Report of DPMF/EIIPD Capacity Building Sensitization Workshop for Senior Policy Managers from IGAD and EAC Countries
Policy Process In Tanzania
There are several definitions of the word/term “Policy” depending on
different environments in which it is being defined. The Cambridge International
Dictionary of English (first published 1995) defines Policy as
“a set of ideas or a plan of what to do in particular situations that has been
agreed officially by a group of people, a business organization, a government or
a political party”. In this paper our working definition of Public Policy
is that it is a course of action adopted by a Government in relation to an issue
on which the Government deems it important to give guidance or direction.
In Tanzania the course of action is initiated/conceived/designed by an
institution within the Government e.g. a Government Ministry or Department. This
course of action becomes policy after Government (Cabinet) approval. By and
large most of the issues needing policy are socio‑economic
development and political issues.
Policy formulation in Tanzania, like in other countries, is basically the
sequential process of identifying problems, analysing them, searching for
appropriate policy options to solve them, articulating the options clearly,
deciding upon which of the options to take, implementing the strategic policy
options and finally evaluating the implementation process.
In Tanzania the Government has been engaged in serious socio-economic
reforms starting from the mid 1980s to arrest the deterioration of economic
performance due to the tremendous expansion of the public sector during the
1970s and early 1980s that resulted in putting excessive pressure on the economy
for financial and manpower resources. One of the reforms has been a critical
examination of the role of government under the prevailing severe budgetary and
other resource constraints should be. The Government has thus grouped its
functions into three categories, namely: core, critical and non‑critical.
The core functions or services are those that can be provided
only by Government. These are essential and represent the power and
justification of society. Services under this category include national policy
formulation, law and order, defence and general administration. The critical
functions are services which are supported by Government but the private
sector may also contribute to run them, examples being health and education. The
are services which can be provided on commercial basis indicating that they are
essential but they can be performed by any other institution outside the
Government system. Among other considerations, this functional classification
has also been adopted by the Government as a basis for allocating its scarce
resources; first priority being given to core and critical functions.
Since in Tanzania policy formulation is a core function of government, in
this presentation we shall concentrate on formulation of public policy. A Public
Policy is designed to be a statement of the government’s guiding principles
and intentions with regards to dealing with an important public issue. The
public policy provides the means by which the Government prioritises problems, which need to be addressed, sets objectives
and allocates resources in order for these to be achieved.
The need to have a public policy on an issue in Tanzania is determined by
the changing environment in the country and the world at large. Since the mid
1980’s for example, the Government began to implement reforms e.g. the
Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), Economic Reform Programme (ERP), etc.
aimed at solving the socio‑economic crisis facing the country during that
period. An important component of the reforms has been to curtail the prominent
role of the State in the economy while giving greater leeway to the market and
the private sector. However, in the course of implementing these reforms it has
come to light that issues of good governance, good economic and social
infrastructure, increased human resource development, a well functioning legal
and regulatory framework and efficient fiscal and financial systems are also
necessary components for a sustainable reform programme. The Government has been
formulating public policies addressing most of these problems.
External considerations/factors may also necessitate the Government to
formulate a public policy to address these issues, for example, the country’s
acceptance of United Nations Resolutions/Declarations on certain issues such as
human rights, environment, etc. may necessitate the need for the Government to
have a national policy to address these aspects within the country as part of
the strategy of implementing the resolutions/declarations countrywide. There may
also be some multilateral resolutions such as poverty alleviation issues by the
World Bank/IMF or other multilateral and bilateral issues etc. that may
necessitate the need for the Government to formulate public policy to address
the issues and to facilitate their implementation.
After the Government decides that there is need to formulate a public
policy to address an issue, normally the step that follows is the commissioning
of a study on the issue under consideration. The processes of commissioning the
study is the responsibility of the government ministry/department responsible
for the issue.
The study team, which will have specific terms of reference drawn up by
the Ministry, will normally be comprised of the relevant experts from the
ministry/department, experts and researchers on the subject matter from other
ministries/departments, public sector/institutions, private sector, academia,
political parties, and other interest groups.
