Prof Shivji sounded the warning at the University of Dar es Salaam on Thursday during a symposium to take stock of President John Magufuli’s three years in office, with focus on his government’s industrialization drive.
Giving his comments during the symposium titled ‘Symposium on the Current Economic and Political Situation in the Country,’ and which was graced by President Magufuli, Prof Shivji said it was important to learn from the mistakes the country made during the industrialization process under Mwalimu and ask ourselves why most of the industries put up by the first phase government went under.
The don stressed that, hand in hand with industrialization, the country had to create an independent national economy.
He warned that industrial development should not only be about the number of established industrial units but about how they play part in forging an effective national economy.
“It has now been fashionable for regions to compete in announcing the number of industries already set up or on the way to being established. This needs to be looked at with a keen eye,” he said.
Shivji said it was not the first time the country was embarking on massive industrial investment, because Mwalimu walked the road in the 1970s and 1980s.
“However most of the factories died for varied reasons, including poor management and embezzlement,” the don said.
“What is important now is to learn from past mistakes before we advance further,” he said.
He said, for instance, that the industrial and agricultural sectors were both dependent instead of being complementary, warning that this should not be repeated this time around.
“The agricultural and industrial sectors were not connected. They acted independent of each other and thus failed to build a local market,” he said.
He also took a swipe at local managers in public industries, accusing them of being weak with a propensity to embezzlement.
“These are some few lessons we must learn as the country touts for an industrial economy,” the don said.
According to him, the agricultural sector was currently not getting a befitting share in resource allocation, saying this had to be rectified.
“The agricultural sector remains an important tool in driving the economy and industries if the country if well managed,” he said.
The fifth phase government aims to turn the country into a middle income economy by 2025 through industrialization.
According to an industrial census carried out in 2013, Tanzania had 50,656 industries by the end of 2012.
Out of these 1,769 industries, 3.5 percent, were large and medium scale while 48,887, equivalent to 96.5 per cent, were small and micro enterprises.
Despite their small size, small and micro enterprises had a significant contribution to the economy, employing 133,231 people (11 per cent of formal employment) while earning the country $1,239.6 million in foreign exchange in 2014.