THE private sector has a key role to play in ensuring that targets set under Big Results Now in the port subsector are realized.
President's Delivery Bureau (PDB) Chief Executive Officer, Omari Issa described as unfortunate last week's omission of key private sector leaders at the port subsector BRN meeting organized by Tanzania Ports Authority and Trade Mark East Africa.
"It's unfortunate but people should not be discouraged by this and instead take it as a challenge and move on," Mr Issa said pointing out that in the past he heard that a similar omission of key private sector players happened.
He urged the private sector to play a leading role in ensuring that performance at Dar es Salaam port improves within the next two years.
"We should learn to tolerate each other, this is a new beginning and people are going through a learning process," Issa who was until earlier this year CEO of Investment Climate Facility (ICF), said. Frustrated by bureaucracy and bigotry, Issa relocated an important project to digitized cargo clearance at Dar es Salaam port to Senegalese port of Dakar in West Africa.
"We should refrain from a culture of complaining and blaming and instead engage in constructive criticism," the PDB chief noted. Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA) President Steven Ngatunga, Tanzania Shipping Agents Association (TASAA) Chairman, Emmanuel Mallya and Tanzania Shippers Council (TSC) Chairman, Daniel Mchome were not invited to the port subsector meeting which raised some eyebrows.
"In fact I was informed by someone who is in London about the meeting," said Mr Ngatunga who also collects bulk of import duty as an agent of Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) at Dar port. He said it is a big mistake to undermine the importance of the private sector in ensuring that BRN for the port subsector succeeds.
"This is not about politics, it's business and we are key players in this business," a vividly annoyed Ngatunga noted. Mr Mallya said sidelining the private sector in such an important meeting could frustrate the implementation process. "It's a pity that some people in the public sector still think that the private sector is not important when it comes to implementing BRN at the port," Mallya noted.
He said while Inland Container Depot of Tanzania (CDAT) Chairman, Ashraf Khan had been chairing the BRN steering committee, TASAA was acting as secretariat. "I think some officials at TPA (Tanzania Ports Authority) were afraid of inviting us because recently we have had disagreements over introduction of ECTN system," said Mr Mchome who however pointed out that disagreements should better be dealt with at meetings of stakeholders.
Private sector leaders have uniformly opposed attempts by TPA management to introduce an Electronic Cargo Tracking Note (ETCN) system effective September 1, this year without proper consultation saying the Belgian company picked for the job was not competitively chosen.
TPA has however put on hold the decision to introduce the ETCN this month till further notice according to a notice posted on the company's website.