Exchange Rates (December 1 1993):
US$ = 475 – 490 Shillings
£ Sterling = 680 – 730 Shs.
IMPORT AND EXPORT LICENCES NO LONGER NEEDED. The Government has revoked the system which required licences for the import of all goods except for a few related to health and safety and also eight luxury items. Importers will now have to fill in forms available at banks and foreign currency shops but these will be needed only for statistical purposes and will not involve permits. The Customs Department will not in future be able to delay or halt the transport of goods outside the country – Radio Tanzania.
TRAVELLING ALLOWANCE INCREASED. citizens travelling to neighbouring countries will in future be able to take up to US$5,000 instead of US$500. Those travelling longer distances will be entitled to have up to US$10, 000 compared with US$ 3,000 – Radio Tanzania.
LICENSING REMOVED. All licences for the export of goods have been removed. Reporting to the National Assembly on the Government’s intention to raise the country’s tourism potential the Minister, Mr Juma Hamad Omar, said that 43 out of the 63 applications for tourist development received by the Investment Promotion Centre in 1992/93 had been accepted. Some 23 international airlines had applied for commercial service. There had been an increase in the number of tourists from 186,800 in 1991/92 to 201,744 in 1992/93 and this had earned the nation US$120 million compared with US$94 million in the previous year – Daily News.
TANZANIA ALIGNS CURRENCY. The Bank of Tanzania has announced a harmonisation of its exchange rates. The ‘official’ rate, previously used for a range of government imports, western aid and items such as oil will in future conform with market rates used by the private sector since last year – Financial Times.
SECURITIES MARKET. The Governor of the Bank of Tanzania has announced that capital and securities markets, designed ultimately to lead to the establishment of a Stock Exchange in Tanzania, will be established early in 1994 – Business Times.
COTTON MARKET LIBERALISED. The Government has waived price control on cotton; authorised marketing agents and other buyers are being encouraged to offer competitive prices to cotton producers – Sunday News.
ALL IMPORTS SUBJECT TO PRIOR INSPECTION. All imports, not just those of more than US$5,000 in value, as previously, will be subject to pre-shipment inspection in future, the Governor of the Bank of Tanzania has stated. The move is aimed at curbing tax evasion and foul play, he said – Daily News.
FROM QUITE GOOD TO VERY BAD. In a report on World Bank projects in Tanzania, which have cost US$ 1.5 billion between 1961 and 1987, the Bank’s Operations Evaluation Department has summarised the variable success rate which has been achieved. Major problems causing difficulties have included bad project design and preparation, lack of skills and deficient staffing in the Bank and on the Tanzanian side, inadequate government support, undue haste in launching follow-up projects, Tanzania’s inadequate absorptive capacity, and powerful pressures within the Bank to lend more – The Express.
SANCTIONS LIFTED. Tanzania lifted sanctions on trade with South Africa on November 11. 1993. They had been in force since 1963 – Daily News.
A VENTURE CAPITAL FUND LAUNCHED. At the launching of a new Tanzania capital Venture Fund (TVCF) the Chairman of the Parastatal Sector Reform announced that multilateral firms operating in Tanzania would, in future, be exempted from the requirement to pay uniform taxation. The new Fund will participate in equity and quasi-equity joint venture investments in local companies with high potential. Most of the TVCF investments will be in existing businesses seeking second-stage expansion capital. Maximum investment will be US$500,000 – Business Times.
179 UNDER INVESTIGATION. The Minister of Home Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, Augustine Mrema, has stated that 179 companies and individuals are under investigation for alleged misuse of donor funds. He said that his ministry had received numerous complaints from members of the public and Parliamentarians over rampant embezzlement and swindling of donor funds. He cited the funds as being the Open General Licence (OGL), Commodity Investment Support (CIS) and the Debt Conversion Programme (DCP). Dubious means had been employed to obtain precious foreign exchange. He listed the names of the individuals and firms involved – Daily News.
DE BEERS IN CONTROL. The South African firm Willcroft Ltd, a subsidiary of the De Beers corporation , now holds 75% of the ordinary shares of the Shinyanga-based Williamson Diamonds Limited. Its previous shareholding had been 50%. For the last twelve years Williamson Diamonds has been making losses on its annual production of 70,000 carrats of diamonds. Willcroft will pump in about US$3.5 million to rehabilitate the mine – Business Times.
PRICE CHANGES. The price of cement was reduced by 150 shillings per 50-kilo bag and the price of petrol and diesel increased by from 12 to 23 per cent at the beginning of October – Daily News.
FERTILISER SUBSIDY ASSURED. Prime Minister Malecela announced at the end of November that the government would import 185,000 tons of fertiliser for the forthcoming farming season and it would continue to be subsidised at 25%. He said that the national annual demand was 260,000 tons and that 60,000 tons had already arrived. He said that importation of fertiliser remained a headache to the Government because of fluctuating prices – Daily News.
MOBILE PHONES. Tanzania Posts and Telecommunications Corporation and Millcom International have formed a joint venture company to implement and operate a cellular mobile telephone network in Tanzania – Business Times.
NEW INVESTMENT AREAS. The Government has released a new list of 82 areas for investment by local and foreign investors in a revised edition of the Investment and Promotion Act. A detailed list was published in the Business Times indicating that 16 areas were reserved for local investors, 12 were under the ‘ controlled and reserved’ category and 54 were in the general investment category – Business Times.
AVOID THE WORD ‘NDUGU’ IN OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE
Public servants should avoid addressing people with political pomposity like ‘Ndugu’ or ‘Comrade’ in official correspondence because this was against Standing Orders, declared Mr Robert Kisususu, an official in the Office of the Prime Minister and First Vice-President. Officially the style should be ‘Mr’ or ‘Bwana’.
A Member of Parliament should be addressed as ‘The Honourable’ and not ‘the Honourable Mr’, a judge of the High Court should be addressed as ‘The Honourable Mr Justice X’. Mr Kisusu said that terms like ‘capitalist’ and ‘imperialist’ had no room in official public service correspondence and should be reserved for political platforms.
STRONG WORDS FROM CATHOLIC BISHOPS
According to a news agency report at the end of November Catholic Bishops in Tanzania have issued an unprecedentedly critical letter under the title ‘Sincere Intention, the Compassion of Our Nation’ expressing concern about government accountability. They spoke of a nation bankrupt and squandering the public’s assets. This had been caused, the Prelates said, by the greed of a few people seeking to benefit themselves at the expense of others.
The bishops said that the government had ignored the public’s views on the squandering of public assets including land, minerals and wildlife. They called for legal action against those involved.
‘The nation has no orientation because the perception of socialism and self-reliance, which had the intention of guiding the nation towards cooperation, love, mutual respect, and mutual assistance in elevating development, has now been usurped by a community of people who have responsibility and ability with which they are biting off the assets of the nation between themselves’.