TRANSPORT

by Ben Taylor

Progress with financing for Standard Gauge Railway
The government has made further progress towards raising finance for work on upgrading the Central Line railway, after signing a loan agreement with Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania for $1.46 billion.

The money will go towards the estimated $14 billion cost of the project, which involves replacing the existing colonial-era line from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma and beyond with standard gauge track. Specifically, the Ministry of Finance and Planning said in a statement that the loan would fund the section from Dar to Matukupora, near Dodoma.

“Standard Chartered Tanzania acted as global co-ordinator, bookrunner and mandated lead arranger on the facility agreement that is the largest foreign currency financing raised by the ministry of finance to date,” the statement said, adding that most of the financing would come from Sweden’s and Denmark’s export credit agencies.

The loan repayments are spread over a 20-year timespan, but no details of interest rates were made public.

Road bridge brought down by floods

Kiegeya Bridge near Dumila destroyed by floods


Floods in early March brought down a major road bridge on the main road between Morogoro and Dodoma. This effectively left travellers and traders without a simple road connection between the country’s economic and political.

Following the collapse of the Kiegeya Bridge near Dumila, bus operators were forced to divert via Iringa to connect between Dodoma and Dar es Salaam and individual travellers had to pay higher ticket prices. Those transporting cargo by truck had to wait for a temporary bridge to be completed. This applied also to those connecting from Dar through Dodoma to other major towns including Singida, Tabora, Mwanza, Kigoma, Geita and Shinyanga, and to Rwanda and Burundi.

The Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa, while touring ongoing work to build a temporary replacement bridge, ordered that the acting manager for Tanzania Roads Agency (Tanroads) in Morogoro, Mr Godfrey Andalwisye, be removed from office. The Prime Minister felt that negligence by Tanroads engineers, failing to conduct routine checks on infrastructure, had contributed to the collapse of the bridge.

Mr Majaliwa asked Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) and road engineers in Morogoro and Dodoma to join their forces and ensure that they find an alternative route so that vehicles can start passing the area as construction work on the bridge continues. A temporary crossing was brought into use a few days later.

Dar commuter rail route expansion proposed
The Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) has proposed expanding its network of commuter rail services in and around Dar es Salaam. Their plan involves the construction of six new lines, in addition to the three lines currently providing services to commuters on sections of the Central line and TAZARA line.

The proposed new lines would link Mikocheni-Ubungo-Tazara (route A), City Centre-airport (route B), Mwenge-Bagamoyo (route C), Pugu­Kibaha-Kunduchi (route D), Mtoni-Tabata-Ubungo-Mwenge (route E) and City Centre-Kigamboni via Nyerere Bridge (route F). A feasibility study a preliminary design were completed in December 2019, according to TRC.

TRC’s director of Corporate Planning and Investment, Ms Nzeyimana Dyegula, noted that rapid population growth in Dar es Salaam meant increasing need for commuter transport services.

“The annual population growth in Dar city is an average of 6.1%,” she explained, “with expectation of reaching around 10 million people come 2030 from current six million. The increasing population will also need transport.”

Approximately 6 million passengers (around 20,000 per day) used the existing commuter rail routes in Dar es Salaam in 2018.

Another legal and financial blow to Air Tanzania
Longstanding disputes between Tanzania and various international suppliers and financiers have caused multiple problems in recent years, hampering the revival of the Air Tanzania (ATCL) spearheaded by President Magufuli. The latest case came when a UK court ruled that ATCL will have to pay a Liberian company $30 million in compensation for an aborted aircraft leasing deal.

The case involved a 2013 aircraft-leasing deal from Willis Trading, signed by former ATCL managing director David Mattaka. UK High Court Judge Christopher Butcher ordered ATCL to pay the money plus interest that reportedly amounts to $10 million to the Liberian company.

Willis Trading went to court to enforce its claim after ATCL pulled out of the lease contract and subsequent compensation agreement in 2014. The government had challenged the deal which President Magufuli has publicly condemned.

Mr Mattaka was in March 2016 charged in court with abuse of office and abuse of position for signing the lease without complying with the relevant procurement legislation. The case is still pending in court in Tanzania.

