The government unveiled the 2012/13 national budget last week with a number of swift measures introduced to revive the economy.
One of the areas of the 15tri/- budget targets promotion of industrial production of goods from locally sourced raw materials and improve business environment to stimulate economic growth. On top, the government will also focus on power generation and infrastructure development to tame the growing unemployment threat.
According to the budget estimates tabled by the Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Dr William Mgimwa, funds that have been set aside for industrial promotion will help manufacturers who add value to minerals, large cement factories, electronics as well as information and communication technology (ICT).
He said that the government seeks to increase credit to the private sector to 20 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by June 2013 whereby 2.6bn/- would be injected as capital of Tanzania Women's Bank, Economic Empowerment Fund and Small Enterprises Loan Facility (SELF).
Such plans, if well implemented would definitely create thousands of jobs and practically control inflation as a result of high food prices and fuel imports. Various studies show that the country's agricultural sector which employs over 80 per cent of the 40-million-plus population could only make a notable impact on the economy if the industrial sector is promoted fully.
The Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) latest report shows that the manufacturing sector's growth rate slowed down in 2011 to 7.8 from 7.9 per cent the preceding year due to unreliable power supply.
The government has pegged a 15-per cent growth by 2015. Arguably, the country has of late experienced a sharp drop of locally manufactured goods; save for a few industries which are struggling to cope with stiff competition from cheap imported products. The negative trend has discouraged a few loyal Tanzanians who want to set up industries as a result of unfair competition on the ground.
This has created an opportunity for some Asian countries to import raw materials from Tanzania at a give-away price to the disadvantage of poor peasant farmers. For the new plans by the government to turn the country into an industrialised state, all efforts must be taken by all stakeholders to see this is dream fulfilled. The government alone cannot do this.