Govt should urgently act on WBank report
8th November 2010
As the country gets back to normal business after the elections, it will need to quickly review the issues raised by the World Bank report released last week which points out weaknesses in the way the country does business.
The report acknowledges that the country has made progress in some key areas to safeguard the economy, citing enforcement of contract laws, where the country leads in Sub-Saharan Africa. But it also points to the lack of reforms that are needed to ease the registration and the way of doing business in the country. The country has dropped on the World Bank Doing Business index 2011 from number 125 to 128. It has also dropped from number 116 to 120 on the ranking on paying taxes.
The bank's report, if unchallenged will no doubt deal a blow to the country's efforts to attract investors, local and foreign to grow the economy. It is a relief that the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industries, Trade and Marketing, Joyce Mapunjo has said “the government accepted the report, but some of the issues in it do not reflect the reality.” She said many weaknesses about Tanzania’s performance pointed out in the report had already been corrected, adding that the report was outdated in those areas. Our major concerns however are the areas which the bank has pointed out as still unattended to, but which the PS disputes as drawing on outdated sources of information.
The government should move fast to set the record right, so as to reassure potential foreign and local investors that the country remains an attractive investment destination. This is necessary and urgent, because of the negative picture that the World Bank report is likely to paint of the country's investor environment and lack of readiness to do all in its power to attract investments. We say so also aware that the government has invested heavily in efforts to promote the country as a major investors’ destination.
President Jakaya in his first five years at the presidency launched various initiatives to woo investors into our country and empower local ones. He has also created an Investors Complaints Bureau at State House that would resolve investors’ complaints. We know that the government has been making periodic reviews of the economic environment in relation to investor feedbacks and has continued to take action whenever necessary to ensure that hurdles, major and minor are removed. It is our expectations that a sustained follow-up will be made on the implementation of the decisions taken to remove investment hurdles to clear any doubts over the country's commitment to create a friendly environment for investors.
We also hope that the government will continue to periodically publicise measures it was taking to ensure that investors' hurdles were removed and that such information reached all relevant stakeholders to restore the right picture.
Lest we forget, it is not only investors who need an efficient economy. We all do as the country gets back on the road in its march to improve the standards of living of its people.