Dar es Salaam. The government remains optimistic that ongoing initiatives to attract investment being overseen by President Samia Suluhu Hassan will bear positive results and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
This was one of the key messages when the Industry and Trade ministry presented its 2023/24 budget proposals in Parliament yesterday.
Requesting the House to endorse Sh119.018 billion for recurrent and development expenditure, Investment, Industry and Trade minister Ashatu Kijaji said at least 44 memorandums of understanding (MoUs) signed during President Hassan’s visits to France, Belgium, Egypt, United Arab Emirates (UAE), the US and Oman were in various stages of implementation.
“During the visits, the President’s focus has been on attracting investors to Tanzania and explaining what the government has been doing to improve the business climate. Between July 2022 and March 2023, 44 out of the 50 MoUs that were signed during the visits were being implemented. The remaining six are currently being followed up,” Dr Kijaji said.
In February 2022, President Hassan met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, during the Expo Dubai 2020, which took place last year.
She also met with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and following the meetings, the governments and private sectors of the two countries signed 36 MoUs for more than $7.49 billion in investments that are expected to create an estimated 200,000 new jobs in four years.
Following her visit to Egypt in late 2021, President Hassan secured a $3 billion investment from Egypt-based Elsewedy Development Limited, while her April 2022 visit to the US saw various American companies pledging almost $1 billion in investments to Tanzania. More MoUs were signed during her visit to Oman.
Dr Kijaji said the Investment, Industry and Trade ministry will also continue with various initiatives, including the coordination of the Kwala Industrial Cluster in Coast Region, in its efforts to attract 200 factories that will inject $3 billion in investments at the 2,500-acre complex and create a total of 400,000 direct and indirect jobs.
“So far, implementation of the project has reached 30 percent, whereby a company known as Sino-Tan has already cleared the area and started building the main entry point, a service building, police station, as well as roads within the project area,” she said.
The government has also been able to attract foreign capital through several other investment projects.
Dr Kijaji said from July 2022 to March this year, the ministry registered 240 projects, of which 94 were set up by foreign investors, 57 joint ventures while the remaining 89 were initiated by locals.
The total value of the registered projects stood at $4.38 billion.
“The ministry launched five projects in the Special Economic Zones with a value of $15.6 million. These projects are expected to contribute to foreign trade worth $12.46 million and create 1,247 jobs. The projects have invested $11.99 million and so far yielded business worth $17.15 million,” she said.
The ministry promised that it is continuing to assess the status of the public’s participation in the strategic investment and projects, as it prepares for the tabling of national policy.
This will be complemented by the already formulated new Investment Act of 2022. The Government has also vowed to review the regulations on the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Export Processing Zones (EPZs) with the aim of providing recommendations that will reduce investment barriers and improve and enact regulations that will lead to the adoption of the East African Customs Management Act.
This, Dr Kijaji said, will go in hand with the amendments to the Licensing Act and the preparations for the National Export Strategy (NES)
Giving its views on the budget, Parliament’s Industry and Trade Committee advised there the government needs to review some of the existing outdated policies that hinder industrial and trade development.
“The committee encourages formulating policies, strategies, and laws to keep up with current demands in the industrial sector. Additionally, the introduction of new regulations in various areas will give this sector a boost to reach its goals,” said committee chairman David Kihenzile.
He said the committee has also seen the existing challenge of blue economy development as inadequate planning to boost the utilisation of marine resources.
“The committee has noted the factories that have been privatized but have not yet fulfilled their intended purpose, thus failing the nation in terms of privatization. The committee recommends that the government should repossess all the plants that have not been fully privatized and re-advertise them for new owners to be able to operate them and increase their yield, jobs, and revenue,” the committee advised.