Exchange rates: £1 = Shs 1,500 US$1 = Shs 960

Speaking at the inaugural session of Tanzania’s International Investors Round Table, in Dar es Salaam on July 17, an initiative supported by the World Bank and the IMF which seeks to improve the investment climate in Tanzania, World Bank President James Wolfensohn said that the Bank supported President Mkapa’s determination to stay the course, encourage private investment and resolutely address the AIDS crisis in the country. President Mkapa gave Mr Woolfensohn ten reasons why foreigners should invest in Tanzania – political stability, correct economic and fiscal policies, abundant resources, investment incentives, unrestrained transfer of capital and profits, investment guarantees, settlement of disputes, the one-stop Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), Tanzania’s qualified access to Europe and the USA’s AGOA and its geographical location which enabled it to reach a market of over 250 million people in East, Central and Southern Africa. Mr Wolfensohn then added an 11th attribute – President Mkapa’s able leadership. – The East African.

Finance Minister Basil Mramba presented his budget for 2002/2003 on 13th June. It was addressed primarily to the weaker sectors of the economy such as agriculture (allocation increased by 101%) and poverty reduction programmes. Investors’ interests were covered by reduced taxes on imported raw materials and on capital and interest on dividends. He included measures to raise the civil service minimum wage to Shs 53,130 but tax exemption on civil servants’ vehicles was stopped. He announced the launching of an Export Credit Guarantee Scheme and said that taxes on cement, aviation fuel, matches, casinos, land, tyres and bicycles were to go down while the road toll would go up. The inflation rate was targeted at 4.25 per cent this year. Foreign reserves would pay for importations for six months.

Four foreign firms have submitted bids for leasing and managing Tanzanian Railways: Comazar Consortium (Great Lakes Railways) from South Africa, Geneses and Wyoming Inc (USA), Canac (Canada) and SNCF (France). Later this year the four pre-qualified bidders will be invited to submit their plans for leasing and managing the network. The winner is expected to be announced in September – Mtanzania.

Mwananchi (August 1) reported that two of the three firms bidding for the leasing of the Dar es Salaam Water Corporation (DAWASA) had withdrawn as they were not happy about the conditions of the lease and the state of the Corporation. This left BiWater from UK in partnership with Gauff Ingenieure of Germany as the only bidders.

Bill Gates of Microsoft, the world’s richest man, has agreed to become a special goodwill ambassador for Tanzania and help to persuade fellow chief executives of some of the world’s top companies to invest in the country – Daily News.

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