News given late last week indicated that the Tanzanian delegation to an East African ministerial council meeting had refused or failed to sign on documents propelling the five member states of the East
African Community towards further steps engaged to reach the goal of East African Federation in the foreseeable future.
It is a goal that many commentators in the country had placed at some 20 year hypothetical realization from the time that President Jakaya Kikwete set up the Wangwe Commission to sound public opinion on the matter, in 2007.
For many commentators it was entirely appropriate and sufficient to leave the matter until 20 years from now (more or less), taking no account that other member states want action to proceed, effectively.
That is the situation now reached, where Tanzania was entirely alone in refusing to sign documents which link land (right of establishment) as well as defence and security (implying common constitutional and internal security apparatuses), in like manner as is also the case in the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Without loyalty of armed forces
no political fusion is worth the ink it is written upon, and at the same time without the right of establishment (which incidentallyZanzibar is still denying to those from the Mainland who try to settlethere) a political union is only so in name. This is what the earlierEAC lacked, that it did not have the sort of grassroots fusion (right of establishment) and institutional (federation, defence and security) so it collapsed.
Accepting the breadth of institutional structures envisaged in the East African cooperation agenda, namely the customs union protocol followed by the common market (where right of establishment and thus ability to purchase land in like manner as citizens arises) is also the premise on which other issues are hinged. One is signing a treaty of cooperation with the European Union known as an Economic
Partnership Agreement, which also requires an extension of such rights to people from the EU, as part of reciprocal free trade (or free passage of goods) and opening up of industry and services (right of establishment of foreign capital locally, as it were). In other words
Tanzania will find it difficult to hide from demands of both East African Cooperation and European Union economic partnership accords, as in the final analysis it is a program of good governance that it implies.
At the same time we carry in this issue remarks by the Ruvuma regional commissioner Said Mwambungu who has recently declared that in a bid to improve the regional economy, the region has started a major campaign to enable investors to invest in sugar and tobacco processing.
One of the region’s plans is to get investors to open closed factors including a sugar and tobacco factory, where he said since the regional cooperative union (SAMCU) died ten years ago, the government has failed to revive the tobacco factory.
Regional authorities have started talks with Morogoro based Daimon Co. to revive the idle factory.
Insisting that preliminary talks between the regional authorities and potential investors had already started, the RC laid great emphasis on the need to improve the regional economy “because people are always thinking that Ruvuma is not a good place to stay or do business.
” We wish to add that this is the overall picture with which Tanzania is associated, at any rate since the middle years of the third phase, with botched, intentionally ambiguous, furtive privatization exercises. In addition, neither the RC nor other administrators countrywide working day and night to improve job opportunities in their regions realize what the key link is, namely ceding control of land on long leasehold or freehold basis so that it can be accepted as bank collateral for credit.
Only when an investor obtains land in a particular area and obtains credit on the basis of such land is it likely that the specific development project will take place in that area and become durable and sustainable, not when such projects are marketed in a tourist fashion the way RC Mwambungu and others in various regions have been trying to do.
If one realizes that scarce jobs is an issue of prime urgency in the country, it is fair to say we should exchange the prestige of retaining land by villagers or their offspring in urban areas, to obtain capital directed at land when it is purchased, giving capital to native people to do business.
That is also the key to East African integration, so it is clear EAC partner states aren’t asking
too much from Tanzania, factually.
When one links the Ruvuma situation with the technological and credit aspects required to make the Kilimo Kwanza program a success, especially its irrigation element on which hinges success or failure of ensuring food security in the next few years or at the end of the decade, the logic of this requirement of reform is clear.
It is tied up with government plans for a further hefty public expenditure on the agricultural sector, and hesitant moves to create linkages with an Indian agro-equipment and irrigation expertise firm, Jain Inc., about which reports say a Memorandum of Understanding with the government has been reached and put on and off, for reasons that are difficult to elucidate. It is evident though that the issue is what contract we find acceptable.
Agriculture permanent secretary Mohamed Muya says that the ministry is finalizing a US$5.3bn plan to revamp the agro-sector, on the basis of remarks given at an international workshop organized by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) which runs several projects in east and southern Africa, covering irrigation.
Key priority areas of the plan include irrigation development, productionand commercialization, rural infrastructure, market access and trade.
The ten year plan the government has drawn up is meant to play a pivotal role in moving the country into middle-income status with allrespects taken into account, that the agro-processing sector employs around 80 per cent of the country's labour force.
It means uplifting the entire peasantry, a mode of thinking contradicting the history of economic growth, but neither the World Bank nor donor agencies or lending banks have been able to gauge as much, that development has always involved a transfer of property, not total uplifting.
Reaching an agreement with Jain Inc., is seen as urgent by various observers, taking into account the prevailing situation in particular the perils of climate change, where declining water sources reduce chances of rain-water agriculture being a feasible option.
Policy makers are consequently advised to make vibrant decisions for alternative means for sustainable agriculture – the problem, of course, lying in the fact that no co-financing of the projects will be found locally – and too much is expected to be given for free to the peasants.
The problem with ministers going abroad to seek takers for projects tied to Kilimo Kwanza in its instrumentation or equipmentaspect is that they cannot quite assure their prospective business partners that this will be viable and sustainable business, without bits of aid – which is what peasants wish to hear, that the government is giving them tractors.
Finding credible partnerships at the local level requires a situation like what is envisaged in the East African Common Market, that the land on which an irrigation project is situated is registered as company land on long lease basis, and for which banks can then provide requisite financing.
The government sends ministers who promise land merely as the location of a project, and expect Jain or other investors to then use their savings, not bank credit tied to the land, as the basic investment and working capital.
That is why they can’t make decisions quickly enough of entering into an agricultural equipment supply contract, or to open centres of excellence in irrigation methods and techniques, because the financing base is suspect, without leasehold land as part of the bargain – in which case ministers can’t get Jain Inc. or various other agro-business firms to accept our conditions.
Difficulties that the government encounters in reaching decisions relating to reform arise from the fact that there was never a local debate about merits and demerits of Ujamaa in the 1980s, and when it came up, it was the parastatal elite which set about ‘kujivua gamba’ in relation to being controlled by the political elite.
This has largely remained their conviction, that all is well so long as politicians don’t meddle, thus seeking parastatal independence to run the show, while not using capital of their shareholders to whom they would thus be responsible and accountable.
In like manner the bureaucracy feels that it should be free to run public services with a commercial bent, while Treasury subsidizes or meets their capitalization needs, and believe that they can just raise prices – for instance tripling the cost of electricity or at least doubling it as Tanesco are requesting at present, so that pricing reflects running costs.
That they keep out investment capital by the state retaining key sectors, and also hinder the development of competitive business in those sectors and creating jobs out of a multiplicity of price cutting companies as in the mobile telephony subsector is foreign to their thinking; so we reject preliminary conditions of East African Federation, tout investment opportunities in like manner as tourism attractions; can’t reach Kilimo Kwanza contracts as all we want is aid.