Dar es Salaam , Tanzania – The Prime Minister of the U.R.T has directed the Dar Es Salaam port to operate 24hrs to become competitive in the region. Sentiments which were also echoed by the Tanzania President Dr. John P. Magufuli at the 10th Tanzania National Business Council.
The Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) was established under Presidential Circular No. 1 of 2001 providing forum for public and private sector dialogue for change. The purpose of the dialogue is to reach consensus and mutual understanding on strategic issues relating to the efficient management of resources in the promotion of social economic development in Tanzania. The Tanzania National Business Council is the highest platform for dialogue for Public Private Dialogue (PPD) to improve the business environment and investment climate. The dialogue is chaired by the president, and 40 representatives are in attendance half from the private sector, as well as the Attorney General and the Governor from the Central Bank (BOT).
This was the first time for H.E. Dr. John P. Magufuli to chair the council since his inauguration in November 2015, and was welcomed by the business community. Although there had been numerous interactions with the President through visiting foreign business delagations (Turkey, South Africa, Morocco, France). This is the first time the Private sector was able to meet and conduct meaningful dialogue with the President, Ministers and government officials all present in one seating and discuss policy hurdles affecting the business community.
Early in the meeting sentiments of damaged relations between the public and private sector were quickly dispelled by His Excellency. ‘I want everyone to remove the notion from their minds that my government is against the private sector, this couldn’t be further from the truth, my government is actually pro-private sector” assuring the congregation. The business community was led by TPSF Chairman Dr. Reginald Mengi together with TPSF executive Director (Mr. Godfrey Simbeye) and TNBC CEO (Eng. Raymond Mbilinyi), tabled a total of 81 issues before the President from almost every sector.
The most significant impact of the dialogue was directive of the government to operate it’s Dar es Salaam port 24/7 to increase efficiency in clearing cargo, so as to compete with neighboring ports. In light of recent delays which have lead to increased cost in clearing cargo through Dar es Salaam port, businesses from neighboring countries have opted to birth their cargo through Beira (Mozambique) and Mombasa (Kenya). Expected Authorities from the TPA, TRA, TBS & TFDA were told to put measures in place immediately to accommodate the extended working hours.
Ms. Anna Matinde a prominent business woman and founder of Tanzania Saccos for Women entrepreneurs (TASWE-Saccos) voiced a cry among many woman entrepreneurs, that the lack of proper facilities to conduct their business is a challenge. “Mr. president as the government is gearing to reallocate it’s offices to the capital in Dodoma, most of these building will be left empty, I implore you to set space for woman entrepreneurs to conduct their businesses”, of which the President responded positively instructing the Minister of Lands and Housing Development to set aside space for women entrepreneurs in these buildings.
Winding the TNBC, TPSF Executive Director Mr. Simbeye commended the President for chairing his first business council and assuring the business community that the government was willing to work with the private sector to attain. ” Mr. president your efforts by all means are commendable, but in order for the country to attain uniform progress there is a need for more Regional Business Councils (RBCs) and District Business Councils (DBCs)”. According to Mr. Simbeye only a hand full of these councils have conducted dialogue with the Private sector for most part of 2016, making it difficult to address policy issues affecting businesses.