Source: Daily News of 19 Nov 2010 THE government has rejected the findings of a report showing continuous drop of the country's performance in agribusiness. Dubbed 'Policy, Regulatory and Institutional Environment for Doing Agribusiness', the report projected a further slump next year. The USAID-sponsored report was jointly prepared by Booz Allen Hamilton and Louise Williams, in collaboration with the Research on Poverty Alleviation, REPOA, the Economic and Social Research Foundation, ESRF, the Agricultural Council of Tanzania, ACT and other stakeholders. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Marketing, Ms Joyce Mapunjo, said the report which was presented by Ms Emily Friedberg from the company that prepared the document was outdated. "Some of the facts referred to in the report do not reflect the reality. The government has done a lot to increase efficiency in different sectors which are currently doing well, but still referred to in the report as performing badly," the PS said. Researchers should have taken the trouble to seek consultation with government authorities to shed light on several aspects where much improvement has been done. Citing the Protecting Investors category, the PS said the country recorded a five point slump from being number 88 in 2009 down to number 93 this year. Ms Mapunjo demanded clarification on the assumed failure by the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) to support genuine investors. "The government is not sleeping. Well studied implementable strategies have been devised to add crop value which means good business to the farmers. Let's give time to sectors performing well to sustain the tempo," she said. The report which quoted the World Bank rankings involving 181 countries, surveyed on doing business related categories placing Tanzania number 126 last year and 131 this year. At least 11 categories were examined and according to the report, the country registered slight gain on Employing Workers only, meaning it is not difficult to get a job in Tanzania. In all other 10 categories the trend was continual drop. On the list of categories employed to gauge the country's performance in the last 24 months, according to the report, the country has performed poorly. The categories with the number of points drop in bracket include Doing Business Overall (-5), Starting a Business (-9), Dealing with Construction Permits (-3), Employing Workers (12) and Registering Property (0 increase). Other categories are Getting Credit (-5), Protecting Investors (-5), Paying Taxes (-7), Trading Across Borders (-3), Enforcing Contracts and Closing a Business (both 0), meaning no improvement and the country was ranked number 113 on the last two categories. Earlier, Mr Robert Cunname, Mission Director, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), said it was undeniable fact that Tanzania has the potential to feed itself and the region. "It is clear that the fundamental dynamics constraining economic growth will remain in place until policies that are not having their intended effect, the weeds chocking off broad-based property, are rooted out," Cunname said. Implementation of marker-based reforms has been slow and uneven, laws, regulations and policies were overlapping and non-transparent and glaring gender inequalities were perpetuated through legal regulatory and customary frameworks, holding women back from achieving their full potential. "Despite the introduction of 'Kilimo Kwanza,' lack of progress on key business climate reforms led to a 5- point drop in the World Bank's Doing Business, putting Tanzania in the bottom third countries survey. 'Kilimo Kwanza' addresses Infrastructure Development aspects which include irrigation schemes, establishing adequate post-harvest storage at all levels, establishment of market centres at ward levels, improvement of the railway and road network, among others. However, a heated debate dominated the session thereafter as some of the participants said the report was released at the right time and was absolutely relevant as it gave a true picture and therefore serving as a wakeup call. Mr Felix Mosha said rules and regulations guiding crop business should be fair to all farmers. "Somebody grows sisal, he is allowed to export. I grow wheat but I am not allowed to sell my crop to markets that offer better prices, why is this so?", he asked. His remarks won support from Mr Damian Gabagambi from REPOA who said the report remained relevant, adding, the time the survey was carried out the alleged improvements by the government were non-existent. "We are all interested in coming up with better strategies that would move the country forward. We should use the report as a mirror to make improvements where unimpressive performance had been recorded," he concluded My Take: Oneni madudu ya Mtu wenu kwa mwaka uliopita, mimi ninachoka, Kweli KILIMO MWISHO. Huyu mmama anatetea nini anadhani hawa researchers wamedanganya wakati ndo hali halisi. Dr. Slaa chukuwa hii na utoe mwelekeo mbadala wa kuleta mabadiliko kwenye sector hii muhimu.