BUSINESS NEWS

Exchange rates (early April): US$ 1 = TShs 695 £1 = TShs 1,130

Under a new Bill passed by Parliament which is designed to reduce unemployment, employers will be severely punished if they employ foreigners in a variety of jobs after May 1 1999. The government has published a list of 24 businesses whose operation will be reserved for Tanzanians. The list includes retail and sub-wholesale shops, small hotels with up to 20 rooms, restaurants, photography, chicken rearing, carpentry, bakeries, milling machines, laundry, radio repairing, guest houses and bureau de change. In another list of 13 other businesses including consultancy services, cargo handling, catering services, publishing, printing, shipping agencies, supermarkets, garages and cinemas, foreign operation will be allowed only if Tanzanians own 50% or more of the business ­Daily Mail and Daily News.

Tanzania is among the top 20 countries in the world in GDP growth. The world economy is likely to grow by 1.3% on average this year but Tanzania is anticipating a growth rate of 5% -Sunday News.

President Mkapa officially opened the Resolute Company’s Golden Pride gold mines at Lusu in Nzega on February 6. It is the country’s first large scale gold mine. The Bulyankhulu (Geita) and Kiabakari (Musoma) mines have been re-opened. As the gold boom in the Lake Victoria region gathers pace, Danish investors have already disbursed $610,000 for a new ship on the Lake; it is under construction -Daily News.

The Bank of Tanzania suspended operations of the Greenland Bank in Dar es Salaam on April 1 following similar action taken at its Uganda HQ.

The TAZARA railway has extended its service to Kitwe in Zambia to speed up the transportation of copper. The new service is expected to reduce transit time for cargo between Dar es Salaam and Kitwe from 10 to 4 days. China has recently provided 24 new coaches and six buffet cars for the line -New African.

Precisionair has bought 3 new 19-passenger planes from the Czech Republic and has started new routes to Moshi, Mafia, Inringa and Mbeya -Daily News.

Ralli Estates Ltd. in Tanga Regions has planted 1,000 hectares of casuarina, teak, eucalyptus and acacia trees at its Mjesani-Bamba estate under its diversification (from sisal) programme -Daily News

Asian Kilombero M.P. Abbas Gulamali surprised participants attending a workshop on poverty in Dar es Salaam in December when he said that he was glad that Mwalimu Nyerere had nationalised Asian property in 1967. He thought that otherwise Asians would now be subjected to intimidation by the indigenous people who were becoming continually poorer than their Asian counterparts. He said that during the era of Nyerere businessmen like himself were nicknamed ‘Makupe’ but were now respectfully called ‘the informal sector’.

According to an article in the South African ‘Business Day’ (February 15) government bureaucracy and an unpredictable investment climate have led to the loss of at least two $2 million ventures -in 1992 the South Korean Hyundai car company took its money to Botswana and a Middle Eastern farmer who wanted 10,000 h of land to grow mangoes was denied the land by local authorities. The Executive Director of the Tanzania Investment Centre Samuel Sitta was quoted as giving the example of an official of South African Breweries, the majority shareholder in Tanzania Breweries, who was held up for hours at Dar es Salaam airport because he didn’t have a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

Minister of Tourism Mrs Zakhia Meghji has announced that the tourism sector was now contributing 16.5% of Tanzania’s GDP, was earning 50% of its foreign exchange and employing some 35,000 people. In 1998 there were 401,000 tourists compared with 295,000 in 1995.

Three months before the three East African countries are due to sign a formal treaty under the ‘East African Co-operation’ which would harmonise tariffs, resistance against the plan is said to be mounting in Tanzania. Opposition is coming from businesses, intellectuals and some high ranking government officials -The Guardian.

For the first time in 23 years Tanzania recorded a single-digit inflation rate (9.1%) in January. The Bank of Tanzania said that this was largely due to the government’s prudent monetary and fiscal policies. In December 1995 inflation was 29.7%. But commercial lending rates remain high at 20-25% while savings interest is only 3.5% -7.0% -East African.

Mtwara, the second deepest port in Africa, is to be developed into Tanzania’s first modem free port from June this year following the signing of a memorandum between five South African companies and the governments of Malawi and Tanzania -East African.

TANESCO suffered a reverse in its attempts to avoid paying the Malaysian­ financed Independent Power Tanzania Ltd. (IPTL) the $3.6 million a month it agreed to pay for electricity (under a 1995 agreement) when, on March 5 the High Court instructed it to pay until the tariff dispute is settled through international arbitration. T ANESCO has appealed. Prior to this IPTL was losing $3.6 million per month in capital charges on the $150 million project. Both sides have agreed to arbitration on the dispute -Guardian.

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