15 November 2017

Tanzania: Private Sector Shot Self On Foot

Dodoma — POOR performance record coupled with a long history of complications by the private sector in some development projects have forced the government to invest and execute its infrastructural ventures.

Responding to a proposal put forward by parliamentarians when debating the 2018 fiscal budget of 32.47trn/- and the proposed National Development Plan in the National Assembly, here yesterday, Finance and Planning Minister, Dr Philip Mpango remarked.

He insisted that the government would continue with prudential borrowing to effect its development projects as the private sector was not applying the 'friend in need is a friend in deed' approach.

"It is not that the government does not want to engage the private sector in its development projects; we know it is an engine for the economic growth, but we have bad experience and all of you are witnesses," said Dr Mpango.

He said the government would keep on borrowing so long as the national debt is stable, to improve the local economy capacity and implement some of the development projects of key interest.

Dr Mpango said the government would use its own resources in the purchase of airplanes, construction of the standard gauge railway (SRG) as well as Stigler's Gorge electricity project, not forgetting revamping its ailing parastatals.

"You all know what happened until we had to intervene to what the private s e c t o r and inv e s t o r s did to Tanzania Railway Corporation, Tanzania Telecommunication Company and Air Tanzania to mention a few", he said amid applause from Members of Parliament.

Moreover, he said, the private sector did not come on time when needed and when they do so, they put on the table a complicated offer,thus the government decided to fit in its shoes and run the projects on its own.

He said such challenges brought by the private sector made the government to look into possibilities of running some of its projects, which he said has positive results, citing that in more than a decade, the government is set to get a 1bn/- dividend from TTCL.

Dr Mpango said they value the Public Private Partnership (PPP) and whenever there are opportunities, they will do so based on the merit of the project for national interest.

"We value the private sector, but they should be measured on their willingness and commitment; the government has been there, but the challenges we encountered, made us to think twice," said Dr Mpango.

He said in the next national development budget, focus will be in the agricultural sector, availability of reliable water and tapping the natural gas resource opportunities, now the focus is on the industrial economy. Dr Mpango said that they would also manage the population as well as improve the economy.

He assured the National Assembly that he would work on their proposal so that when he tables the National Development Plan next year, it will accommodate majority of their opinions.

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