Dodoma — THE National Assembly on Friday ratified the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Finance and Investment which is expected to achieve even economic and investment growth in the region.
Earlier, while presenting the matter, Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr Mwigulu Nchemba, told the House that ratification of the protocol was crucial to ensuring that Tanzania benefitted equally from economic and investment opportunities available in the region.
"Although the protocol was signed in 2006 by SADC heads of state in Lesotho, Tanzania was unable to participate in matters related to business and investment opportunities available in the region, including capital markets such as stock ex-changes, before we were yet to ratify it," he said.
He pointed out that the SADC treaty required member states to participate fully in all the resolutions made by the Community and ensure that all protocols were ratified.
He noted that the protocol's target was to put in place a conducive environment on finance and investment policies for member countries in a bid to go well will SADC objectives including free movement of capital, commodities, human resource and services.
Mr Nchemba said the protocol was also in line with the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan which directs member countries to enter into a Free Trade Area by 2008, a Customs Union by 2010, a Common Market by 2015, a Monetary Union by 2016 and, finally, a Single Currency by 2018.
Before ratification of the protocol, Tanzania was unable to take part in decision at all meetings that involved finance and investment matters, according to the deputy minister. The SADC Protocol on Finance and Investment was signed by 14 heads of state on August 18, 2006.
President Jakaya Kikwete was among SADC leaders who appended signatures to the protocol. The opposition in the National Assembly wondered why it took so long for Tanzania to ratify the protocol, adding that if the ratification was in good faith and for the country's economic development it had no objection.
Presenting the opposition's views, Ms Christina Lissu (Special Seats-Chadema) said issues likely to relate to foul play during the protocol's implementation in the member countries should be identified.
She noted that there were provisions in the protocol which needed to be keenly observed if the country desired to benefit from available financial and investment opportunities in the bloc.