Policy Transparency in the Public Sector
The Case of Social Benefits in Tanzania
In this paper we explore the eligibility criteria for the social benefits that form part of the Productive Social Safety Net programme in Tanzania — the Basic Cash Transfer and Variable Cash Transfer. An account is given of how simplified variants of these criteria were applied within TAZMOD, a static tax-benefit microsimulation model for Tanzania, in order to estimate take-up rates for these benefits.
Confronted by the opaque and discretionary elements of the current benefits, we then simulate several categorical benefit alternatives which overcome many of the challenges of the current design, including a revenue neutral option that is more effective at reducing poverty and inequality. It is argued that by shifting to categorical benefits and removing the community targeting, proxy means-test, and conditionality elements, transparency would be enhanced.
This would not only enable more accurate monitoring of access to and take-up of the benefits but would also enable citizens to determine their eligibility which is currently not possible.