The UK court rejected ATCL’s efforts to shrug off the debt by blaming its former CEO Mattaka.

The lease agreement stems from the Tanzanian government’s 2007 decision to expand and modernize the fleet of Air Tanzania which it partially owned then. The Ministry of Infrastructure Development gave permission to Mr Mattaka to lease aircraft as an interim measure until certain Airbus aircraft were available starting in 2011.

The agreement required the airline to pay $370,000 (TSh 851m) per
month for the used Airbus airplane. But work needed to be done on the plane, which operated flights only between May and December 2008 before being grounded again for additional maintenance work.

According to the judgement, after ATCL stopped paying for the lease, which resulted in a debt due to Wallis of more than $45 million, the parties reached a settlement in August 2013, in which the government agreed to pay $42 million (TSh 96.6bn). After making six payments up until October 2014, totalling more than $26 million (TSh 59.8bn), the government stopped making payments.

Previous cases have seen new or recently-purchased Air Tanzania aircraft impounded in Canada and South Africa following court decisions in favour of companies that have financial claims against the government of Tanzania.

ENERGY & MINERALS

by Roger Nellist

A resolution at last – Barrick acquires Acacia Mining
The long drawn out saga of Acacia Mining in Tanzania is at last drawing to a satisfactory close. Acacia was listed in the UK but 64% of its shares were owned by the Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold Corporation. Acacia operated three gold mines in Tanzania – at Bulhanyulu, North Mara and Buzwagi – but under the government of President Magufuli the firm was accused of wide-ranging irregularities, as we reported in earlier editions of Tanzanian Affairs. Last year Acacia was told in no uncertain terms to pack its bags and leave the country.

After high-level negotiations during 2018 and 2019 between the government and Barrick (in which Acacia was excluded) a Framework Agreement was concluded to resolve the politically and commercially explosive impasse. Under the terms of that agreement Barrick would acquire all of Acacia Mining and its assets and then establish a new joint-venture company in Tanzania to run those three gold mines in which government would assume a free 16% shareholding interest and play a direct role in running the operations. Among the other key terms, the economic benefits from the venture would be shared 50/50 between Tanzania and Barrick.

Barrick then sought to buy out Acacia’s minority (36%) shareholders and so become the 100% owner and controller of the former Acacia. Those negotiations took some months but on 17 September 2019, after certain legal processes were completed in Tanzania and in the UK, Barrick officially acquired the remaining Acacia shares in a deal that reportedly valued Acacia at $1.1 billion or more (a substantial improvement on Barrick’s initial offer of $787 million). Acacia Mining shares were immediately delisted and ceased to be tradeable on the London Stock Exchange and trading of them was suspended on the secondary Dar Stock Exchange too.

Tanzania and Barrick then moved quickly to establish their new joint-venture company. It is named Twiga Minerals Corporation (TMC) and was registered in Tanzania by mid-October. Its headquarters will be in Mwanza.

Apparently, though, there might have been some last-minute hiccups since by the end of the year no other details had been made public. Declining to explain why, the Ministry of Minerals did say that the ban on the export of mineral condensates still stood but confirmed that discussions were still ongoing. Commentators have speculated that two of the important matters yet to be fully resolved and holding up the overall new arrangement are the government’s insistence that gold smelting facilities should be established in Tanzania (so that the country can derive greater value-add from TMC’s gold mining operations) as well as the treatment of the former Acacia executives who were jailed last year for alleged money laundering, tax evasion and other crimes (see TA122 and TA124).

Temporary delay in LNG Project
In November 2019 the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) announced that the government’s negotiation of a Host Government Agreement (HGA) with the foreign oil companies that will develop the large Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project in Lindi had been temporarily suspended. The delay was to allow government to complete its ongoing review of existing Production Sharing Agreements (PSA), which was found to be necessary because some PSA issues apparently contradict or overlap with other contracts. It was not known when the review would be completed and the HGA negotiations could resume but the review was said to be at an advanced stage. However, official sources confirmed that the Ministry of Finance and Planning had already approved TSh 5.07 billion for compensating nearly 700 people who will have to move from the 2,077 hectares in Lindi Region where the LNG complex will be constructed. One of the partners in the project, Shell Tanzania, which also operates two of the offshore licences where large gas reserves have been discovered, said: “The HGA negotiations commenced in April [2019] and are currently on pause…. We are continuing to engage with the government and are supportive of the HGA process as it is an important step in agreeing the key commercial, technical and legal principles for the next phase of this important project”. It is reported that the other project partners, Equinor and Exxon-Mobil, have already invested in excess of US$2 billion in the other gas discovery licence. Equinor Tanzania recently clarified that the LNG project will take up to five years to construct once the HGA negotiations are concluded and should operate for at least 30 years.

