Dar es Salaam. Investment minister Kitila Mkumbo bolstered the government’s charm offensive approach to attracting investments when he issued six directives to the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC).
President John Magufuli moved the Investments docket from the Prime Minister’s Office to the President’s Office as part of the changes for his second five-year presidential term in a deliberate move to boost investment.
True to that goal, Prof Mkumbo directed TIC officials yesterday to ensure that they treat investors as partners. He told TIC to work out a plan that would help to change the perception of considering incentives as leakage of revenue but, rather, investment whose impact will be felt in years to come.
Other measures are strengthening coordination and relationships with other investment regulatory bodies; firming up the one-stop centre and preparing the right investment information – and ready before March,next year.
Also the list includes registering middlemen and linking investors to the government, with a view to making more information available to prevent scams.
Speaking at his first meeting with the TIC staff since his appointment as a minister, Prof Mkumbo said public servants need to not to frustrate investors but rather create an enabling environment for investments.
“The role of officials in authority is to facilitate investors. Investors need not to be treated as people in need, but rather important people who come to pay tax and create employment,” he said.
For this to happen, Prof Mkumbo directed TIC to strengthen its relations with other regulatory bodies by sitting with them consistently to discuss on how to address bottlenecks to investments.
He said it was the TIC’s role to convince other business regulatory bodies that their role is to facilitate investments and not frustrate investors.
“There is a need to rethink regulatory procedures. We need to set a stage for a friendly environment that will allow investors to concentrate on production rather than dealing with multiple regulators,” he said.
Elaborating, he said “investors are crying foul over how to deal with multiple regulatory bodies. We can cut bureaucracy by having in place a strong one stop centre that will bring together all regulators.”
Prof Mkumbo expressed the government’s commitment to come up with laws and policies which are friendly and predictable, a move meant to win investor confidence.
“The private sector and government need to cooperate, trust each other, listen to each other and respect each other because they depend on each other,” he said.
While the government depended on the private sector as the engine of the country’s economy, the later depends on the former for it to operate in a conducive business environment.
Prof Mkumbo challenged TIC to have in place the right investment information that would enable investors to make decisions on where to invest their money.
“I have been receiving calls from foreign investors who are willing to come and invest in the country. This suggests that there is not enough information about investments,” he said.
“We need to be aggressive in what we tell the world about the country so that we do not scare away investors.”
He instructed TIC to formalise middlemen linking foreign investors to the government, a move meant to market the country’s opportunities for investments as well as avoid scams.
Delivering his inaugural speech in the 12th Parliament on November 13, 2020, President Magufuli advocated the need of having good and predictable legal, policy and regulatory frameworks; good quantity and quality of hard and soft infrastructure; adequate talents, hard and soft skills in the labour market, and friendly fiscal space.
The focus has been on attracting investments.
“We need to also focus on retaining investments that have been attracted so as to avoid flagging out for whatever reason,” said Dr Magufuli.
In another development, a dialogue meeting bringing together private sector players and government officials in Dar es Salaam flopped last week when the city’s regional commissioner abruptly called it off over unsatisfactory inputs from public sector players.
Mr Abubakar Kunenge said he was not satisfied with the preparations by officers representing the government at the meeting to iron out issues that hinder businesses from thriving.