BUSINESS NEWS

Exchange rates (Mid-August): £1 = TShs 1,010 to 1,090
$1 = TShs 580 to 638

Tanzania’s Markets and Securities Authority has approved provisional licenses for five brokers/dealers (Tanzania Securities, Exim Securities and Investments, Rasimali, Solomon and Orbit Securities) to trade on the country’s STOCK EXCHANGE which is scheduled to be launched in Dar es Salaam in October. Meanwhile, Tanzania Oxygen, a leading manufacturer of industrial and medical gases became in April the first company to launch its prospectus; it will sell 30 million shares to the public – Business in Africa and East African.

Following the recent $1.7 billion debt relief agreement at the Paris Club in February (TA No 57) Tanzania has now reached AGREEMENT WITH FOUR OF ITS 12 MAJOR CREDITORS (France, Germany, Norway and Austria) and has assured donors that it will service its external debt promptly and ensure that it remains credit worthy. It hopes for further debt relief at the Paris Club next year – East &can.

TWO NEW BANKS opened for business in mid-August – the indigenous Akiba Commercial Bank with 207 indigenous shareholders and Rabobank of the Netherlands as its partner, and Exim Bank (Tanzania) catering primarily for corporate clientele with 80% Tanzania local shareholding – East African.

The government has reduced CORPORATE TAX from 35% to 30% as a ‘compensatory measure to mitigate revenue obligations while giving relief to taxpayers’ – Business Tunes.

The NATIONAL BANK OF COMMERCE has collected some Shs 1.13 billion from 28 debtors under its loan recovery drive during the past few months – Sunday News.

Tanzania has completed the installation of sophisticated new CARGO AND PASSENGER X-RAY SCREENING EQUIPMENT at the Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro airports in response to concerns expressed by airlines flying into the country – East African.

Some 2000 peasant families living along the proposed Songo Songo Gas Pipeline will receive Shs 2 billion in COMPENSATION for damage to their land and for resettlement – Daily News

“ENGINEERS, of whom there are now more than 5,000 in Tanzania, are being under-utilised as there are now more than the country can afford” said Dr. Strato Mosha, Director of Inter-Consult Ltd (he is also Vice Chairman of the Tanzanian Chapter of the Britain-Tanzania Society) at a recent seminar. He went on to say that the ratio engineers:technicians:artisans was 1:3:9 which indicated the critical shortage of technicians and artisans. Engineers had to work without technical support and might actually have to do work best left to technicians. However, engineers constituted only about 0.5% of the total waged employees compared to 4-6% in developed countries – Financial Times.

The POPULATION of Dar es Salaam has reached 4.5 million. Regional Commissioner Brig. Gen. Hassan Ngwilizi said that this population growth was a serious threat to the wellbeing of city residents – Daily News.

Speaking at a dinner in honour of visiting Chinese Premier Li Peng on May 13 President Mkapa defined TANZANIA’S ECONOMIC POLICY as the ‘development of a market economy with internal characteristics’. Tanzania wanted to learn from Chinese experience. “Economic and social justice, respect and dignity must never be sacrificed at the altar of unguided capitalism” he said.

The Dar es Salaam firm A C Gomez has bought and started rehabilitating the KUNDUCHI BEACH HOTEL – Daily News.

The Minister of Finance announced on August 14 that the government had suspended issuing LOAN GUARANTEES to public enterprises in a move to control the country’s debt burden. Cabinet approval would be needed by ministries and parastatals before any further debt could be incurred – Daily News.

NEW AID for Tanzania: Shs 30 billion from the EU for rehabilitation of areas affected by refugees and Shs 1.6 billion for education; Shs 17 billion from the Netherlands for rural development and other projects and Shs 7 billion for dredging Dar es Salaam port; Shs 16.7 billion from Japan for three bridges on the Mtawara-Mingoya road and for power supplies; Shs 15 billion from the UN Population Fund; Shs 3.2 billion from Switzerland for two development funds and a further Shs 15 million to fight a cholera epidemic in Dar es Salaam which has claimed scores of lives; $7.8 million immediately for balance of payments support and probably a further $23.4 million later in the year from Sweden; $24 million from Denmark for the development of Tanzania’s private sector; a $1 5.7 million loan from China to revamp the TANZAM railway and for other projects.

Tanzania’s new 3 16-page TELEPHONE DIRECTORY, the first since 1992 was issued (free to those with telephones) at the beginning of May. Some 92,760 telephone lines are now connected in Tanzania – Business Times.

The debt ridden Dar es Salaam University Press and University Bookshop have been merged and are being privatised as BUP (1996) Ltd. – East African.

There has been a sharp down-turn in PASSENGER AND CARGO BUSINESS ON THE DAR ES SALAAM – ZANZIBAR SEA ROUTE following the harmonisation of import tariffs between the mainland and the Isles; this has made it no longer profitable to buy goods in Zanzibar and sell them on the mainland. But one company, Azam Marine, has invested $4 million in two new speed boats which travel at 30 knots and have a capacity of 180 people each. The company is banking its hopes on the novelty and newness of the boats and the growing tourist boom in Zanzibar. Some of the other boats on the route are old and have been known to stall sometimes midway between the two points – East African.

TANZANIA’S 1997/98 BUDGET (June 19) emphasised promotion of the private sector and investment, especially in mining, but there was little of help to the agricultural sector and duty on fertiliser was increased. In the interests of greater simplicity, the present customs duty bands have been reduced from seven to four and sales tax bands from six to four. Minister of Finance Daniel Yona announced targets of 5% growth (4.2% in the present year) and 10% inflation. He said that he would raise revenue of Shs 695,000 million (17.1% of GDP) and spend Shs 666,842 million; indebtedness to local banks would be reduced by Shs 59,695 million. Features of the budget included reduced taxes and duties on some beer (much heavier taxes on European beers) and soft drinks but a new 25% tax on bottled water. The cost of transport has been increased; there is a 30% excise duty on four-wheel drive vehicles. The hotel levy, withholding tax on business insurance claims, excess profits tax on single trade transactions, sales export tax and stamp duty on mineral exports have been abolished. Civil servants will get a modest pay rise.

Zanzibar Finance mister Amina Salum Ali said that implementation of the 1996/97 budget in the Isles had been impaired by a severe shortfall in revenue caused largely by the boycott by many donors following the last elections. But the government had taken effective action to build up and consolidate the economy while at the same time widening the economic base in order to make it more equitable. Revenue from tourism had increased substantially.

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