‘With AfCFTA, Tanzania must implement regulatory blueprint’

04Dec 2021
Getrude Mbago
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
‘With AfCFTA, Tanzania must implement regulatory blueprint’

​​​​​​​THE Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) has called on the government to speed up the implementation of ‘Blueprint on Regulatory and Licensing Reform’ to facilitate greater utilization of opportunities in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

CTI chairman ​​​​​​​Paul Makanza.

Paul Makanza, the CTI chairman, made this appeal during the CTI annual symposium and general meeting in Dar es Salaam yesterday, focused on the theme “Implementation of CTI Strategic Plan 2021-2025 for Effective Advocacy in Improving the Business Environment.”

He said the blueprint, prepared after thorough consultations with various private sector associations and World Bank officials, demands amendments of various laws including on Value Added Tax (VAT), regulatory bodies, immigration and labour issues, as well as social security and environmental management, among others.

Despite various reforms conducted by the government so far, a number of challenges thwart the ability of industrialists to conduct their businesses smoothly, he said, pointing at the need to implement the blueprint.

“It is now more urgent than ever before, if we are to compete effectively in the domestic, regional and world markets. We commend the government for ratifying the AfCFTA and we hope that it will take all the needed reforms to enable the country to have active and competitive players as set out in the pact,” he said.

As AfCFTA covers a market of 1.3bn people this is a huge opportunity but it will be meaningless if Tanzania will not take the required to utilise its potential, he stated, as it ought to have a competitive manufacturing sector that is not overburdened by inefficient regulations.

There is a complex and unfair tax regime in place, with CTI members facing challenges especially by having multiple regulatory bodies. This remains a huge concern for us,” he declared.

Dr Ismail Seif Salum, permanent secretary from Zanzibar in the Ministry of Trade and Industrial Development, said the government is taking necessary measures to improve the business environment so that Tanzanian companies can effectively participate in domestic and international markets.

“The 6th phase government under President Samia Suluhu Hassan continues to take all needed measures   geared to improve the business environment upon which the manufacturing sector can thrive,” he stated, underlining that some of the reform measures undertaken include the implementation of recommendations from the blueprint.

These measures were set out in the National Budget 2020/21 and several other interventions seeking to develop a roadmap towards reducing the cost of doing business, he stated, asserting that the government would like to see the entire private sector properly coordinated and driving the economy of the country.

“I know CTI has been a leading business association in assisting the government to address some of the challenges affecting the business community. Your valuable recommendations to the government to improve industrial development and trade related policies, rules and regulations have contributed a lot,” he told the gathering.

The government and the private sector have to work together to meet the high expectations and aspirations of Tanzanians in attaining high economic growth necessary for poverty reduction, thus manufacturers need to be more innovative and produce quality products that will compete well in the Africa free trade zone, he added.