Research Theme 2 - Governance and Accountability

Sub-Theme 1: System and Structure of Governance

Good governance has increasingly attracted the attention of the public, and gained attention in the debate in the context of human development. Governance is one of the missing links in economic development and social progress with direct effect on peoples’ welfare. Further reform of the governance sector is inevitable in order to enhance the quality and efficiency of services delivery that, in turn, will lead to a more enabling environment for the private sector, higher economic growth and the reduction of poverty.

Governance is concerned with the process, systems, practices and procedures that govern institutions, the manner in which these rules and regulations determine or create, and the nature of those relationships. Sound or good governance encourages the efficient use of resources and provides for accountability in the use of those resources. Corporate governance for example is one of the most effective tools capable of eliminating inefficiency and irregularities in a corporate sector. Systems and governance structures is among the components of corporate governance. Any governance system must adhere closely to the con stitution of the business firm or institution, with a control structure designed to facilitate a clearly defined decision-making process, business execution system, and supervisory system.

Tanzania has not made significant progress in corporate governance. Evidence shows that corruption and managerial incompetence has been among the major factors that cause ineffective performance by public sector organizations in Tanzania. Realizing the persistence of this challenge, the ESRF research agenda is also intended to make a contribution through research and to explore the following areas, among others:

    (a) Understanding the concept of corporate governance, including system and governance structure;

    (b) Lessons from the international corporate governance principles and standards;

    (c) Good governance and the rule of law;

    (d) Accountability of leaders and public servants to the people, and promoting the culture of integrity and accountability in society as a whole;

    (e) Self restraint and oversight control in the use of public resources;

    (f) The ability or capacity to effect desired changes and sustain them through suitable institutions and systems of dispensing and regulating governance; and

    (g) How to enlarge the tax base to increase government revenues and at the same time embolden the tax payers (i.e. citizens) in asserting their right in demanding good government services.

Sub-Theme 2: Government Effectiveness in Service Delivery and Management of Resources

Government is key in leading the development agenda and in managing the country’s public resources as well as enforcing accountability in revenue collection and expenditure process. It has to play this role effectively with the help of a strategic government budget frame, appropriate budget execution instruments and effective performance auditing. The quality of services delivery to the public has been one of the challenges facing the country; and ESRF intends to engage in the monitoring and assessment of quality of social services at national and sub-national levels. Among the challenges related to improvement of service delivery is lack of effective and systematic enforcement of compliance measures related to service standards, and weak deterrent sanctions for serious violators, lack of focused or realistic oversight controls. Effective public services delivery is significantly dependent on the level of adequacy in the supply of financial and human resources in the service delivering institutions and the services monitoring agencies. The following specific areas will therefore be among the focus of the ESRF research agenda under this sub theme:

    (a) Understanding the factors affecting service delivery and resource management in Tanzania;

    (b) Assessment of the quality of services delivered by public and private institutions;

    (c) Research into how best to improve the regulatory functions of the existing state regulatory organisations and inspection services and look into the use of independent service delivery agents, as well as evaluation of client service charters;

    (d) Accountability by the private sector in the provision of goods and services to the people;

    (e) Tax compliance and optimum tax base; and

    (f) Revenue collection and expenditure.

Sub-Theme 3: Corruption and Good Governance

Although some indicators show that corruption has been declining overtime, corruption in Tanzania still remains a major challenge which has been denying citizens their rights and significantly affecting the national economy. Corruption is a form of irregular, unethical, immoral or illegal practices, transactions, dealings and activities in the process of handling commercial or public transactions or in the performance of official duties. It involves misuse of entrusted power or office for private gain; behavior on the part of officials in the public sector in which people improperly and unlawfully enrich themselves, or those who are close to them, by misuse of the public power entrusted to them.

It is also practiced by offering, giving, receiving or soliciting anything to influence the action of public officer in rendering a public service. Among the major effects, corruption is one of the major constrains for doing business and private investment in the country. Taking into account the mentioned effects of corruption and many others which were not mentioned here, one of the many effective tools that can be used to reduce the incidence of corruption, especially supply side corruption, is sound corporate governance. This is another critical area where ESRF research agenda will target. The following topics are among the research areas which will be considered:

    (a) Assess to what extent services delivery is hampered by corruption and what can be done to curb corruption for the sake of improving the services;

    (b) Corruption and its impact in the economy;

    (c) Drivers of corruption in Tanzania;

    (d) Corruption as a cost of doing business and private investment; and

    (e) Corporate governance as an instrument to curb corruption.

ESRFs activities are supported by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and International Development Research Centre (IDRC)