Reform stalwart Iddi Simba dies, burial expected today

14Feb 2020
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Reform stalwart Iddi Simba dies, burial expected today

​​​​​​​VETERAN economist and business sector leader Iddi Simba breathed his last at the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) yesterday at the age of 84, and is expected to be buried at the Kisutu grounds today.

Iddi Simba

The late former minister for Trade and Industry wasd born on Octoiber 8, 1935 and received his education at universities in Punjab in Pakistan and Toulouse in France and upon return he was picked to work with the World Bank.

He led the East African Development Bank (EADB) as executive director  from 1968 to 1978,  and for a couple of years he was the resident representative of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

As the reform period came unto the scene, he became a stakeholder in trade reform first as among the founders of the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Trade (TCCIA) before splitting from it to form the Tanzania Confederation of Industries (TCI).

Surprisingly, while he rejected nationalistic policies at TCCIA to advocate market equality for all business practitioners, he later entered politics to campaign for the Ilala constituency in the legislature, advocating precisely the nationalist policies he had earlier rejected.

He had meanwhile rose in CCM ranks to become chairman of the Parents’ Oeganisation from 1996 to 1999 and thus also become a member of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).

Having won the Ilala seat in 1995 which he kept for two four terms, he was appointed minister in the Industry and Trade portfolio in 2000 and stayed there only briefly, as policy inconsistency with regard to sugar led to his resignation.

Simba stepped down in November 2001 at the time of the sugar importation debacle after he was accused of issuing importation licences that would kill local factories.

But much of the criticism levelled against him relates to the broader issue of his role in opening up the country's economy.

At the time of his departure from cabinet, the government had an ambitious 10 year plan to revitalise the sugar industry by first ensuring that enough sugar was grown and that factories worked at full capacity.

Sympathisers to the late business leader noted at the announcement of his death that close to 20 years since he stepped down, the very issue that led to his resignation—local sugar production verses imports - is still a challenge authorities are struggling with.