Dar Es Salam — Over 50 investors from various countries gathered in Dar es Salaam yesterday to discuss Tanzania's business climate amid reports that recent regulatory changes were unfriendly to businesses.
However, the government maintained that it would continue to regard the private sector as a partner in Tanzania's endeavour to become a semi-industrialised middle-income country by 2025. "In almost every country the private sector is a catalyst for sustainable development. The government acknowledges the contribution of the private sector to the country's economic growth," the Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office (Policy, Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs), Prof Faustine Kamuzora, told participants in a symposium organised by the Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy.
His response followed concern among some participants about tax rates and lack of private sector consultation in implementation of mega development projects.
Elsewhere in Dar es Salaam, investors met at the Second Annual Private Equity in Tanzania conference and discussed ways of financing the country's industrial aspirations. The East Africa Venture Capital Association (EAVCA), which organised the event, said the aim of the conference was to restore Tanzania's status as a preferred investment destination in this part of Africa.
EAVCA executive director Eva Warigia said political and regulatory changes in recent years have projected a negative image of Tanzania to prospective investors.
"We think that information circulated through local and international media has damaged our reputation. We therefore called the investors to show them the reality and possible opportunities for investment," she said.
Ms Warigia added that she was confident that investors' perceptions would change after hearing from local investors and regulatory authorities.
"In any democratic country, political and regulatory shifts are inevitable but truth be told, the Tanzanian government is supportive of the private sector."
According to Ms Warigia, foreign investors are willing to invest in Tanzania, but they are apprehensive following widely circulated reports of policy unpredictability.
An associate analyst with Control Risks Company, Ms Patricia Rodrigues, assured investors that it is less riskier to invest in Tanzania than elsewhere in East Africa.
She attributed this to political stability and strong economic growth.
"I suggest you come and invest in Tanzania due to its history of political stability. Compared to other African nations, the country has no record of civil strife, meaning that it is safe here," Ms Rodrigues added.
She advised investors to pay attention and invest in areas identified by the government in its short and long-term development plans.
CEO Roundtable of Tanzania chairman Sanjay Rughani said potential areas for investment include commercial farming, digital services, oil and gas, transport and logistics and social services.
"I have been working in the private sector in the country for a long time and also attend many public-private dialogues in my capacity as CEOrt chairman and member of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation. I can assure you that the government is supportive enough. Just put your money in the areas I mentioned and you will not regret," said Mr Rughani, who is also chief executive of Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania.