Rostam Aziz: Why investors should flock to Tanzania...


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INTERVIEW. In recent years, Tanzania’s economic reforms in mining, tourism, energy and aviation have attracted global attention, with a section of stakeholders arguing that the reform strategies being employed are adversely affecting the ease of doing business in the country.

However, for business tycoon Rostam Aziz, the ongoing reforms—led by President John Magufuli—should be seen as a stepping stone, rather than an aversion to foreign and local investors wishing to do business in Tanzania.

Mr Aziz, who recently met and held talks with President Magufuli at State House in Dar es Salaam, spoke to Business Week Reporter, Syriacus Buguzi, as he gave his view of the state of doing business in the country. Here are the excerpts;

QUESTION: Mr Aziz, you recently held talks with President Magufuli. Soon after the meeting, you told the media, that Tanzania must do away with ‘distortions’ in order to promote economic growth. What did you exactly mean?

ANSWER: When I said we need to do away with distortion, I actually meant that in the past, there was no level playing field in doing business. The laws and regulations were not being followed. There were problems. In fact, it’s now time for most investors to come to Tanzania in large numbers because things are changing for the better due to reforms that are being undertaken now. That’s exactly what I meant by distortion.

So, how does that distortion affect business?

You see, in a business environment where some pay tax and others, either evade or pay less tax, it means there is no fair competition. Here, one who evades tax will benefit at the expense of one who pays tax. In the long run, a few businesses achieve more at the expense of others. Putting a level playing field means ensuring that everyone pays tax.

That’s exactly what the government is emphasizing. We are now at a stage where the success of someone doing business will depend on his/ her ability to do business—not the ability to evade tax or the other way round. I want to give you an example. Someone may be importing a certain commodity from a country where there is an incentive on the factory that produces that community. If this person imports the product and doesn’t pay tax, it means no one can compete with this trader. This leaves little room for local business growth and reduces chances of employment. The jobs are actually being created in that foreign country, not locally. This industrialization policy that President Magufuli is emphasizing cannot be achieved if there is no equal playing field for business and fair competition.

As you say this, a World Bank report indicates that Tanzania has dropped in the ease of doing business ranking compared to the previous years. What’s you comment on that?

We can’t be told by someone foreign about this. We know our country better. What I know is that Tanzania is open for business. ….I am a Tanzanian and I’m doing business here…we also have testimonies; that as long as one is following due procedures, one’s business will thrive. It’s nonsense to say that Tanzania is not business friendly…

Mining investment in Tanzania has been at the centre of disputes. You have experience in business, do you think we, as a country, are taking the right approach?

Let me tell you…a businessman always protects his/her interests at all cost…this of mining, the government must intervene as it has done, and that means protecting the interests of the country.

What is needed now is equitable investment. That the investor gains and the government gains. There is no day the government said it doesn’t want to invest in mining…what I know is that the government has been striving to ensure that there is equitable investment…for the benefit of the people…products of the extractive industry are a finite commodity, when it’s gone it’s gone….so in this situation, that’s why I find it important that at least a significant amount should remain home…

What would you advise on the government’s approach on Stiegler’s Gorge project?

Well, Stiegler’s Gorge is a very important project for the country. People are saying we have gas, so why should we have Stiegler’s Gorge? And, am asking them: Why wouldn’t we have both? This country has been so blessed to have this opportunity for hydroelectricity. Why should we let the water flow freely without using it?

But it is said not to be friendly to the environment and more so, wildlife. Should we disregard that?

That’s just a matter of putting the right argument on the table. As Tanzanians, we need hydro power. There is the Stiegler’s Gorge project and all we needed was someone to decide.

President Magufuli has decided. Hydro-power is low cost. To grow the economy you need low-cost energy. Those who oppose this project should be aware that Tanzanians need electricity. What I know is that the government has made the right assessment of the environment and put the right argument on the table. In America, for instance, the country has resumed production of power using coal, despite all the opposition about that decision. Americans needed energy and they decided to do, why not us with Stiegler’s Gorge?

What does it take to bring investors to Tanzania?

Every one of us, every Tanzanian has a role to play in bringing investors to Tanzania. The media also has a role to play in wooing the investors. You can do it by simply saying Tanzania welcomes investment and that Tanzania has a lot of opportunities, that Tanzania is friendly to the investors and that there is a level playing field for doing business…an investor who comes from USA, UK or China can do business in a level playing field…having a level paying field is more important than simply telling the investors to come…an investor should be certain that when he/she puts up a factory here, he/she should be sure that no person can come up and evade tax and kill his factory…the investor should be certain on his/her future…when you have predictable tax regimes, and rule of law whereby all investors follow the law, it means the investors will come…

If you have all this, you have rule of law and a better investment environment, you can build an independent economy…if you have equitable investment opportunities for all investors, you can collect tax, you don’t need donors in the long run.
 
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"all heir the king"...naona ameshikwa pabaya
 
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"all heir the king"...naona ameshikwa pabaya
Anacheza tuu makidakida.. anajua kabisa investers wont believe him..
1. Kauza shares zake vodacom kahamishia south
2. Migodi imefungwa na yeye ndo mkodishaji mkuu wa mitambo migodini.. so mitambo iko dormant, meaning yuko affected directly.. alafu ndo huyo huyo ashawishi investors kuja bongo?
3. Sote tunajua Akram Aziz is free.. blood is thicker than water.
 
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cmoney

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Anacheza tuu makidakida.. anajua kabisa investers wont believe him..
1. Kauza shares zake vodacom kahamishia south
2. Migodi imefungwa na yeye ndo mkodishaji mkuu wa mitambo migodini.. so mitambo iko dormant, meaning yuko affected directly.. alafu ndo huyo huyo ashawishi investors kuja bongo?
3. Sote tunajua Akram Aziz is free.. blood is thicker than water.
ah ah wazungu wanasema it comes a time a men got to do what a man got to do
 
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Huyu kapewa ubalozi Wa kifala ili amkomboe ndugu yake kutoka kesi ya uhujumu uchum!
 
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Ngoja nipate kahawa kwenye kijiwe cha muuza kahawa .Muhudumu niongezee kahawa Tafadhali!
 
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Wanasema usichanganye dini Na siasa
Mi nasema usichanganye biashara Na siasa
 
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Tusimlaumu jamani, unadhani atasema nini? give and take. eti tunaujuwa uchumi wetu mtu asituambie ingekuwa imesifiwa ungesikia umesoma kuhusu Tz. Ila mimi nakupa hongera kucheza na upepo na bahati sababu ya history yako hukuwekwa ndani ila kafara ndugu yako kama dhamana fanya hivi sisi tutafanya hivi, we all know.
 
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ROSTAM! You either invest or SHUT UP! We unauza hisa zako unadanganya wengine??....
 

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