The Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (Investment) Angella Kairuki made this observation yesterday at the Annual Agricultural Policy Conference (AAPC).
It brought together over 200 participants from academia, research institutions, policy makers, advocacy groups and development practitioners from Tanzania and in the East African region.
Minister Kairuki said that the revamped legislation is designed to accommodate changes in the world of investments and business.
“We want to have an up to date investment and competitive law that takes into consideration the needs of investors,” she said.
The changes are also meant to attract more investments into agriculture, livestock and fisheries that are seen as risky areas in the current environment, she stated.
The minister hinted at the possibility of commercial banks being compelled by law to issue loans to investors in agriculture, livestock and fisheries, an idea likely to garner support in a forum for agriculture, livestock and fisheries stakeholders.
Kariuki said current trends show that salaried employees can easily access loans than investors in agriculture and its subsectors, a trend which she said runs counter to the country’s development needs.
Investments in the three areas are seen as strategic. If their potential is unlocked Tanzania can easily swing into middle income status by 2025 as envisaged in the country’s development vision, the minister underlined.
“We have embraced an industrialisation drive but it is agriculture and its subsectors that drive industrialization. Therefore, the two must go together,” she explained.
In 2018 for instance, out of 2,821 projects registered by the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), only 17.9 per cent were based in agriculture, she said.
The government is also working on putting in place special incentives for investors in the capital, Dodoma to attract more businesses in the administrative centre of the country.
Speaking at the event, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Livestock Prof Elisante ole Gabriel said Tanzania boasts 32.5 million cattle, 20 million goats, 5.5 million sheep and 79.1 million chickens laying four billion eggs annually at present.
“As of 2018 we had 2.8 billion kilogrammes of fish in our water bodies yet we spent 56.04bn/- importing fish which has since gone down to 37m/-,” he said, pointing out that this is equivalent to 99 per cent reduction.
Ease of doing business has been the major concern of the business community in Tanzania as well as foreign investors. In May last year, the government and the British business community in the country launched a dialogue aimed at identifying and ironing out bottlenecks.
The dialogue focused at the regulatory and policy environment, along with challenges faced by British businesses investing in Tanzania.
Policy Analysis Group (PAG) chairman Audax Rukonge said that AAPC is a high level policy dialogue convening key stakeholders among public agencies and the private sector.
They come to present their research findings, success stories, progress made, share best practices and chart a transformative way forward for future reforms, he said.
The conference is themed “Public and Private Sector Investment for Agricultural transformation in Tanzania: Tackling Agribusiness Drivers and Enablers in Crops, Livestock, Fisheries and Agro-processing.”