In remarks following the swearing in of newly-appointed top government officials at the State House in Dar es Salaam, the president lifted a lid on the negative environment for foreign investments, noting that after she made her first appointments last week, messages were flooding from investors who threw in the towel and now wish to come back.
“They reach out to me through my aides; asking for my assurance that things will be okay so that they can come back,” she said.
The president said foreign investors love Tanzania but they were frustrated by unpredictability of policies and generally unfriendly environment of doing business.
She directed authorities in charge of investment, labour and immigration to ensure transparency, openness and ease of doing business so as to urgently build investor confidence, win back those who left the country and lure new ones.
“We need to bring back investor trust in Tanzania. We must leave behind bureaucratic habits and create a better business environment for foreign and local investors,” she declared, underlining that the country’s image out there is not pleasing at all.
“Please bring back the trust of investors and attract them to come back. They might need us to survive but we need them more than they need us,” the president asserted, insisting that the country needs more investments in order to create jobs and increase money circulation.
“Tanzanians are crying all over the country that their pockets are empty. We need healthy investments and trade to fill their pockets,” she said.
Starting a business and access to residence permits for foreign investors was another challenge that needs to be addressed as heavy handed methods often end in pressing for bribes for permits to be processed.
Despite establishing a One-Stop Center at the Tanzania Investment Center (TIC), which puts all institutions handling investment application processing under one roof, investors must run up and down numerous times to obtain business certificates and permits.
Investors consider Tanzania an unpredictable country when it comes to doing business due to tax and work permit uncertainties, she emphasised, pointing out that she knows someone who was a long time investor but shifted his investments to another country due to tax complexities.
President Samia reiterated that she will work on finalizing all the major projects that were started by her predecessor, which include the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza and the Nyerere hydropower project, among others.
“All the ongoing projects will be accomplished as scheduled as to us these are an inheritance,” she said, noting that an inheritance is something sacred that can’t be neglected or abused.
She also raised the matter of the long forgotten export processing zones, saying there is need for the permanent secretaries and ministers to revisit the reasons for the establishment of the zones.
The EPZ authority is expected to facilitate investors in obtaining space to build a factory outside existing commercial parks, taking up the company registration process, administrative procedures in getting tax incentives and obtaining visas and work permits.
She also gave a six-month deadline for the newly-appointed director general of the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) Erick Hamis to clean up the mess of inefficiency and embezzlement of funds, saying that she had deliberately appointed him because he is familiar with the place and has the ability to do the job.
“I know you were in Dar es Salaam and they transferred you to Mwanza, I have decided to return you to Dar es Salaam so that you go clean the mess as the port. I am giving you six months to do it, after that we will be talking of other things,” she said.
The Head of State said she believed in the new appointee because he had no groups, showing confidence in his ability to deliver.
Recently, President Samia suspended the Director General of Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) Deusdedit Kakoko after the institution was adversely mentioned in the report of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG).
This came up when the president was receiving the CAG’s audit reports for the financial year 2019/20 at the Chamwino State House.
She said she had seen the massive embezzlement conducted at TPA and ordered the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) to take up the issue as a matter of urgency, just two days after the burial of the late Dr John Magufuli.
The president had similarly noted that Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa formed a committee to probe into the issue and only suspended two senior officials.