Mengi urged Tanzanians to fully support President Magufuli and his ‘Hapa Kazi Tu’ motto by working hard to develop the country and collectively adopting a ‘can-do’ attitude.
“I would like to call upon my fellow countrymen that we should all put our trust in our president because he has genuine intentions to develop the country,” Mengi said in his assessment of Magufuli’s first year in office.
“Therefore, we should give him a chance to implement his campaign promises to Tanzanians without impediments for the next five years,” added the TPSF chairman, who is also executive chairman of IPP Limited.
He dismissed claims in some quarters that some policies of the Magufuli government are stifling the growth of local businesses and the private sector as a whole.
According to Mengi: “I do not agree with the views of some people that the government…suppresses businessmen. What we have actually witnessed is the government’s steadfast determination to strengthen revenue collection.”
“In my opinion, the fifth phase government … has shown tremendous political commitment in efforts to improve the business climate and enable indigenous private sector members to access various business opportunities.”
According to the World Bank’s 2017 Ease of Doing Business report, Tanzania moved up seven places - from 139th in 2016 to 132nd in 2017 – making it among the best performers in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of making significant improvements to the business environment.
“In previous administrations, some people even wondered if the government was on leave or non-existent at all due to its lax and generally laissez-faire manner. But in just the one year of President Magufuli’s administration, we have felt the presence of a firm and efficient government in place that is committed to serve all Tanzanians.”
“Unlike in the past when no firm action was being taken against unethical civil servants, we are now seeing swift action being taken against all those suspected of wrongdoing.”
He cited the establishment of a special court to handle grand corruption and economic sabotage cases within a year in office as a clear indication of the Magufuli administration’s commitment to tackling graft.
“President Magufuli has vividly shown his commitment and courage to fight corruption and has taken several bold decisions against corruption in the country,” he said.
He noted that Magufuli’s government has largely put an end to widespread tax evasion, which was rampant in previous years where unscrupulous businessmen and dishonest civil servants colluded to dodge taxes.
“It is evident that the president is very serious about revenue collection. Some people may wrongly interpret this as a crackdown on businesses,” said Mengi.
“For example, it is obvious that someone who was used to paying bribes to clear his goods at the port without paying taxes will obviously complain (against ongoing moves to strengthen tax collection),” he added.
The TPSF chairman said the private sector unreservedly backs the government’s industrialisation drive pioneered by the president to boost job creation and government revenue collection, and curb imports.
“The private sector must take part fully in the establishment and management of industries in the country, especially value-adding factories that will enable Tanzania to do away with the long-standing exports of raw materials,” he said.
“Priority should be given to agro-processing factories … our country has for too long been exporting raw materials, thus denying the government significant sources of revenue,” he added.