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Investments seen key for job creation

Investments seen key for job creation

Major progress has been made over recent year towards putting into place a general policy environment which is more favourable for private sector expansion and sustainable economic development.

However, apart from attracting massive investments, there have been rather skeptical public perceptions over the benefits which could transform the lives of the poor.

Instead, most people have been complaining that the abundant resources which have drawn hefty foreign investments benefitted investors and a few bureaucrats.

To address the shortcomings, the Minister for Investment and Empowerment in the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr Mary Nagu, said the government was considering ways of attracting small and medium investments which would have trickle down effect in the lives of the people.

“Large and capital intensive ventures at times have less impact on the incomes of the people,” she said during the launch of the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC)–United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Africa Investor Report and Investment Monitoring Platform conducted last year in 19 countries.

However, she blamed absence of reliable and valid information as a threat to the government in setting sector specific strategies as well as incentives that will meaningfully add value to economic growth.  For example, as of March this year more than 7,000 investment projects were registered at TIC with the value exceeding 50,000 million US dollars (about 80bn/-) and expected to create more than 990,000 jobs.

But due to an information gap, it was unclear as to how many had actually taken off and their extent of contribution to the economy.  “There have been difficulties in making informed decisions due to unavailability of pertinent information from the business community, both local and foreign investors,” she said.

While the tax collection has been increasingly recorded in recent year, Dr Nagu added there is lack of concrete evidence as to what extent these have been as a result of the direct contribution of the investments that received government incentives.

Thus, she said, the investors surveys will provide answers to some of the critical questions related to growth and impact of investment as well as comparative and competitive advantages for the country based on the actual data collected from enterprises operating on the ground.

The TIC Acting Executive Director Mr Raymond Mbilinyi said the investors’ survey aimed at identifying Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), Domestic Investment flows, investment challenges and strategies to overcome them as well as assisting local investors to join joint venture.

“About 450 out of 800 firms spotted in the survey’s pilot phase with the hope of active participation in the second round of more than 1,000 companies,” he said. One of the report’s findings shows that Tanzania’s domestic investors surpassed their foreign counterparts investing in high tech in their businesses. Also the report puts the country second after Zambia, as leading exporter in the region.

The UNIDO country representative Mr Emmanuel Kalenzi said the report findings which covered 19 countries, 7,000 domestic and foreign firms will facilitate the respective governments to implement evidence based investment strategies to better respond to real challenges for better attracting new comers.  

“The Investor Monitoring Platform facilitates the participating companies to promote their products, reach international market networks and benchmark themselves against global and  regional players,” he said.

The Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) Chairman Mr Felix Mosha said the government has been receptive in further improving the investment climate but the pace has been slow especially in solving problems related to poor infrastructure, power supply, regulatory frameworks and unfair business regulations.  

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Author: SEBASTIAN MRINDOKO

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