Financing Social Protection in Tanzania

This note assesses whether social protection programs are adequately financed in mainland Tanzania. We find that social protection programs are an important component of Government expenditures, and complements other Government social spending, including education and health spending. In recent years, the Government has strengthened social protection by: (i) increasing social protection expenditures; (ii) shifting social assistance from generally inefficient food and in-kind programs to more efficient cash-based programs; (iii) shifting social assistance from relatively untargeted programs to those which are targeted to poor people; and (iv) easing demand side constraints faced by households investing in human capital. Despite these positive developments, challenges to social protection remain: (i) social assistance and employment programs remain underfunded relative to the needs of the population; (ii) development partner financing remains crucial even though they are prone to external risks; (iii) little is known about which social welfare services and employment programs work well; (iv) many pension parameters are not in line with best-practice and therefore, sustainability can be improved; (v) generalized subsidies, which are notoriously bad instruments to target poor people, are absorbing Government resources in a tight fiscal environment.