More optimistic news on gas
Several government Ministers and officials spoke at the Oil and Gas Congress 2019 that was convened in early October in Dar es Salaam. At it the Minister of Energy, Medard Kalemani, announced that four new licence areas with expected high gas potential were available to the industry for exploration and drilling work. Adjacent to already proven gas reserve areas, they include Ruvu, Western Songo Songo and North Mnazi Bay. According to the Minister they have a gas potential of more than 5 trillion cubic feet (tcf). If proven, the new discoveries would raise Tanzania’s total gas reserves to almost 63 tcf. At the same Congress the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Angellah Kairuki, announced that she would shortly be tabling in Parliament a new Investment Bill that would help create a more conducive business environment. Investors should also benefit from the provisions of an Action Facilitation Bill that will create a single law unit across government to implement regulatory reforms (rather than the current Ministry by Ministry differential approach to such matters).

Delegates at the Congress also heard from Charles Sangweni, the acting Director General of Tanzania’s Petroleum Upstream Regulatory Authority (PURA). He explained that the ongoing review of the 11 existing PSAs was to bring them into line with the provisions of the two new major natural resource Acts enacted in 2017. He told the oil industry delegates to expect that government would announce a fifth competitive bidding round for petroleum licenses in about two years’ time when, hopefully, global oil and gas prices would be stronger than now. He envisaged that more than 20 offshore and onshore blocks would then be open to tender from the local and international petroleum industry. The last such bidding round was in 2013. Separately, Sangweni told reporters that Tanzania’s deep offshore areas have higher potential for gas discoveries than onshore ones but that there is a big disparity in the cost of drilling a single well; offshore in deep water a well may cost $100 million whereas an onshore well would typically cost about $30 million. (For comparison, in the early 1980s when various oil consortia were drilling wells onshore Tanzania and at Songo Songo Island a single well cost in the order of $10 million). According to PURA, a total of 96 wells have been drilled in the search for oil and gas in Tanzania to date and 44 of them have made gas discoveries. The vast majority of the other 52 wells, which were dry, were located onshore.

Songas – its plans and contribution
Songas is the Tanzanian company that generates electricity from gas, primarily sourced from the Songo Songo reserves. In round percentage terms it is owned 29% by TPDC, 10% by TANESCO, 7% by TDFL and 54% by UK-based Globeleq. Songas currently generates 180 Megawatts of electricity (which is roughly one fifth of the total power supplied to Tanzania’s National Grid) but in September 2019 announced its intention, subject to regulatory approval by TANESCO, to increase its generation to 250 MW in support of the government’s industrialisation programmes.

That same month Songas paid as dividends TSh 6.6 billion to TPDC and 2.2 billion to TANESCO. The company’s Managing Director, Nigel Whittaker, announced that since 2012 Songas has paid almost TSh 122 billion as dividends to the government and its agencies as well as 139 billion in corporate tax. He added that since the start of its operations in 2004 Songas has saved Tanzania about TSh 11 trillion in displaced fossil fuel imports that would otherwise have been necessary for power generation in the country.

Other extractives news in brief
Over the last two decades Geita Gold Mines (GGM) has been mining gold using open cast surface techniques. However, to improve production and profitability it now needs to switch to tunnelling and other underground mining methods for which its workforce of about 350 people are ill-equipped. Government is insisting that GGM explain what will happen to its current workers, notwithstanding the fact that the switch to underground mining at Geita is predicted to yield some $230 million a year. GGM executives have responded telling government that, although the majority of its workers are likely to be laid off, the company has begun training about 150 in underground mining techniques.

