Tanzania business body calls for Chinese investment

MENGI NA WACHINA

TPSF chairman Dr. Reginald Mengi hosting Minister of Industry from he People’s Republic of China Mr. Zhang Mao

“Over the past three years, the government of Tanzania has come up with new programmes and strategies for growth that seek to de-bottle constraints to growth and provide tremendous new investment opportunities,” said TPSF chairman who is also IPP Executive Chairman, Dr Reginald Mengi, flanked by members of the Board of TPSF.

Speaking at a business luncheon he hosted in Dar es Salaam in honour of the visiting Chinese Minister of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, Zhang Mao, Dr Mengi added:

“Tanzania has regulatory framework for protecting investments and therefore we in the private sector are comfortable with the measures, the government has undertaken to raise investor confidence.”

“Tanzania has huge potential to attract Chinese investors who intend to relocate industries outside China,” he said, encouraging Chinese investors to come to Tanzania to form partnerships or joint ventures with the private sector to accelerate cooperation between the two countries.

The TPSF chairman said the government was also addressing bureaucratic procedures that raise the costs of investments and doing business in key sectors.

He said Tanzania has a new regulatory framework for the labour market aimed at addressing the issues of access to land for investment purposes and efforts to improve efficiency in sorting out commercial disputes.

Handling of imports through the ports and overland in the case of transit goods to the eight countries surrounding Tanzania has been tremendously simplified and additional efforts for improvement were an ongoing process, said Dr Mengi.

He said Tanzania was now re-orienting its manufacturing and industrial sectors towards resource-based investment opportunities ranging from the agro-processing to the forestry industry and mineral beneficiation.

Dr Mengi said the China Merchant Port Group has agreed to invest in a new port in Bagamoyo, 60 kilometres from the Dar es Salaam port. The Bagamoyo port is expected to be the largest port in East and Central Africa capable of handling modern ships.

China Merchant Port Group will also construct a mega special economic zone for manufacturing and trading opportunities.

Dr Mengi said these facilities provided a unique base for targeting the existing East African Customs Union and its envisaged expansion into a tripartite common market that brings together the East African Community (EAC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

He said Tanzania felt privileged to be among the first four nations in Africa that have been earmarked in the One Belt One Road Initiative, a blueprint for achieving common development and prosperity, speeding up regional integration and narrowing the development gap.

The initiative is a project initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping with a view to building trade routes between China and the countries in central Asia, Europe, Africa and Indo-Pacific littoral countries.

It is a network of roads, railways, oil pipelines, power grids, ports and other infrastructural projects meant to connect China to the world.

For his part, Zhao and his high level delegation, called for the need to strengthen investment relationships between the two friendly countries.

“We welcome Tanzanian entrepreneurs to come to China to invest. The Chinese market economy is developing well, and we are treating both domestic and international businesses equally,” he said.

Zhao said China recorded a 6.7 per cent gross domestic product in 2017, adding that the GDP for 2018 will remain stable.

Zhao said China was undergoing market reforms opening doors for creation of private-owned enterprises that created jobs for 13 million people annually.

He said most of the newly established enterprises were small and medium sized producing high quality goods.

“Most of the Chinese enterprises were initially owned by the government but now private-owned enterprises are spreading across the world,” said Zhao.

The Chinese minister said although China was the second biggest economy in the world, yet it was still a developing country.

However, Zhao said despite the huge economic gains, the majority of Chinese in remote rural areas were poor. “The focus of the government is to improve their livelihoods,” he added.

Dhruv Jog, a member of the board of TPSF representing private construction and engineering firms, expressed concern saying Chinese construction companies were squeezing out of business locally owned firms.

Jog, who is also the managing director of Advent Construction Limited, said the relationship between the Chinese and local construction firms was not reflected in the good relationship enjoyed between the two countries.

“We need help to grow in the construction industry. We cannot compete with the mighty Chinese construction firms. We need their support instead of competing with us,” said Jog.

In his response, Zhao said the Chinese government avoided monopoly and created a fair competitive environment.

Courtesy: The Guradian 07/02/2018

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