Tanzania: Productivity Low,Says World Bank The Citizen (Dar es Salaam) 25 June 2008 Posted to the web 25 June 2008 Samuel Kamndaya Productivity of workers in Tanzania is low, a World Bank report says.The trend affects overall competitiveness of Tanzanian firms, says a report on 'The effect of investment climate on the performance of micro and small enterprises in Zanzibar'. The report says the value added per worker in Tanzania is $2,300 - far below Kenya's $5,000. It is, however, higher than Uganda's $1,600. The report is a complementary to an earlier one that looked at the investment climate in Tanzania, using data from 2003 and the 2004 investment climate assessment (regional programme on enterprise development, 2004). It cites reasons of Tanzanian workers' low productivity as the low level of workers' skills and education.According to the report, about 43 per cent of workers in Tanzania had only a primary education or less at the time of the surveys. But little was done by the firms to invest in their workers' training. "Despite these dispiriting statistics, firms do not invest much in improving workers' skills," reads a statement in the report. On the other side, it was only about 20 per cent of workers in Kenya and Uganda that possessed primary school or less education. With low productivity, Tanzanian firms are not highly competitive and are also less likely to export than firms in China and Kenya. The Trade Union Congress of Tanzania secretary-general, Mr Nestory Ngula, yesterday concurred with the report findings. He noted that such statistics meant that the country was required to come out aggressive in training of its people and stop politicking with the education agenda. "It is about time we invested heavily in the education of our people. We need to decide which subjects should be promoted to yield quick gains," he said noting that it sounds rather awkward for leaders to claim that they were promoting science subjects while a majority of the country's secondary schools do not have laboratories. According to Mr Ngulla, the country has found itself in the current situation because for a long time in the past, the country's focus had been to reduce illiteracy rate."There was, however, no concrete strategy to increase the number of secondary schools to accommodate the growing number of primary school graduates.Current heavy investment in the education sector should be meaningful to solve this problem," he said. He concurred with the report that most investors do not invest in their workers' education or training skills. "Most private employers are only interested in employing people that will bring quick gains," he said, noting that employees' education remains a bone for the public sector to chew. Also hurting trade in Tanzania is, according to the report, cumbersome customs and port clearance procedures. "Customs and port delays were higher in Tanzania - requiring seven days or more for exports than in Kenya, Uganda or China," reads the report. Although Tanzania performs well on most measures of governance including political stability, the rule of law, and regulatory quality, the report revealed that corruption remains a problem. About 33 per cent of enterprises that did business with the Government said bribes were needed to secure public contracts. On power, the report notes that although the cost of electricity in Tanzania is not excessive compared to other countries in the region, reliability is a serious problem. Access to credit also appears to be worse than in Kenya or China.