…But the Tanzania Government Questions Objectivity of This Assessment.
By Jaston Binala.
Tanzania improved its business environment in 2015 by making a number of economic reforms, but the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report 2017 has ranked East Africa’s biggest nation by land size at number four in the East African Community, beaten by Rwanda as the region’s leader, and Kenya as number two, and Uganda at number three.
Tanzania improved its environment and moved from position number 144 held last year at global level to position number 132 this year. Rwanda leads in the EAC but holds number 56 at global level, Kenya is second but holds number 92 in the world while Uganda holds number three in the region but is placed at number 115 at global level. The ranking was based on an assessment of the ease of doing business in 190 countries across the globe, including 48 Sub-Saharan Economies
The Tanzania Government complained on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at the launching of the 2017 report, this ranking does not appear to be objective. .
The Assistant Director for Business Environment in the Prime Minister’s Office, Christopher Mramba, argued that some of Tanzania’s reforms were not put into consideration during this ranking, adding that the assessment on cross border trade appears to be unfair because the Bank assessed in Tanzania only activities at the Dar es Salaam port while there were over 12 other border posts handling cross border trade.
“We feel the objectivity must be improved,” Mramba said. “When we take trading across borders for example, we find that some countries which have very little to do with trading across the border are ranked higher than some of the countries where the borders are really extensive.
“For instance there are countries with only one border post, and we are doing over a dozen; and that tells us when comparing two countries of that nature we are not comparing the like. It is like comparing oranges and apples,” he said.
Responding to these concerns raised by the Tanzania Government, and talking via video conference from Washington DC, Manager of the Doing Business project in the World Bank, Rita Ramalho confirmed the assessment was only done at the Dar es Salaam port but added that the World Bank was aware Tanzania had made a number of important reforms.
The Doing Business Report shows Tanzania improved its business environment in 2015 in especially three areas: access to credit information, getting electricity and starting a new business. The country’s worst performance was on trading across borders, protecting minority investors and resolving insolvency issues.
In East Africa the report was launched simultaneously in Nairobi, Kampala and Dar es Salaam via video conference with senior World Bank staff in Washington DC. Senior Government officials from the sister East African nations attended the launching.
The special guest from the Tanzania Government attending the report launching was Barney Laseko, Co-ordinator, Private Sector Development Program in the Prime Minister’s Office. The Co-ordinator told the World Bank the Tanzania Government is working closely with the private sector in the country to improve the business environment, adding that even more would be done to make the environment better.
“With the fifth Government priority of industrialization, our concerns with the business environment are even higher than they were before,” Laseko said. “There are four critical areas the Government is working on at the moment; the business licensing regime, land reform, making sure that businesses are registered easily; wer are also working on people’s registration.”
He said the Government believes these four areas are important for a more sustainable business environment which will be serving the economy. “We hope for a higher rank in future,” Laseko said.