The government has cautioned Tabora regional authorities to handle prospective investors with care and avoid swaying them away with
corruption and time wasting bureaucracy practices. The Minister for Industries and Trade, Dr Abdadallah Kigoda, sounded the warning at the closing of Tabora Regional Investment Forum in Dar es Salaam at the weekend. “Investors hate red tape bureaucracy and time wasting practices because to them time is money and if you want to scare them for good start exhorting their resources through corruption,” he stated.
He said the Tabora authorities had identified all potential investment areas and had also shown serious measures taken by the government to
reduce the cost of doing business and putting in place a favourable investment climate. “There is need to be serious and implement all that you have promised to investors in practical terms and that the central government is ready to work with serious investors in Tabora,” he noted.
“We know that for this investment forum to bear intended fruit we cannot deal with speculators, hence the need for due diligence and this is possible to attain the intended objectives of revamping the economy of Tabora,” he said. Various personalities presented papers at the first of its kind investment forum in Tabora, including Richard Sinamtwa, the Group Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs of Tanzania Leaf Tobacco Company (TLTC), Godfrey Simbeye, the Executive Director of Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Moremi Marwa, the Chief Executive Officer of Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange, all who aimed at wooing investors to the western Tanzania region with a population of 2.5
million people. TLTC’s Richard Sinamtwa said Tabora Region had about 45,000 farmers who produced over 60 million kilogrammes of tobacco, which was
processed and value-added within Tanzania and exported abroad. Sinamtwa, whose company has invested heavily in Tabora, said apart from tobacco, which is the backbone of their economy, farmers also produced large quantities of beans and peas, maize, cassava, potatoes, groundnuts, sesame seed, sunflower, rice, mangoes and honey.
“This shows the potential for investment in such crops. The current challenge is lack of a value chain to support these opportunities
because there is insufficient value-addition in agro-processing in the region,” he said. He named opportunities linked to agriculture in the region as canning of beans and peas, silos and maize mills for processing maize flour, processing and trading in cassava flour, processing of potatoes into
chips and crisps and converting groundnuts into peanut butter and chocolates. He cited other agro-processing opportunities as pressing of sesame and
sunflower seed into oil, rice mills and related packaging machinery, juice processing factories for mangoes and other fruits, ranches,
modern abattoirs and meat processing and canning factories, tanneries as well as high tech honey production and processing facilities.
He mentioned other investment opportunities apart from agriculture as supportive government, strategic position, largest region with
expansive land, fast growing local economy, improving infrastructure and growing banking facilities.
According to Sinamtwa whose company has been operating in the region for many years, other qualities were strong agricultural production,
strong educated labour pool, rich rural areas and family revenues among the highest in Tanzania, tourism and cultural opportunities.
For his part, Tanzania Private Sector Foundation Executive Director Godfrey Simbeye said Tanzania’s five-year development plan focused on
reaching a 10-per cent growth rate by 2015/16, including promoting a conducive business environment by the government meeting and dialoguing with private sector at all levels.
“We appreciate the recent changes that have seen us meeting and exchanging our challenges with the government at national, regional
and district levels, including how best to improve the business environment and reducing the cost of doing business in the country,”
He commended the government’s initiative of Big Results now, saying it was the right decision for changing the culture of doing things
especially by working with the private sector. “Let us invest in Tabora as a transport hub for Central Africa,” he said.
Marwa advised business enterprises including small, medium sized and corporates to use the Stock Exchange for raising capital, adding that DSE has better terms for businesses financing, both for issuers of capital and for prospective investors in Tabora.
“Even Municipalities can make use of the DSE for raising funds to finance their social and physical infrastructure such as roads, schools, markets, storage facilities, health centres, etc. This can be done through general obligations of the municipal revenues or secured by specified revenues (SPV), he noted. The forum was opened by Vice President, Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal.