Reflection on decentralization of performance of periodic open markets in Dodoma Municiplaity, Tanzania
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ABSTRACT: A critical issue in decentralisation is the delivery of services to lower government levels. This article gives a reflection of decentralisation with experience from Tanzania. The article is based on assessment of the roles of various actors on operationalisation of periodic open markets using empirical data collected from 120 randomly selected market participants in a survey conducted in November, 2014. In this survey, procedures that govern operations of the markets were assessed. The markets were of two categories. The first were those with agricultural produce as the major commodity while the second dealt mainly with livestock. The former were organized on weekly basis and entirely managed by village authorities. On the other hand, the spatial and temporal allocation of the physical marketplace for livestock was organized twice every month by the higher government level. Overall, conditions for decentralized system which include sufficient powers to exercise substantial influence over development activities at lower government level, sufficient financial resources, accountability mechanism and adequate administrative capacity were not met. Thus, from the present evidence, operations of periodic open markets have not been able to create sufficient conditions for improved service delivery through market decentralization. It is recommended that decentralization should involve substantive roles of lower government levels to enhance accountability and improve delivery of market services.