This was said by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Adelhelm Meru in an exclusive interview with the Guardian in Dar es Salaam at the weekend.
“We have started implementing the industrial development plan of resource-based industries, cotton processing industries, like Sunflag, Urafiki Textiles, Namera Textiles, Nida, Mwatex and A to Z. These industries process cotton into textiles,” he said.
He added: “The government will encourage these industries to produce school uniforms, which are made of cotton so as to create employment opportunities to more people in the cotton and textile industry. We also sensitise Tanzanians to like and to buy products which have been manufactured from raw materials produced within the country,” said Dr Meru.
For Tanzania to be a middle income economy, the government must invest more in industries, he noted.
“Developed countries (G8), have attained sustainable economic development due to industrial development. Industries are employment, industries are development and industries are income generating activities. Our strategy is to review all the drawbacks which did let us down in the past, and find a solution to them so as to achieve sustainable economic growth and development,” he said.
The second strategy is to prepare a five-year development plan for the country, he suggested, saying the main challenge is lack of production infrastructure, like land, electricity, water, roads, railways, gas and communications.
The government will establish special economic zones (SEZs) so as to produce products for export, he said, adding “We will improve infrastructure like railways so as to reach the standard gauge, and produce more power from gas. Kinyerezi is already using gas to produce electricity.”
Access to capital, has been a major challenge facing many businessmen in the country, he said.“We are looking forward to use Tanzania Investment Bank (TIB) to support people who have industries.
Moreover, we are planning to establish an industrial development bank which will provide loans to investors who want to establish industries. We will also strengthen Small Industries Development Organisation (SIDO) so as to enable it to support small and medium industries to grow and flourish,” he said.
Skilled labour force, is also one of the main challenges facing many youths in the country, “we will collaborate with vocational training colleges like VETA so as to teach the youths the technical skills which will help them to get jobs or self-employment.”
Dr Meru also said the government plans to use technology through Tanzania Research and Industrial Development Organisation (TIRDO), TEMDO and COSTECH to achieve economic development.
Besides, it wants to change the mindsets of the people, so that they know that to invest in industries is very important, instead of constructing only expensive houses.They should use that money (imagine 3bn/-) to build an industry and the returns of this investment would be huge, he urged.
According to him, it is very important to improve the business environment and curb all tax evasion loopholes. But this could only be made possible if the firms are electronically registered through Brela.
The government targets that after five years, the contribution of the industrial sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) should reach 15 per cent up from the current 9 per cent.
In addition, it wants to focus on raw materials emanating from agriculture, mining processing industries, milk processing industries, leather processing industries, forest products, like timber, and fish processing industries.
Crucial in this transformation is the strategic industries like Liganga iron ore, Engaruka soda ash and tyre manufacturing, he observed.
The government is aware that local investors fail to compete fairly with foreign investors, and therefore it plans to demand taxes from these (foreign) investors so as to create a level playing field in business.
The government will improve the environment in production so that those who produce will get profit and this would remove taxes from those industries. Those industries include steel, cement and sugar.
For his part, the Managing Director of Nida Textile Mills Limited, Hamza Rafiq Pardesi said in an exclusive interview in Dar es Salaam at the weekend that investors in local industries support the government’s efforts to make Tanzania a country of industries by producing clothes which are made of locally cultivated cotton.
“We support President Magufuli in making Tanzania a country of industries so as to stimulate sustainable economic growth and development and create jobs for many more people.
The government should attract local and foreign investors to invest in industries so as to bring about rapid economic development. NIDA and Namera employ more than 3,000 workers. Next year, when we start to make uniforms for the armed forces, police force and students, the number of jobs will increase and we will employ many people,” said Pardesi.
Products which Nida produces are Khanga, Vitenge, bed sheets, Masai sheets, curtains, suits and wax.
The firm has a cotton ginnery in Kahama and Namera for spinning. Nida undertakes printing, dyeing and stitching. “We also make clothes for Chama Cha Mapinduzi.” Pardesi said.
The market for the company’s products is in Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Congo-DRC. As for the company’s future, he said they plan to produce Dira garments and Tshirts.