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The Local Government Reform Programme (LGRP) in Tanzania aims to restructure local government authorities so that they can respond more effectively to local priorities of service delivery in a sustainable manner. Various sector reform programmes complement the LGRP by focusing on specific sectors. What has been achieved by these reforms in recent years? Have there been any changes in the provision of basic services to the public? What factors may explain distinct improvements in service delivery? This brief compares citizens' perceptions of service delivery in key sectors by local authorities in 2003 and 2006, based on findings from two comprehensive surveys covering 1260 respondents in 42 localities across Tanzania. Overall, citizens perceive that there have been improvements over time in the general quality of public services. Primary and secondary education stand out as the services rated as satisfactory and improving by the majority of the citizens interviewed. Although the average data for the councils indicate that there have been improvements in health services in recent years, the progress is still slow, and the differences in service delivery both between and within councils are increasing. Access to clean water is a major problem mirrored in deep dissatisfaction by citizens. While some areas have experienced improvements in water supply through donor funded water supply schemes, much remains to be done in this sector. Although improved water supply is priority number one by citizens in many councils this is not reflected in the development plans of the local government councils; plans which to a large extent reflect central government priorities.

Odd-Helge Fjeldstad

Research Professor, Coordinator: Tax and Public Finance