PRESIDENT John Magufuli met members of the business community on 7th of this month and five days after the government announced plans to scrap 54 nuisance levies imposed on investors by regulatory agencies in its budget proposals for 2019/2020 financial year.
This is a clear message to the business community that the government is committed to carry out wide-ranging reforms to improve the business and investment climate as recommended in the blueprint for regulatory reforms which has identified areas of concerns to domestic and foreign investors.
The Minister for Finance, Dr Philip Mpango had also stated that implementation of the blueprint for regulatory reforms would be among the priorities of the government.
The government has already prepared an action plan for implementation of the reforms and in fact it has already begun with low hanging fruits which include creation of a portfolio for investment and appointment of a minister in the Prime Minister’s office to oversee matters pertaining to investment.
The government is cracking down on corruption and the results are obvious that it is becoming a thing of the past in most public offices.
It has also significantly improved public sector service delivery through public sector reforms in local authorities and central government which in general have had many positive results despite a few challenges.
It is focused on wide-ranging measures beyond the scope of the reforms as suggested in the blueprint.
We see that it is investing heavily on development of energy and transport infrastructure including construction of a standard gauge railway to link landlocked countries of Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo with Dar es Salaam port, and 2,100-MW Stiegler’s Gorge hydro-electricity project.
The government is also carrying out major improvements in Dar es Salaam and Tanga, and Mtwara ports to make optimal use of its great potential to make Tanzania a transport hub and the main gateway for East and Central African countries.
It has also made tremendous efforts in reviving the national airline, Air Tanzania Company Limited through fleet modernisation and that has improved air transport services in the country.
All these measures are important in improving domestic and regional trade and making the country more attractive for investments.
However, to some quarters, it seems the measures are not good enough and claims for distrust between the government and the private sector linger.
We feel they are too stringent in their opinion and fail to appreciate what is being done to improve the situation. It is in our views that such blanket accusations will not work.
The government is playing its part; they need to play theirs too in terms of their rights and obligations as investors for mutual benefit.
It takes two to tangle as the old adage says and so applies in rebuilding trust between the government and the private sector.