EDITORIAL: Regional investment desks a laudable idea

Tuesday May 14 2019

 

Matters of investment in Tanzania have largely been handled by the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) since it was established in 1997.

TIC is the primary government agency charged with promoting, facilitating, coordinating and otherwise encouraging investments in the country – also advising the government on investment policy, regulatory frameworks and related issues.

The centre is limited in scope to enterprises whose minimum capital investment is $500,000 if foreign-owned, and $100,000 for locally-owned investments.

But, that limitation notwithstanding, TIC is clearly overstretched in its otherwise noble tasks.

Besides, prospective investors outside the centre’s scope in capital size became virtual orphans. This is in the sense that smaller investors were left out of the care of the major, central/national parental investment umbrella. This is especially in terms of regulatory and procedural frameworks, as well as a one-stop facilitator.

But, Tanzanians are an inventive lot, always seeking to go the extra mile.

Witness the recent move by the Arusha regional administration to set up a special investments desk designed to fast-track the processing of investment issues in the region.

The special investments desk facility is “part of wider efforts by the regional administration to routinely attract investors to the region.”

The move is by no means intended to sidetrack – let alone replace – TIC in the investments management stakes; far from it.

Arusha ranked fourth in attracting new investments in 2017 (15 projects) – beaten in that by Dar es Salaam (163 projects), Coast (48) and Mwanza (28).

Analysts believe that the special desk strategy could turn the investment tables in Arusha’s favour. This being so, we earnestly urge other regions to seriously consider taking a leaf out of the Arusha book on this, and we wholeheartedly wish them success.