SMEs policy under review, Minister says

THE government is undertaking a review of policy for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to cope with the existing investment environment in the country.

The Deputy Minister for Investment, Industry and Trade, Mr Exaud Kigae said in a statement that they were in a dialogue to discuss how to continue improving investment relations between Tanzania and the United Kingdom (UK).

The dialogue that was coordinated by the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), also discussed the progress achieved by Tanzania in improving the business and investment environment, as well as identifying the challenging areas that require rapidity to ensure the country attracts more investors.

“In effort to create an enabling environment for investors, the ministry is reviewing various policies including SMEs policy, to ensure they correspond to existing investment needs,” Mr Kigae said.

In the same line, the deputy minister also noted that the government will continue to set specific strategies for the execution of the reviewed policies.

Tanzania SMEs Development Policy was developed in 2003, focusing on competitiveness, upgrading and partnership unit, business, investment and technology.

Regarding the dialogue, Mr Kigae said that the discussion helps his docket to collect opinions from stakeholders in the implementation of the policies being reviewed.

Mr Kigae said that improvement of investment climate in Tanzania has made the country register a total of 132 projects worth 3.16 billion US dollars (more than 7tri/-) in the past five months.

According to him, the recorded value is almost four times the value registered during the same period in the previous year, where the value was 881 million US dollars (about 2.06tri/-).

On behalf of the UK’s government, the British High Commissioner to Tanzania David Concar said he was optimistic that the dialogue will help cement the investment relations between both Tanzania and UK and eventually helps to boost the Tanzania economy.

In order to continue creating friendly environment for investors, the Executive Director of REPOA, Dr Donald Mmari, said it was important to have sectoral policies coordination.

Dr Mmari also highlighted some of the challenges that require to be addressed by the investment stakeholders, including the high taxes which force the SMEs to operate in the informal sectors and the government to lose revenues.

“In sectoral policies coordination issues, you find that the tax policies are not compatible with the policies of agricultural development or tourism development…so those policies must be able to speak the same language and have similar goals,” REPOA CEO emphasised

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