The Tanzanian business community has been challenged to come up with bankable project ideas that can attract the African Development Bank (AfDB) facilities.
Finance Minister Mustafa Mkulo made the remark in Dar es Salaam yesterday in his opening speech at the AfDB sensitisation seminar for members of the Private Sector in the country.
The seminar, which focused on promoting the understanding on the Bank’s operations, has been organised in collaboration with the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation.
He said that the Tanzanian private sector should take seriously opportunities availed by the AfDB to realise their entrepreneurship dreams.
“I call upon all of you who have come up with proposed projects to aim at nothing, but success …in order to be successful, you have to plan ahead,” Mkulo said, adding that the projects’ applicants required support through different processes.
“The applicant have to be encouraged to team up in joint ventures where need arises and be sensitised to come up with bankable projects that will attract the Bank facilities,’ he said.
However, the government reassured the AfDB of its support towards projects that the public and private sector will request funding for. “The government will be more than ready to cooperate with entrepreneurs and will put up a favorable environment for the Bank to deal with the private sector in Tanzania,” Mkulo added.
For her part, TPSF chairperson Esther Mkwizu said that the seminar was a follow up to the pre-seminar which was held on March 9 this year whereby a number of issues were raised.
“Among the issues that the private sector resolved was the decision to request the government to strengthen its commitment to financial sector reforms and to ensure that the business community has access to capital,” she said.
She said the participants also stressed that the AfDB provides information on the possibility for the private sector to access funds for establishing a National Equity Fund for Education.
She said the seminar will enable members of the private sector to understand AfDB operations and policy. Mkwizu added that the seminar will also review priority sectors identified for investment and also discuss potentials private sector opportunities in infrastructure, energy telecommunication, tourism and financial sectors.
AfDB resident representative Tonia Kandiero said that the seminar was timely as the government of Tanzania will be hosting the Bank’s Annual Meeting from May 28 to June 1 this year.
She said almost 99 per cent of the Bank’s current operations in the country were focused on road transport, agriculture, water and sanitation, power, health, education and general budget support.
“Currently, we have a portfolio composed of 16 projects with a total commitment of USD 1 billion… of the ongoing projects; we have only two private sector operations to the tune of USD 14 million,” said Kandiero.
She said that although there was imbalance between private and public assistance to Tanzania, it was important to note that many of the public sector operations are directly helping to address some of the constraints facing the private sector namely high transport costs, power shortages, and lack of skilled labour force.
Kandiero said that her Bank would support initiatives to address the shortage of skilled labour through USD 50 million projects that will be going to their board in 2013.