TANZANIA’S industrial sector has evolved through various stages since independence, from nascent and undiversified to state-led import substitution industrialisation, and subsequently to deindustrialisation under structural adjustment programmes and policy reforms.
The current development agenda, however, has brought industrial development on top of development agenda aiming at reaching to a middle-income, semi-industrial economy by 2025.
It is because of the new focus on industrialisation, Tanzania is witnessing an upsurge in investments for local manufacturing sector which dominates industrial activity in Tanzania when measured by the number of industrial establishments and employment.
Available figures show the manufacturing sector grew at 7.1 per cent in 2017 and recorded a growth of 4.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to 5.3 per cent in the similar quarter of the year 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) figures.
The growth of industrialisation plays vital role to boost growth and development of countries by boosting the national economy through production quantity and quality of goods manufactured, stimulates progress of other sectors and provides employment opportunities in small- and large-scale industries.
It is against that backdrop we find President John Magufuli directive to the government to use locally produced pipes in multibillion water projects came at the most opportune time when we are striving to increase investments in the manufacturing sector.
It is important that we adopt policies to protect developing domestic industries from established foreign competitors and supporting local producers to gain from the on-going multi-billion water projects and many others expected to commence in the near future, cannot be overemphasized.
However, these local producers cannot afford to be complacent when the government makes efforts to support them.
Their products must meet quality standards and they should offer competitive prices.
As President Magufuli said, government measures to protect them may become counterproductive if they produce low quality products or charge higher prices than that of imports of similar products.
We expect the local manufacturers to take advantage of the government policies to support them by producing high quality products and provide competitive prices because, surely, there is no point of taking low quality or a high priced simply because it is locally made.