Dar es Salaam. The chairman of Infotech Investment Group Ltd, Mr Ali Mufuruki, has hailed the Top 100 Midsized Companies Survey and its related award for building the capacity of midsized companies. The initiative has empowered and enabled companies to have audited accounts and leadership structures that are considered vital for sustainability.
Indeed, Mr Mufuruki proposes that the good work should be extended to all companies in the region, especially those which are led by women and the youth, as well as firms that are involved in digital and innovative activities.
Mufuruki – who officiated the first ever event for Tanzania in 2011 – said the decision that led to the Top 100 Mid-sized Companies Awards came at an opportune time, making it possible to recognise and uplift small and medium sized companies and their contributions to the country’s economy.
“Before ‘Top-100’ was initiated in 2011, a majority of the companies that were given recognition were mostly foreign-owned – thus forgetting the contribution of small and mid-sized local firms to Tanzania’s economy, including their role in creating employment,” Mr Mufuruki said.
According to him, despite their low capacity, the contribution of local companies to the economy was vital – and it was through such recognition that they became better-placed.
Explaining the role of the Top 100 Mid-sized Companies Award, he said its recognition helped the companies – especially those still at the nascent stage – understand the importance of keeping proper business records.
According to him, this was done through the requirement that they must submit audited accounts of their businesses for the past three years before they could be allowed to participate in the competition.
Mr Mufuruki stressed that the procedure was vital for building the capacity of companies, which had no tradition of keeping audited accounts – and also avoided making their accounts public, fearing that people would query their huge funds despite their small size and vice versa. Such companies also feared that the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) would know of their real business income and, therefore, come knocking on their doors for due taxes.
Mr Mufuruki noted that due to the bad business practices, companies that participated in the first year of the event were very few. However, in due course, the numbers grew after the companies understood the concepts involved and benefits of the event.
“’Top 100’ helped to identify companies that were afraid of going public with their accounts and, therefore, shied away from participating,” he said.
He further noted that the Top-100 Award ensures that companies routinely publish their accounts, thus resulting in increased transparency – and tax compliance, which is vital for the country’s socio-economic prosperity.
Noting that “the small and midsized companies were given room to graduate and grow,” Mr Mufuruki said working through the award, the government, general public and business community, as well as the mass media, were all able to get together with the common goal of promoting midsized companies.
Revealing that he attended the 2016 Top-100 Awards ceremony, Mr Mufuruki lamented the small number of companies that participated in the event that year.
This is especially considering that Tanzania had at least 100,000 companies that were registered at the Business Registration and Licensing Agency (Brela). Only 1,000 firms took part in the 2016 Top-100 Survey.
In that regard, he said, there was a real need to broaden the exercise by encouraging companies doing business in the regions to participate – including especially companies which are led by women and youths, as well as companies in the digital, innovation and creative stakes.
This is considered vital – especially as large companies already have their own platform, are already widely recognized, and with most of them participating as sponsors of the Survey.