Job creation, improved infrastructure and standard of living are some of the direct benefits that Tanzanians enjoy today, thanks to investors. It is through profitable investments in the country that the government can collect sufficient taxes and invest in provision of decent social services—education, health and water. But most unfortunately, with the mafisadi syndrome still on many minds, some Tanzanians seem to have developed a suspicious stance on investors.
This is most unfortunate. Fine; not all the firms or individuals from foreign lands wishing to invest in the country are all that genuine. That is why we have a vetting mechanism in the form of the Tanzania
Investment Centre (TIC) where all interested investors submit their applications and profiles for verification and acceptance. While we share the concern of many Tanzanians, it would be wise to first welcome interested foreign investors and know their interests before deciding to ake them in our fold. Such generalisation of investors as not being prudent is not good.
As Export Processing Zones Authority Director General Adelhelm Meru rightly said in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, “Sometimes Tanzanians perceive investors negatively—true, there are some few investors who abuse the country’s rules and regulations but that cannot justify generalisation of all investors as being bad.”
We, Tanzanians, needy as we are, can opt to snub and belittle investors, but at our own peril. Investors will easily relocate to other friendly countries and proceed with their businesses, leaving us jobless, technologically deficient and capital-starved.And, if hating of the riches persists, we will ultimately demoralise hard work spirit and innovation because gradually Tanzania will become a society in which working hard and earning more will amount to sinning.
It’s high time all Tanzanians joined hands to denounce real thieves, the corrupt and tax evaders and at the same time praising the hard working -- and welcome -- innovators and investors.