The call was made at the regular TPSF breakfast meeting in Dar es Salaam which this time focused on discussing implementation of the blueprint, the fruit of a thorough consultations process involving various government and private sector entities, as well as the World Bank.
It is supposed to see the government initiate amendments of various laws including those covering Value Added Tax (VAT), indicative prices for imports, immigration and labour, social security, and environmental management, among other areas, with a view to attracting more and more private sector investment in key sectors of the national economy.
Speaking during the forum, TPSF executive director Godfrey Simbeye said the blueprint is all-important for advocates of a truly conducive local business environment.
He noted that private sector stakeholders have long been advocating for review and harmonisation of a multitude of “what they call counter-productive, multiple, duplicative, and costly” business policies, laws, regulators, fees, taxes, and levies.
"As the private sector, we need to remain united by making sure we collectively participate in every meeting relating to the blueprint’s implementation, so that we can push the government to come up with an action plan as soon as possible," Simbeye asserted.
He called on TPSF members to start conducting their own meetings within their specific business sectors and bring their collective inputs to TPSF conferences on the matter in question.
Warning that little if anything is likely to happen with regard to getting an improved business environment unless they work together, Simbeye told the breakfast meeting participants:
"Effective implementation of the blueprint will undoubtedly lead to Tanzania becoming more competitive in the business world and attracting more domestic and international business investors. It will also result in more job creation and hasten poverty reduction.”
He explained that the blueprint gained cabinet approval in May this year, but also noted: “While we currently have the blueprint in our hands, there is still no action plan for implementation.”
“We appeal to the government to bring its action plan that will guide all of us on where to start in implementing the blueprint, as well as which are the priority areas,” the TPSF chief executive officer said.
He also suggested that the government could and should involve the private sector in preparing a prioritized action plan that includes vigorous monitoring, reporting and accountability mechanisms.
Among other things, the blueprint requires regulatory impact assessments (RIAs) to be undertaken in the enactment or amendment of policies, laws, and regulations that impact business, to avoid unintended adverse effects and assure a reasonable level of predictability.
In his presentation on how best the private sector can engage in catalyzing implementation of the blueprint, Dr Donath Olomi of the Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship Development (IMED) said effective implementation would lead to minimal or no duplication of regulators, regulations, processes and taxes, plus shorter, less costly procedures.
Consistencies among regulations and regulators will also enhance public and private sector capacities and lead to business competitiveness, Dr Olomi added.
He also noted that while the blueprint looks promising, too little attention is being given to its prioritization since there is no action plan or framework yet.
“Reforms are still presented as ‘proposals’, not decisions - although the blueprint has received cabinet approval,” Dr Olomi remarked.
Agriculture Council of Tanzania (ACT) director of policy Timothy Mmbaga pointed out that the blueprint needs to be accompanied by changes in regulatory body by-laws in order to be effective in implementation.
The blueprint was prepared last year in close collaboration between government and private sector representatives.