Industry and Trade Minister Abdallah Kigoda yesterday denounced unnecessary bureaucracy to which prospective investors were subjected, citing the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Act as among the counterproductive legislations in the country.
“We have to get rid of gratuitous bureaucracy in the country…after all we don’t need a single dollar to become a bureaucracy free nation,” Dr Kigoda said during his working visit to the Exports Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) in Dar es Salaam.
He said although the government remains open to investors seeking to develop special economic zones under the PPP arrangement, the law demands the open tendering of all projects under the PPP.
“Imagine the investors coming with 1 billion US dollar to develop Bagamoyo SEZ, for instance, and you tell them to wait for almost a year to go through the tendering process…no serious investor will tolerate that level of bureaucracy,” Dr Kigoda said, noting that the PPP legislation was not in the interest of Tanzanians.
The minister challenged EPZA to embrace in its operations the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), he commended for the good job that they do in value addition to the country’s products. “I think the role of SMEs in the economy remains generally undermined…but SMEs are doing a great job to the economy.”
Among the criteria for an investor to qualify for the incentive-rich EPZ/SEZ schemes for instance is a minimum capital of 100,000 US dollars (over 150m/-), the amount Dr Kigoda perceives as too huge for small local entrepreneurs, “But, I think our SMEs need EPZ/SEZ incentives more than big investors do.”
Dr Kigoda who also chairs EPZA board of directors extolled the authority’s management for their good job, urging them to strive for more, “You are doing well and I urge you to do more…make good, straight forward decisions in the public interest.”
EPZA Director General Adelhelm Meru, in his presentation to the minister and his deputy Gregory Teu, decried limited financial resources that cripple the authority’s efficiency. He cited this financial year in which the parliament approved 113bn/- for EPZA but to date only 125m/- has been released.
Dr Meru said during its six years of operations, EPZA has recorded substantial achievements, with 60 companies having already invested 790 million US dollars under the schemes. The companies have created 16,105 direct jobs to Tanzanians, with exports generating 440 million US dollars for the country.
The DG dismissed the general misperception that the EPZ/SEZ schemes were for foreigners, giving statistics that showed that of all the investors, locals constitute 44 per cent while foreigners and joint ventures are 40 and 16 per cent, respectively.
The priority sectors are textiles and garments, agro-processing, leather processing and manufacturing of leather products; fish processing; lapidary; and wood products.
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