Make Improving Business Climate a Top Priority

On Monday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued a statement showing that Tanzania’s economy was on track to meeting the country’s growth targets.

Of particular importance in the statement was the fact that Tanzania’s national debt–which has been a subject of discussion during the past four months or so–is still very sustainable. Which is to say, President John Magufuli’s administration should consider securing new loans–on both concessional and non-concessional terms–to finance the country’s financing needs.

This is good news for Tanzania which has an ambitious infrastructure development plan – spanning from development of standard gauge railway lines to air and sea ports – which will require increased funding.

Besides, as experts, the IMF’s advice may help dispel political assumptions that tend to give a completely different and obscure modality of measuring the sustainability of the national debt.

For instance, the US has a gross domestic product (GDP) of about $17 trillion yet its national debt is about $20 trillion. At the same time, Tanzania has a GDP of about $45 billion and its stock of external debt reached $16.403 billion at the end of July 2016.

What this tells us is that even the world’s richest country is highly indebted and therefore, what matters isn’t the loan but rather it is the development projects into which it is invested.

So Tanzania must borrow. The ambitious infrastructural development projects – planned for implementation during the first five years of President John Mugufuli’s administration–cannot be achieved by the Sh17.8 trillion from the existing tax and non-tax revenue sources.

With improved roads, rails and ports– which can easily be built using borrowed funds–even the complicated tax payment system, which is highlighted by the World Bank as one of the major challenges to doing business in Tanzania, will be improved and tax rates will go down. That is how the country can be industrialised.

TIGHTEN MEAT, MILK CHECKS

Meat and milk products in Tanzania are sold in relatively large quantities due to increased public awareness of their nutritional value. Due to this, some traders take advantage of the high demand to slaughter animals and sell their products before inspection and certification.

Because of urban mobility, it is even more difficult to make follow-ups to ascertain whether all meat and milk products sold and consumed are safe for human consumption. In rural areas, where the majority of villagers are ignorant of legal requirements the situation could be even worse.

This is confirmed by this paper’s recent survey in Dodoma, where we established that some animals are slaughtered at home and not at the regional abattoirs or other authorised places as provided for in the Animal Diseases Act, 2003.

This poses health risks to meat consumers. That is why the government should push for the enforcement of the law to ensure butchers sell only duly inspected and certified meat.

With more than 22 million head of cattle, Tanzania has the third highest domestic animals population in Africa after Ethiopia and Sudan.

With such a high number of livestock, there should be concerted efforts to protect the health of meat consumers. That should include keeping all abattoirs in hygienic conditions and ensuring only inspected meat is consumed.

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