TANZANIA manufacturers are concerned about the slow pace in implementing business reforms recommended under the blueprint for regulatory reforms to improve business environment launched last year.
The Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) Chairman, Subash Patel told the ‘ Daily News’ in an interview over the weekend that they could not compete in the East African region because of high costs of doing business due to a number of policy and business challenges identified in the blueprint.
“There is no implementation of the blueprint. We need action now,” said Mr Patel who is also the founder of the Motisun Group, a business conglomerate in Tanzania.
The CTI chairman said manufacturers were struggling with high imports cost at the Dar es Salaam port and various business regulatory challenges that are increasing the cost of doing business and making them uncompetitive in the East African region.
The government should take drastic measures to reduce the cost of doing business in Tanzania so as to improve business climate and competitiveness, he said.
The CTI Chairman said they see little has been done and the challenges identified in the blueprint continue to inflate the cost of doing business which is passed on to the consumers in terms of higher prices of products.
“The cost of doing business in Tanzania is higher than any other country in the region. Y ou have very high port charges. We face excessive bureaucracy in some offices of regulatory agencies which is encouraging corruption.
Mr Patel said they were also grappling with challenges brought about by the multiplicity of regulatory bodies and cumbersome licencing procedures for products which create rent seeking opportunities for corrupt bureaucrats.
“We have to go to TBS (Tanzania Bureau of Standards), TFDA, (Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Authority).
We have so many regulatory and non-regulatory inspections and duplication of regulations, processes and taxes,” he said. The CTI boss said President John Magufuli had expressed strong commitment to deal with the challenges that undermine the business environment but he is let down by some government officers who cannot match his pace in dealing with the challenges.
“The President (John Magufuli) has clear intention and strong commitment in dealing with these issues but it seems he is let down by some of his lieutenants.
Otherwise you can’t explain why implementation of some of things takes so long,” he said. Tanzania’s manufacturing sector, among the fastest growing in Africa, is the third most important to the economy behind agriculture and tourism.
The sector combined with construction activities accounted for 26.4 per cent of the total economy in 2017 up from 24.9 per cent in 2016, according to official statistics.
However, the sector is struggling with a number of policy and regulatory problems that compound the challenges of doing business in Tanzania.
To respond to the challenges, the government launched a blueprint for regulatory reforms last year to improve business environment. The blueprint was expected to provide the main framework for a holistic review of the business environment in order to improve the business climate in Tanzania.
The ministry of Industry and Trade launched a business clinic to identify challenges impeding business growth and provide their short and longterm solutions after the blueprint was approved by cabinet.