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Investment debate grows more fierce

Discussion in 'Biashara, Uchumi na Ujasiriamali' started by BabuK, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. BabuK

    BabuK JF-Expert Member

    Jul 3, 2011
    Joined: Jul 30, 2008
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    While a section of the public considers foreign investors, especially in the mining sector, as looters of the country’s resources, the government has come out to denounce the claims.
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    Ministers for Investment and Empowerment and that for Energy and Minerals, Dr Mary Nagu and William Ngeleja ( Photos above), respectively, strongly trashed the notion, saying if there were problems in the foreign investment sector, the country itself should revisit its policies and laws.
    The ministers told the House that no country in the world recorded tangible development, including expanding its economy, without attracting foreign investments.
    They said it was wrong to call foreign investors thieves since all of them entered the country legally and their investments got endorsement from relevant authorities such as Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC).
    The two cabinet ministers made the remarks on Friday evening in their attempt to lessen the temper of MPs who, when debating the budget speech of the Prime Minister’s Office, blamed foreign investors, especially in the mining sector, for causing troubles in their constituencies.
    The MPs said mining firms in the country have been a source of conflicts with the surrounding communities in areas where they operated, such as Nzega, Kahama and Tarime. They said the mines had little benefit to the public.
    The two ministers said if there were problems emanating from foreign investments, it was the responsibility of the country to rectify the situation.
    Minister Nagu said investments played an important role in creating employment opportunities, increasing the country’s Gross National Product (GDP), importing new technology in various sectors and alleviating poverty.
    Giving statistics, Nagu said over the past ten years (2001-2010), a total of 5,238 projects worth $32 billion were registered by the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), creating 756,689 job opportunities for Tanzanians.
    On Foreign Direct Investments, Nagu said the sector has also been growing annually. She said the World Investment Report compiled by UNCTAD every year showed that FDI grew from $520 million in 2005 to $744 in 2008, an achievement recorded after the country made efforts to attract investors.
    According to Nagu, one of the factors that facilitated the growth of FDI was tax exemption on Deemed Capital Goods for some sectors such as tourism and telecommunication.
    The report also shows that in 2007 the total world’s FDI capital stood at $1,833 billion but Africa’s share was only $ 53 billion, equivalent to 3 per cent while Europe’s share was $849 billion.
    North America received FDI’s capital of $341 billion in 2007 while Asia’s share was $320 billion. South America received FDI capital worth $126 billion while Australia’s share was $22 billion.
    She said, in a summary form, the report showed that Tanzania received FDI capital worth $600 million only in 2007 out of $53 billion that Africa received, which is equivalent to 0.03 percent of the world’s total FDI capital.
    She said the report showed that more efforts were required to be made to attract more FDIs.
    On efforts made by the government to earmark land for investments (Land Bank), the minister told the House that until December TIC had received 1,604,825 hectares allocated by all regions to that end, except Shinyanga, Coast and Dodoma regions.
    Speaking about tax exemptions granted by TIC, the minister said an assessment carried out in early 2000 showed that there were benefits of offering such tax incentives as investments increased.
    She said after scrapping tax exemptions on Deemed Capital Good in 2009/2010, investments decreased from 427 projects in July - December 2008 to 211 projects in July - December 2009, a decrease of 50 per cent.