If Tanzania Was A Large A Corporation...

Saidi Yakubu

Mar 6, 2006
If Tanzania was a large corporation, the company would face a number of operational problems. For a start if we are to borrow few words from my university Chancellor [Lord Ashcroft, former treasurer of the Conservative Party], Modern Corporation needs to be mean, lean and hungry to succeed, they need to be effectively organised at the point of delivery and sales to realise soaring profits. But look at our country hungry for success we may be but lean and mean we are not!

The successful corporation needs to have clear lines of internal communication and good external PR team; this is non existent in our country. Channels of communication are clouded by bureaucratic streams, and every internal communication is marked ‘secret’ and there are departments in the government that frankly could do with restructuring.

The good thing about a modern day corporation is that it is open for external scrutiny and can stand operational criticism aimed at strategically reposition the company and increase profits, sadly the same can’t be said our government. The company can’t stand criticism even if they are obvious to everyone; its auditing structure is not open! You have say, in the ministry of education, idara ya elimu and idara ya ukaguzi wa elimu and they all report to the same head!

Whereas I appreciate the essence of central government in managing the whole country, I think having RC and DC and their whole ‘army’ is bureaucratic, unnecessarily and undemocratic which is not needed since we already have the Mayor and City Council Directors. May be there is a point I am missing but I think we don’t need parallel administrations in our cities. If you convert these bureaucrats in our phenomenal example of Tanzania as a company, then you will have those who are employed by merits through a rigorous process [elections] and those who are there because the CEO wants them there [appointed officials], I think this is an odd way to function as a modern government in this era of science and technology…

The country needs to find ways to streamline its command structure to be functional and speedier in delivering public services. This must be done soon. A modern government needs to be able to talk to its line managers quickly and efficiently hence the government needs to mobilise the team, I have observed from liaising with various ministries and through following up government operations that our current structure mirror the lines of communications that are slow, cumbersome and inefficient and dare I say old fashioned!

The resources we have are unfairly scattered, we have Kilimanjaro with a vast array of resources and tourist attractions, you Tanga on the other hand which is blessed with a sea that is hardly used economically but then you have the likes of Singida and Tabora that aren’t blessed as such. These towns need not have same level of bureaucratic operations, special teams from Ministry of Tourism could be based in Moshi to advertise the country effectively, they will be waking up and sleeping under the gaze of Mount Kilimanjaro interacting with tourists who have vast array of backgrounds and could be properly evaluated on how best we can increase tourists from their own countries.

The same could be done for Tanga, Mwanza and other towns and cities, but what I see is central operations in Dar es salaam [though the HQ is supposed to be Dodoma!] where already we have good infrastructure for administrative purposes. In a company, sales force is normally repositioned where the demand is higher and competition is stiff but you don’t send your sales force where there is no market! This is what we are currently doing by centrally being located in Dar.

I am optimistic by default and although there will be some who will resist the pressures of reform but change is necessary, Winston Churchill once said a pessimist sees problems in every opportunity but an optimist sees opportunity in every problem, The current situation reflects that changes in the gov’t day to day operations are inevitable hence officials needs to think outside the box and challenge themselves to come out of their comfort zones…
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