Battles rage in government on implementing ‘blueprint‘

14Sep 2021
Nimi Mweta
The Guardian
Battles rage in government on implementing ‘blueprint‘

​​​​​​​PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan’s prioritization of implementing various recommendations in the ‘blueprint for regulatory reform to enhance the country’s ease of doing business’ that was adopted by the cabinet of ministers mid 2018 is facing hurdles at upper government levels, analysts say.

​​​​​​​PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan.

This is the picture that emerges after a series of notifications in the transport, energy and environmental sectors, setting off stiff fines for disputed opening of fuelling stations without obtaining environmental impact assessment (EIA) certificates from the National Environment Council (NEMC), the regulatory agency.

The measure has been taken in defiance of a directive by President Samia when swearing in permanent secretaries that when it comes to environment impact certification, actual problems should be listed and solved instead of using it to impede business start up or soliciting irregular negotiations on obtaining such permit.

The agency has fined each of the disputed petrol stations the sum of 500m/- without regard for its location or condition of operation, profitability or otherwise and issued 14 days for the fines to be paid otherwise the regulatory agency closes down the fuelling stations all over the country.

News analysts recall that just over two months ago, the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) sounded out a plan to administer the gradual transition in the use of fuel from petrol to gas, and outlined plans to open fuel stations to oversee this transition, instead of merely seeking out existing or new fuel stations to accommodate the use of gas.

That would also push innovation and creativity in the car assembling and repair industry to chip in as the quest to convert engines to the use of gas fuel catches up, it appeared at the time, but the participation of regulatory organisations in business operations in sectors they oversee remains problematic.

This was cited as a point of friction in a meeting of the president with leaders of the business community in her capacity as chairperson of the Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC), and she issued a pledge to observe recommendations of the ‘blueprint’ against regulatory ‘invasion’ and skewing of operations in favour of state agencies.

Another area where hurdles in implementing the blueprint for ease of doing business are being noticed is in commuter transport, where the city authorities are working with the traffic police department and the Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit (DRT), a city council agency, to create or reclaim a number of routes by pushing out routine commuter buses, popularly known as ‘daladala.’

A senior DART official was heard in a morning talk show candidly asking ‘daladala’ operators to purchase shares in BRT and in that sense, cease operations as all routes are gradually taken up by BRT.

Those who habitually ride the buses, especially as the Kimara –City centre route was blotted out as well as Ubungo-city centre routes know the packing level in those buses or endless waiting in non-starting stations as the buses are full at the point of departure.

The idea of easing out ‘daladala’ operations was part of city council plans during the fourth phase government when the DART project came up, with construction of special routes and purchasing of the first fleet of buses conducted during the fourth phase, but operations could not start as the fares they were seeking were too high.

Fifth phase under President Dr John Magufuli early in his presidency, decided to impose fares of 650/- per ticket irrespective of route length, but operations have been blighted by breakdowns of buses and non-completion of major routes with large numbers of passengers, especially to Mbagala from the city Centre.

While construction work is going on and reports say DART has increased its fleet of late, the pushing to eliminate ‘daladala’ operations shows clearly that DART and city council officials, and their allies in the traffic police department are busy putting to effect those plans, stage by stage, totally at variance with the spirit of the blueprint, analysts noted

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