12 May 2016

Tanzania: Involve Tanzanians in Driving Country's Economy - Experts

Dar es Salaam — Tanzanians should be empowered to participate fully in economic activities for their country to attain a middle-income status by 2025, analysts have said.

Depending on foreign investors is wrong, they have suggested.

They told BusinessWeek in separate interviews that economic growth of a country is inclusive and the public should be empowered to participate fully in sectors like agriculture, extractive industry and industrialisation.

A University of Dar es Salaam senior lecturer, Prof Haji Semboja, said the process of becoming a middle income country by 2025 should have started in 2000 and the economy would have grown to 10 per cent this year.

"Sixteen years down the lane, our economic growth is still at 7 per cent, meaning that a lot of effort is needed to drive it to between 10 and 12 per cent by 2025," he said.

He called on the government to ensure that Tanzanians are involved in driving the economy instead of depending on foreign investors.

According to him, the government should empower entities like the National Development Corporation, State Mining Corporation, Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation and Tanzania Railways Limited to use own resources, actively engage in production and create employment.

Prof Semboja stressed that the focus should be on agriculture, extractive and industrial sectors to push up growth.

According to him, small-scale farmers should focus on high valued crops like onions which can be sold locally and internationally while large scale-farmers concentrate on maize, tea and more cash crops.

He noted that the country's industrial sector was still underdeveloped despite having more than 50,000 registered entities, but only 5 per cent of them use modern technologies.

On the extractive sector, he urged the government to review laws on licences to empower citizens to participate fully in it.

"The government should ensure there is a 50-50 stake especially taking into consideration that the country owns the minerals while the investors have technologies," he said.

Financial analyst Felix Mlaki said for a country to be middle income its citizens should be earning between $3,000 and $6,000 annually.

He said the amount puts the people in a position where they can cater for a majority of their essential needs.

He noted that while the country is endowed with abundant gas, which is expected to contribute to the national economy but 25 per cent will be going to foreign investors.

??The country still has a long way to reach a middle income country," he said.

Prof Mwesiga Baregu of St Augustine University of Tanzania said it was important for the country to identify sectors that contribute to economic growth.

He said resources from the extractive sector in the last 10 years were not rooted to the general economy.

He noted that the government's industrialisation strategy must stimulate agriculture output and higher levels of employment for Tanzanians to benefit.

He cautions that any growth which does not agriculture or higher levels of employment will not take the country far.


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