Donors also play a significant role in policy formulation in Tanzania
because of, among other things, their substantial support to the country’s
development agenda where external funding accounts for about 40% of the Gross
Domestic Product (GDP). Some of the donors are interested to see that there is
broad based accountability and transparency of policy action. They are in one
way or another involved in the on‑going transformation in the country in
the promotion of socio‑economic and political reforms. In some cases there
is also donors influence over policy agenda at a lower level through their
choice of particular projects and through the technical expertise they provide
to support these projects.
The study team’s Terms of Reference may include specific tasks to be
performed like reviewing all relevant studies/literature related to the subject
matter and sector, have a consultation process with the main stakeholders of the
issue under study, provide appropriate guidance in the preparation of the
policy, articulation of the draft policy during consultation processes,
seminars, workshops etc.
Various stakeholders need to be taken on board. Effects on other policies
is also considered, financial requirements hence the need for consultation with
the Ministry of Finance, etc. The legal and regulatory framework for the policy
being formulated is also considered in the scrutinization process so as to be
able to assess whether or not there is need for new legislation, change of
existing legislation, complete scrapping of existing legislation, etc.
The scrutization of the study team’s report at ministerial level is
usually done by the relevant line Division
in the ministry along with the Director of Policy and Planning who is the
coordinator of all sub‑sectoral policies in the ministry. In fact, the
relevant line Director in the Ministry, the Policy and Planning Director and
other senior government officers are responsible in initiating, organizing and
managing the policy formulation processes in the ministry and/or in the sector.
So the ministry concerned has actually got to set an institutional framework for
drafting a policy document it intends to.
The Preparation of a Policy Document follows after the sieving and
scrutinisation of the findings of the study team. However, there may be need for
more discussions, guidance and consultations between the ministry and other
stakeholders within and outside Government in organized
seminars/workshops/symposia. The interests of all stakeholders must be
considered. This participatory approach is one of the positive aspects of
Tanzania public service culture. Tanzania enjoys social and political stability.
This is so vital for the sustainable development of the economy. Strategic
alliance and integral approach among the stakeholders are essential for the
development of a consistent policy document. The Government ensures that it
promotes and stimulates dialogue among all stakeholders at all levels in the
formulation of policy. This is particularly so in social services policies e.g.
education, health, community development, gender, children, environment, poverty
alleviation etc. The aim is to promote the exchange of views by the different
actors, facilitating discussions on the policy issues under consideration and
enhancing awareness on the policy issues.
Presentation to Government
2.13 After finalising preparing a Policy Document, the relevant
ministry prepares a Cabinet Paper focusing on the policy. Once a policy paper is
considered ready for submission to the Cabinet, it is sent to the Cabinet
There is then a discussion of the Paper (i.e. the draft Cabinet Paper and
the Policy Document) between the originating Ministry and the Cabinet
Secretariat which is composed of experts in various fields/disciplines such as
Economics, Finance, Social Services, Law and Order, Parliamentary and
Constitutional Affairs, International Relations, Good Governance, etc. This
discussion involves all members of the Cabinet Secretariat and is intended to
test the proposals for feasibility, technical soundness and wider impact. The
originating Ministry will invariably amend the Paper in the light of the
2.15 Once amended, the paper is submitted for discussion by the Inter
Ministerial Technical Committee (IMTC) which comprises all Permanent
Secretaries. It is chaired by the Chief Secretary to the President who is also
Secretary to the Cabinet. The IMTC is responsible for examining proposals
submitted by Government institutions for Government consideration. It is
advisory and therefore provides “technical” advice on all policy papers
submitted to Cabinet for approval. The IMTC is a very important forum in the
institutional framework for policy process. Cabinet Papers may be substantially
amended or even withdrawn as a result of IMTC discussions. In most cases IMTC
discussions are focussed on relatively detailed technical issues that have not
been resolved between Ministries at a lower level. Hence the IMTC gives advice
on how to reach a common understanding between the ministries in order to
facilitate cooperation and understanding during Cabinet meetings. IMTC minutes
are attached to the relevant policy paper when tabled at Cabinet.
2.16 Once amended in the light of IMTC comments, a policy paper will
finally be approved by the originating Minister and submitted to Cabinet
for discussion and adoption.
