for businesses to attract investors

10Nov 2016
The Guardian
for businesses to attract investors

A conducive business environment is paramount for ensuring competitiveness. Such an environment is characterised by effective political, economic and social policies that are favourable to investors seeking to take advantage of the vast and in many instances,

We need to create good environment

untapped investment opportunities without undermining development prospects of host countries. There have been significant reforms aiming at improving Tanzania’s business environment.

However, progress has been slow in some dimensions of ease of doing business and Tanzania has missed its national Five Year Development Plan 1 (FYDP I) target of ending up among the top 100 countries in the World, in “Doing business environment rankings”.

According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2016, Tanzania was ranked 139th out of 189 countries. Before that, Tanzania ranked 128th and 136th in 2011 and 2013 respectively. Tanzania has only been able to achieve the target set in FYDP I of being among the top 100 countries in enforcing contracts (45th position).

The most unfavourable positions for Tanzania in 2014 were with respect to dealing with construction permits (169th position) and paying taxes (148th position).

The only improvement that Tanzania made between 2013 and 2014 was in trading across borders. Poor tax administration, unreliable electricity, corruption and difficulties in accessing finance have been identified as the key drawbacks to Tanzania’s business environment, according to a new report.

The 2015 Business Leaders Perceptions survey, which was launched recently by the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) with support from BEST-Dialogue, lists a variety of factors that local business leaders think are making it difficult for their enterprises to grow, let alone run smoothly.

It says that businesses tend to suffer from the way government tax is collected from them, noting that sometimes they have to deal with two or more recognised agencies seeking different taxes under different laws.

BEST-Dialogue’s role is to support private sector organisations (PSOs) in engaging in dialogue with the government and push for changes in public policy aimed at improving the country’s business climate.

The survey, conducted between July and August last year, was the sixth done by TPSF. Business leaders were asked to name factors that they thought were enabling to their activities and factors that are of a hindering nature. They were also asked to give their perceptions on how the government is addressing each factor.

Other questions in the survey were about their views on how future investments could be deterred, and their assessments of costs involved in meeting regulatory requirements.

They were furthermore asked to cite specific areas where they believe the government has made a difference over the past five years and how the current government is dealing with their requests for action.

It is a fact that development is investment. Therefore we need to create a good environment for businesses so that we attract more investors.

The problem of corruption within the government, for so long the biggest factor hindering business now appears to be being decisively addressed by the fifth phase government under President John Magufuli. In the same vein, we are calling for more reforms in the tax administration system.