Private Sector seen as key stakeholder in Tanzania’s industrialization Aspirations

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Simiyu Regional Commissioner Hon. Anthony Mtaka speaking at the workshop

The Local Private Sector wants the government to consult the private sector in the planning and implementation of socio-economic development policies. The Private Sector is an integral stakeholder for the development of the country and the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) is expected to be the vehicle, to work to alleviate challenges hindering business prosperity in the country.

Economic Social Research Foundation (ESRF) organized a workshop last week to consult the Private Sector on the effective implementation strategy for the second Five Year Development Plan (FYDP II). The government in June 2016 presented the second Five Year Development Plan 2016/17 – 2020/21 (FYDP II) which is expected to be the catalyst for further industrialization in the country. In order to implement the FYDP II, the government is also in the process of developing an implementation strategy, expected later on in July 2017.

The Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) during the engagement with Private Sector stakeholders, reveled 3 priority sectors in the FYDP II which Tanzania is seen as having either competitive or comparative advantage. The Identified industries were textiles and clothing, leather, pharmaceutical industries, however these sectors are still with challenges. Among the major challenges seen are poor agronomic practices, job skill set, erratic power supply, and prohibitive tax structure (on one hand discouraging local production and on the other, encouraging imports). Proposed means mitigating these challenges also was an integral part of the discussions, which proposed interventions by raising profitability of specified agro-crop, diversification of markets, clear adoption of modality and alternative sources of funding but to mention a few.

Speaking at the workshop Prof. Samuel Wangwe, Principal Research Associate at ESRF told invited stakeholders ” Besides all these challenges mentioned in the identified priority sectors, there is also a need for the Government and Private Sector to clearly identify which link in the value chain inputs should be allocated”. Prior to the planning initiatives there had been minimal consultation with Private Sector on the industrialization road map for the country. This has led to differences in perspectives between the Government and the Private Sector on how to implement industrialization in Tanzania. Contributing at the workshop Mr. Louis Accaro Director of membership services at Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) iterated that “Unfortunately consultation with the Private Sector was minimal in the planning process, which has led to the oversight key areas which could have laid the foundation work for the industrialization initiative”. “Areas like proper institutions to coordinate efforts to streamline industrialization drive, and financial institutions such as investment banks to support the drive as well” he added.

Tanzania since independence in 1961 has struggled to make Tanzania an industrialized country and develop its local industries. A task which has experienced mild and mixed success, and seen industries start-up and close shop. Efforts to revive these industries have since been ongoing but minimal success. Under leadership of H.E President Dr. John Pombe Magufuli these aspirations could soon become a reality. His Government has placed industrialization at the fore front of its socio-economic development agenda.

Some signs are encouraging as the industrialization drive has also begun seeing pockets of success within certain areas of the country. A good example is Simuyu region which brought together dairy farmers who were experiencing lack of markets. Through coordinated efforts milk producers are now able to collectively sell their milk which is processed and packaged under the MEATU milk brand which is available to every consumer through supermarkets and selected outlets in Tanzania. This initiative was started, coordinated and implemented by the Simiyu Regional Commissioner Hon. Anthony Mtaka and associates. Speaking at the workshop the Simiyu Regional Commissioner implored the Private Sector and ESRF to continue efforts aimed at industrializing Tanzania and engage with top ranking decision making officials in the government to yield fast results. ” If you have an idea you can also bring it to me and I can easily escalate the matter to the respective officials, I want to see the private sector growing in our Country” he emphasized.

Should Tanzania realize it’s ambition of being an Semi-industrialized nation by 2025 this would lead to accelerated Economic growth in terms of poverty reduction and job creation especially for the youth and women.

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