WAR ON GRAFT: You are failing us, JK tells the west THE CITIZEN 2009-11-06 President Jakaya Kikwete speaks during the Economic Conference Second Business Roundtable in Dar es Salaam yesterday with him is Africa Economist Editor Richard Cockett. By Damas Kanyabwoya President Jakaya Kikwete said yesterday that grand corruption cases were difficult to probe and conclude due to among other things inadequate cooperation from international intelligence and crime agencies. Speaking at the second Economist business roundtable in Dar es Salaam, Mr Kikwete said the cases were so intricate to be handled by local authorities alone. He said the scams were schemes that involved many people, both locals and foreigners as well as big corporations, which posed a big intelligence gathering challenge. He cited specifically the External Payment Arrears (EPA) account case, whose suspects have not all been prosecuted due to lack of cooperation from international crime agents. "These cases are so complex and difficult to deal with because we lack cooperation. We have received good cooperation in the radar case because the British SFO has an interest in it but the rest of the cases we have to struggle with the little information we have," he said. He said that despite such challenges remarkable progress has been made and more cases would soon be lined up in the courts. "According to recent surveys such as the Transparent International survey, Tanzania is leading other East African countries in the fight against corruption," he told the Second Business Roundtable for Tanzania meeting, organised by the UK's Economist magazine. President Kikwete was highlighting on the progress made on issues raised during the first meeting last year that included the government's handling of the mega corruption cases. Other areas which the head of state took time to address were the errant power supply system, the reformation process, red tape and congestion at the Dar es Salam port. He said efforts by his government to redress power problems have been impaired by the global economic crisis, which has led to the stalling of major power projects. Mr Kikwete said some power generation projects, including the 300MW project using the Mtwara natural gas had to be cancelled because the lead financier of the project, Barrick Gold, failed to mobilize the necessary funds for its execution. "Had it not been for the global economic downturn, the Mtwara project would have been at an advanced stage. We are currently looking for other international partners to get the project going," he said. He noted that Tanzania faced recurrent power problems such as the current shedding due to lack of surplus power generation capacity which could be used as back up the supply system when conventional means failed. "Our aim all along has been to build surplus power capacity to avoid recurrent blackouts, but the global crisis has frustrated our efforts," he said. He said, however, that some of the promises made in the last year's roundtable meeting as far as power generation has been fulfilled. "We have been able to add about 100MW in Dar es Salaam and 60MW in Mwanza as we promised during the first roundtable meeting last year," he said. He said a 200MW coal to electricity power generation in southern Tanzania is in the pipeline after the Government's intervention broke the political deadlock that had stalled it. He also said power generation from the Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) would start anytime soon after trials are completed. "The owners of IPTL are battling in court over ownership issues, but we told them as they battle in court they should generate power for us," he said. As far as improvement in the Dar es Salaam port's efficiency is concerned, the President said there have been massive improvements, with the waiting days being cut from 23 days to 16 days. The average ship turnaround time has also been reduced from 23 days to 4 days. However senior officials of the Tanzania Ports Authority said that there were still problems with documentation for inland cargo and transport woes for transit cargo due to poor railway and road transport. Mr Kikwete assured investors that reforms will continue to be carried out in all areas of the economy despite the global economic crisis. He said he believed the ongoing global economic difficulties did not happen because the free market economy was the wrong mode of production but simply because there were weak regulatory mechanisms in the international financial system. "I believe there is nothing wrong with the free market economy, but the crisis has taught us on the importance of the role of the state in creating adequate regulatory mechanisms," he said. On bureaucracy, Mr Kikwete said he has ordered the creation of a special taskforce to deal with the issue of speeding up the business registration processes. Mr Emannuel Ole Naiko, the executive director of the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), said the ultimate aim of the taskforce is to reduce the time taken to register businesses from more than 100 days currently to less than 10 days. "We are going to meet on November 12 this year to work on various issues and try to find ways of rooting out delays in registering businesses, and acquiring various permits," Mr Naiko said. Mr Kikwete admitted that bureaucracy was real and was one of the reasons that disappoint investors. "I discovered the other day that for an investor to build a house or a factory in Dar es Salaam, he needs to get clearance from the geological survey office, among others. And I failed to understand why the mining people should be involved in allowing somebody to build a house in Dar es Salaam," he wondered. Discussing President Kikwete's speech, the meeting's special guest, Mr Babatunde Fashola, who is the Governor of Lagos State in Nigeria, said there was a need for Tanzania and other African government to be run like big businesses which put emphasis on efficiency, competitiveness and results. He said he was encouraged by President Kikwete's resolve to continue with reforms. "Reforms are a sign of willingness for self-examination and change. It is a readiness to respond to the dynamics both within and around us," he said. Energy and Minerals minister William Ngeleja said the Government was finalizing the renewable energy policies to facilitate investments in biofuels, solar energy and other renewable sources. "The energy policy of 2003 had some aspects of renewable energy, but we want to come up with a comprehensive renewable energy policy to facilitate investments in that area," he said. He however noted that investors should not be deterred by the lack of the policy because TIC had general investments guidelines that were enough to cater for any investments.