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Monday, 18 April 2011

‘JK reassures investors’. Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric!!!

The statements (below) from president Kikwete in respect of investor safety in Tanzania are laughable and are down right dishonest.

President Kikwete gave his promises to the British government that the rule of law would be applied to the Silverdale Farm case where British investors, supplying expertise to the agricultural sector were driven from Tanzania like dogs as Kikwete’s government failed to protect them and the rule of law was used and a abused in manner that should seriously concern human rights activists around the world.

When are heads of State and donors going to say it as it is in Tanzania. When are they going to stop supporting this dangerous rhetoric coming from a country where the police, judiciary and the government are filthy with corruption supporting disparate interests  in a country where the rule of law struggles for survival.

When will donors and governments have the the courage to say it as it is with regard to Tanzania and that is ‘enough is enough’

JK reassures investors
Tuesday, 19 April 2011 08:13
By Samuel Kamndaya,
The Citizen Reporter Dar es Salaam.


Host of the African Business Investment Forum 2011, President Jakaya Kikwete, and fellow East African leaders launch the East African Community Investment Guide in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Others, from left: Commonwealth Business Council Director General Mohan Kaul, Zanzibar President Ali Mohamed Shein, East African Community Chairman, Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza, Kenya President Mwai Kibaki and Rwanda Prime Minister Bernard Makuza. PHOTO | EMMANUEL HERMAN

Tanzania will not retract its foreign investment-friendly  policies, President Jakaya Kikwete said yesterday, bringing new hope to existing and potential investors who are always keen on the predictability level of the country’s investment policies.

“Our policies are very predictable and we are not contemplating any change,” he told participants to the 9th African Investment Forum.

Citing the abolition of suspended duty for cement imports about three years ago and the recent removal of import duties on sugar, Mr Kikwete said these were temporary measures, initiated to weather the storm of price hikes. 

Tanzania removed completely the suspended duty on imported cement in July, 2008, in a decision that was fuelled by a rise in demand that local producers could not meet. Cement manufacturers have, however, been complaining that the decision left room for massive cement imports, mostly from Pakistan and India which, they allege, adversely affected local producers competitiveness. 

“We reached a point when prices kept going up while our manufacturers failed to meet local demand….we were left with no option but to allow imports so that people could get access to the products…that was a circumstance and has nothing to do with predictability of our policies,” he said at a Forum that was also attended by  Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni.

Rwanda was represented by Prime Minister Bernard Makuza. Also in attendance at the forum, organised by the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) in cooperation with the East African Community (EAC) secretariat and Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) was President of Zanzibar, Dr Ali Mohammed Shein. Hundreds of investors from across the globe and business leaders are also taking part in the two-day Forum that ends today.

President Kikwete asserted that Tanzania’s investment policies were very clear, noting that the country would never go back to the era of Ujamaa (socialism) during which private businesses were nationalised.

“Nationalisation of corporations will never happen again in Tanzania and this is rightly provided for in our laws… we are bound by international covenants and we are ready to face judgement at an international court in case there is an investment dispute,” he stressed.

On seeking  to mobilise investments from Tanzanians in the diaspora, Mr Kikwete said the country has set up a section at the ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation that deals specifically with the diaspora. Besides, he said, senior government officials, including himself, make a number of trips outside the country where the issue is addressed.

“Wherever I go, I never forget to tell them that they should not forget home...but we will also try to learn from Kenya which seems to be doing well in this area,” he said.

On cutting down bureaucracy, President Kikwete said Tanzania’s socialism background was partly to blame for existing red tape in some quarters of government business. However, he said, the problem is bound to end as new blood finds its way into senior public service positions.

“Then, the approach was to strangle capitalism, for to us, it was something evil… unfortunately, some senior government officials are still of that nature…. but with young blood getting into senior government offices, we are on the right path for change,” he said. 

Earlier, Burundian President Nkurunziza, who doubles as the chairman of EAC Heads of State Summit, said the region was in a dire need of investments in agriculture, infrastructure development and energy.
He said economic growth in the region that is home to about 130 million people and which has a combined gross domestic product of about $76 billion, is strangled by a relatively underdeveloped infrastructure and unreliable energy supply.

“We need investment from every corner of the world…. we are a region of very good soils and relatively good rains but agricultural production remains low,” he said.

His Zanzibar counterpart, Dr Shein, echoed the same sentiments, noting that EAC needs investments in almost every sector. “If you ask me my priority areas, I will say we need investments in all sectors…
We need water, infrastructure, education, health and many more… we welcome investments in all these areas,” he said. Several members of the business community who spoke to The Citizen at the Forum advised Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi to make sure that they employ deliberate measures to nurture the growth of local entrepreneurs even as EAC embarks on aggressive marketing of the region to foreign investors.

They also said investment would make sense to wananchi if foreigners partnered with budding local entrepreneurs.

“I think it is high time we had a regional policy that encourages partnerships between East African entrepreneurs and their foreign counterparts,” said Ms Khadija Simba, a Dar es Salaam-based businesswoman.

The meeting proceeds today, alongside a summit of EAC heads of state.

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