Pinda rallies for improved investment climate
THE Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda, yesterday rallied stakeholders towards concerted joint efforts to improve the country’s investment climate. Moving the 19th parliament session here, the prime minister said that the past three years have not been friendly to investors, thus slowing down the growth rate the country enjoyed between 2000 and 2008 when it was growing at five and seven per cent per annum. “Despite the economic and social strides the government has recorded in the past decade, we need to work hard now, particularly at this point when the world economy has faced a downward trend”, he said.
He said that the government was impressed so far by the outcome from various initiatives it has developed to stimulate the economy and alleviate poverty. “Foreign direct investment has also improved between 1995 and 2008 with the figure shooting from 150.86 million US dollars to 695.5 million dollars in the period under review”, he added. According to the World Bank review done last year on the business climate, Tanzania stands at 131st position out of 183 countries. “Our neighbours have faired better than us and this is not good news at all”, he said. He said that there were too many bottlenecks in getting permits, saying such trend was not positive to the country’s endeavour in attracting investors. “It is unacceptable that it takes 328 days and undergo through 22 tedious processes to get a permit to build a small warehouse”, he said. He said that the government has taken various measures including formation of a task force that comprises permanent secretaries to work on the suggestions to improve the situation.
“Honouarble Speaker, the task force has completed the work and the report has been submitted to the government for further action”, he said. The premier said that the government has already started to work on the recommendations which include a compilation of a property valuation report, adding that the government has improved the laws and regulations that have been identified to be setbacks in improving the investment climate. Such areas, he said, include issuance of construction permits, acquisition of loans, review of the taxation regime, labour related issues, clearing of cargo from the port and other custom posts. “I have listed all these so that we can change our mindset and enable Tanzania claim back its lost glory as the best destination for investment,” he said. He listed some of the areas which the government has addressed to win back the trust of investors. “Foremost, we need to improve the infrastructure and also ensure there is reliable supply of electricity,” Mr Pinda said.
He said that various reforms on land and the establishment of business arbitration boards have been implemented. He added that the mindset of the workers in central as well as the local governments needs to change to attract investors.