Dar es Salaam. Tanzania should immediately address challenges highlighted in recent reports on the investment climate and ease of doing business, stakeholders have advised.
Reports released recently by the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), the World Bank and the European Union (EU) have identified areas that should be reformed if the country expects to improve the business environment and attract more investment inflows. Poor infrastructure, unpredictable policies, taxation, institutional constraints, corruption, inadequate skilled labour, non-trade barriers and contract enforcement and immigration issues have been cited as areas of particular concern.
Stakeholders told The Citizen yesterday that the government had plenty to do, adding that the reports could be a starting point.
TPSF Executive Secretary Godfrey Simbeye said the three documents had more or less raised the same concerns, which was an indication that something was wrong somewhere.
“The TPSF has highlighted several issues hindering business, and so has the World Bank. The EU has today pointed out similar challenges. It shows that these are genuine concerns which need to be addressed if Tanzania is really committed to alleviating poverty,” he added.
Mr Simbeye said the country could alleviate poverty through job creation and value addition by small-scale farmers, adding that attracting foreign investment was also key towards attaining this goal.
“TPSF believes that the importance of attracting steady investment inflows cannot be over-emphasized. Laws, regulations and procedures governing business also need to be looked into.”
Speaking after unveiling a report on European investment in Tanzania, the EU ambassador, Mr Roeland van de Geer, said investors, development partners and other stakeholders should engage in dialogue on opportunities and challenges of doing business in the country.
The country should diversify its products and business to ensure it to also exploited markets outside the EU, including the US and Asian countries, he added.
Mr van de Geer urged the private sector to play a greater role in investment, saying it was difficult to attract foreign investment if the local business community’s involvement was minimal.
The envoy also called for improvement of skills development to ensure that the country had a competent workforce.
Another issue of great importance is peace and security in the Great Lakes region.
“Tanzania, the East African Community and the EU are working closely to promote peace and security in the Great Lakes region. Peace and security in Burundi, the DRC and South Sudan could have a positive impact on the business environment in Tanzania.”
Mr van de Geer added that the European Commission last month presented the European External Investment Plan (EEIP), which was aimed at promoting investment in Africa.
The plan seeks to strengthen partnership between Africa and the EU and create a new model that would give the private sector a greater role in development cooperation, thus contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Instruments contained in the plan will be accessible to investors, development partners and the government in order to ensure that Tanzania benefits,” Mr van de Geer said.
A researcher with Research on Poverty Alleviation (Repoa), Ms Blandina Kilama, said the EU report called for significant investment in transport infrastructure, supply of safe and clean water and generation of reliable and affordable electricity.