2.17 Once the Cabinet (Government) has adopted the policy, then
implementation can begin. A Policy will normally have strategies and actions for
A public policy, even if approved by Cabinet or Parliament, does not make
any effect if it is shelved and ignored. Policy Implementation Guidelines have
to be issued to facilitate the execution of the policy.
For sustainable and effective implementation some conditions need to be
satisfied so that the intention of the policy measures are not thwarted by.
Every policy approved has options which need to be clearly spelled out. This is
the responsibility of the Ministry responsible for monitoring and evaluating the
implementation of the policy.
Normally the Ministry and other policy executing agencies spell out the
strengths and weaknesses of the various policy options and recommend specific
courses of action which are relevant and applicable given the prevailing
socio‑economic and political situation.
All policy instruments have to be put in place, including the enactment
of enabling legislation if it is necessary, before embarking on putting the
policy into operation and action.
The cooperation aspects needed between all parties concerned have to be
spelt out in the implementation guidelines.
Capacity to implement the plans including monitoring has to be
considered. This includes consideration of the financial and manpower
There is need for Feedback from executing agencies and other stakeholders
to assist in assessing and evaluating whether or not the policy is working.
Some policies are routine in nature ‑ for example, the preparation
of the Annual Government Budget as specified in the country’s Constitution.
The implementation modalities of this may be a bit different from the
longer‑term national policies.
Public Policy Implementation And Monitoring
There are various ways in which the Government monitors implementation of
policy decisions. One way is where the Cabinet Secretariat asks Ministries to
report back on actions arising from previous Cabinet Meetings. The other way is
that the Prime Minister’s Office follows up issues raised in Parliament, and
the Prime Minister meets his fellow Ministers from time to time to discuss
progress. These arrangements appear to be primarily focused on dealing with
short term and day‑to‑day problem solving, rather than
systematically monitoring the performance of Government in implementing its
policy decisions. For example, it appears neither the Cabinet Secretariat, nor
the Prime Minister’s Office has a good and elaborate information system to
enable them systematically to keep track of progress in implementing
long‑term policy objectives. IMTC does not appear to undertake any regular
oversight of policy implementation. At
the moment monitoring implementation is acknowledged to be a weakness at almost
every level of Government.
At times certain public policy may seem to fail but Government becomes
reluctant to change the policy or terminate it altogether. For example, the
Musoma Resolution on Education in which ‘A’ Level students are required to
have two year training before joining the University. Although experts have
recommended to the Government that this policy should be amended or terminated,
the Government is yet to act. Another example is the Villagization Policy which
is now not working. These are two examples of policies which have failed
to function but the Government is reluctant to terminate them.
4.3 Policy Analyses
Through the on‑going
Public Service Reform Programme, the Government has established Policy and
Planning Divisions/Units in all the Ministries. The main responsibilities of
these Divisions/Units is to facilitate the policy formulation process in each
ministry/sector and therefore throughout Government. Among other
responsibilities, their tasks include policy development and coordination,
evaluation and policy‑reformulation. These Policy and Planning
Divisions/Units perform a “think‑tank” role for the ministries and
they are also arbiters of competing sub‑sectoral policies and subsequent
resource demands within the ministries. However, it is recognised that the
policy analysis capacity of these ministerial Divisions/Units is inadequate.
Therefore the Government, through the Public Service Reform Programme and other
initiatives, is taking deliberate measures to strengthen the competence and
public policy formulation and analysis skills of the staff of these
Divisions/Units through specialist formal training, workshops, seminars, on the
job training and practical exposure to what is being done in some Policy
Analysis institutions in the country e.g. at the Economic and Social Research
Foundation (ESRF) and the Research on Poverty Alleviation institution (REPOA).
This effort is also being complemented by new recruitment of policy analysts
into the public service.
of the capacity inadequacy pointed out above, one of the ways the Government
could ensure there is proper and thorough scrutiny of public policy, analysis,
implementation and review could be to supplement the Government’s available
capacity by contracting out this activity to policy experts from the
Universities, research institutions like ESRF and REPOA, private consulting
firms and individuals. The Government would also have an added advantage from
such an arrangement because it would enable it to get credible independent views
from outside Government on whether or not the public policy is working as
intended and possible options and/or remedial actions that have to be taken into
account in reviewing the public policy.