HE grasped and worked on what President John Magufuli meant when spoke to the Turkey- Tanzania business community in Dar es Salaam recently.
When President Magufuli told the business people from both countries that they should exchange contacts so that each of them comes up with at least one business idea at the end of the forum, Dar es Salaam-based business person, Mr Okelo Mponda, found it useful for the growth of his business.
“I was among the invitees in the Tanzania-Turkey Trade Forum which I can now see a bright future for my business after exchanging contacts with Turkey business people,” he says. The forum was held as part of activities arranged during the visit by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Dr Magufuli expressed optimism that given the link between the Tanzania’s businesspeople and their Turkish counterparts, the trade volume between the two countries would probably grow to one billion dollars from the current 190 million US dollars (about 400bn/-), in the next few years.
Mr Mponda, who owns a company called Wino Works Limited based in Dar es Salaam, now has started cementing business relations with his Turkish counterparts after exchanging contacts with them at the forum. His company operates over 20 garages in the city and he looks forward to have a big modern garage as results of partnering with the Serin Treyler Cooperation, a Turkish company.
“I have maintained a regular contact with them and we have planned to establish a joint stateof- the art mechanical workshop in the country which will consist of small industries to produce minor spare parts,” he says.Recently, the Turkish company wrote to Mr Mponda, asking him to write a business proposal over his idea to partner for investing on a big mechanical workshop.
“I am now preparing the proposal to send it to them for further steps as I look forward to venture into such investment in the next five years,” he said. Initially, the managers of Turkish company proposed that they make partnership for them to import in the country the spare parts through Wino Works Limited.
“I rejected their recommendation and I told them that spare parts was no longer a problem to my company but what I need is partnership for investment in the country for us to manufacture spares,” he said.
His stance against suggestion by the Turkish investors could probably win heart of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni who recently took swipe against the local businesspeople who only think of importing goods in the country instead of investing in the manufacturing sector.
“If I recall what I read at the University, those who invest in the country would be what we used to call the impact of national bourgeois,” meaning these are capitalists who are good for the country because you are adding to the wealth of the country, this is different from another type of capitalist, we call a comprador bourgeois …the ones who are importing from outside,” President Museveni says. Mr Museveni argues that capitalists who only import are turning the countries into markets, they are agent-capitalists, and in Uganda they have a lot of those.
As Mr Mponda paints picture on how he wants his company to be in the next five years, he also recalls how it started and walked on a bumpy path. It all started when he thought of abandoning employment at the CMC automobiles Limited and going to initiate his own garage because by then he had already built a big network of customers while at the CMC.
“I sold my plot so that I get money to start my own company. It was not easy as my family could not agree with this decision,” he says. The WINO WORKS Limited then officially came to life in 1998 and slowly gained popularity among the private and government institutions that were bringing their vehicles for maintenance to the company.
“Since then, I have been getting high demand from the customers, thus I feel that it is now high time for me to partner with other investors to set up international garage,” he says. He believes that the international garage he plans to construct would also play a role of vocational training hub for the youth in the country.
He advises the government to open more vocational training centres, sounding the importance of technicians in supporting the engineers and increasing employment among the youth.
Mr Mponda further says he in collaboration with fellow garage owners plan to establish their association which would lead to improvement in the sector, including getting rid of mushrooming informal garages that endanger environment in the cities. He appealed to the regional authority to set aside vast land in their areas specifically for garages and put in place stringent measures against the informal garages.