5. Tanzania to Fulfill Its EITI Commitments by June 2016

    TZ0030, 2014, Extractive Industries

  6. Dashboard of OGP Progress

    TZ0001, 2012, OGP

  7. Water Data and Mapping

    TZ0002, 2012, Water and Sanitation

  8. Citizens’ Website

    TZ0003, 2012, E-Government

  9. National Audit Office Website

    TZ0004, 2012, E-Government

  10. Client Service Charters

    TZ0005, 2012, E-Government

  11. Participation by Email and Mobile Phones

    TZ0006, 2012, E-Government

  12. Reporting on Medical Supply Orders

    TZ0007, 2012, E-Government

  13. Starred commitment Access to Health, Education, and Water Data

    TZ0008, 2012, Open Data

  14. Government Websites

    TZ0009, 2012, Open Data

  15. Open Forum on OGP Commitments

    TZ0010, 2012, E-Government

  16. Complaints Register

    TZ0011, 2012, E-Government

  17. Starred commitment Citizens’ “How Do I?” Website

    TZ0012, 2012, Public Service Delivery

  18. Local Government Service Boards and Committees

    TZ0013, 2012, E-Government

  19. Citizens' Budget Document

    TZ0014, 2012, E-Government

  20. Contact Point for OGP Communication

    TZ0015, 2012, E-Government

  21. Global Practice on Data Disclosure

    TZ0016, 2012, E-Government

  22. Donor Funding

    TZ0017, 2012, Aid

  23. Open Government Innovation by Local Entrepreneurs

    TZ0018, 2012, Capacity Building

  24. Disclosure of Public Officials’ Assets

    TZ0019, 2012, Asset Disclosure

  25. Allocation of Grants to Local Governments

    TZ0020, 2012, E-Government

  26. Budget Execution Reports

    TZ0021, 2012, E-Government

  27. Local Government Transparency

    TZ0022, 2012, E-Government

  28. Reports on Tax Exemptions

    TZ0023, 2012, E-Government

  29. Best Practices for Freedom of Information Laws

    TZ0024, 2012, Right to Information

  30. Parastatal Organisations

    TZ0025, 2012, E-Government