In 2019 the Zanzibar government signed a PSA with RAK Gas, a petroleum company based in the UAE. The agreement provides for oil and gas exploration work to be undertaken in the Zanzibar-Pemba block and aerial and other pre-drilling surveys have so far been conducted. In September the Zanzibar President, Ali Mohamed Shein, visited the UAE and met with the management of the RAK Gas company to be briefed on the initial survey work. On his return to Zanzibar he was at pains to stress that his government was fully committed to the project saying that, contrary to rumours, it does not flout the Constitution.

BUSINESS & THE ECONOMY

by Ben Taylor

World Bank highlights poverty reduction
The Tanzania Mainland Poverty Assessment Report, published by the World Bank, found that the national poverty rate fell from 34.4% to 26.4% between 2007 and 2018. The report attributed the trend to gradual improvement in living conditions and human capital.

The report also noted, however, that this success is not unmitigated, as poverty was not reduced as much as the population grew. This resulted in an increase in the absolute number of poor people, with 14 million in 2018 living below the poverty line, up from 13 million people in 2007.

Nor has poverty reduction kept pace with economic growth, with the result that inequality has worsened. According to the report, this is due to the concentration of employment in slow-growing sectors and the slow transformation of the economy. Industry and services – with fewer, better educated workers – are growing faster than agriculture, driving the growth and transformation of the economy.

“Vulnerability is still high, with findings showing that for every four Tanzanians who moved out of poverty, three fell into it,” according to the report. “A large number of non-poor people living just above the poverty line are at risk of slipping below it.”

However, the report also noted that country’s strategy to diversify toward solar energy has started to pay off, particularly in rural areas, where 33 percent of households use solar energy for lighting compared to 14 percent in urban areas.

The findings prompted the World Bank to call for more attention for agriculture, which it says offers opportunities for accelerating poverty reduction.

“Since agriculture already accounts for a quarter of total GDP and two-thirds of jobs, enhanced agricultural growth must be part of the strategy to create more and better jobs and alleviate poverty,” said World Bank country director Bella Bird during the report’s unveiling.

The World Bank said Tanzania’s economy will grow by 5.8% in 2020, up from 5.6% forecast for 2019, and growth will rise to 6.1% in 2021. These forecasts are lower than the government’s official estimate of 7.1%.

International concern over national debt
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Brooking Institute have separately expressed concern at rising public debt in East Africa, including Tanzania.

The IMF, in its regional economic outlook report for sub-Saharan Africa, highlighted surging public debt-to-GDP ratios for Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. “An over-reliance on commercial public debt exposes sovereign balance sheets to greater rollover and exchange rate risks,” said the report. “An increase in debt from domestic creditors could crowd out financing for private sector projects,” the report also noted.

According to Brookings, these countries are shifting away from official multilateral creditors to non-concessional, commercial debt with relatively higher interest rates and lower maturities. The trend is raising concerns around debt sustainability given the possibility of higher refinancing risks and foreign exchange risks.

The region’s economies have fallen into a financial fix as they attempt to fund persistent budget deficits and implement mega infrastructure projects. As a result, the economies have resorted to massive borrowing from both domestic and international markets.

Tanzania’s public debt stood at $36.78 billion in February 2019, according to the Bank of Tanzania, representing 37.7% of GDP.

The country’s Finance Minister, Philip Mpango, attributed the increase to new loans secured to fund infrastructure projects such as construction of the terminal III of the Julius Nyerere International Airport, power generation projects, and the construction of roads, bridges and the standard gauge railway line.

CRDB Bank secures green finance accreditation
CRDB Bank has been accredited by the United Nations Green Climate Fund (GCF) for the implementation of green financing in Tanzania. CRDB Bank becomes the 3rd commercial bank in Africa to obtain this accreditation, after Ecobank Ghana and Attijariwafa Bank of Morocco.

The objective of the Green Climate Fund is to “support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing countries using thematic funding windows”. It is intended that the Green Climate Fund be the centrepiece of efforts to raise Climate Finance under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Accreditation followed an extensive due-diligence assessment, conducted by GCF to ascertain the bank’s preparedness in managing climate change programmes. It means CRDB Bank will be able to finance multiple large-scale projects with high impact to the social and economic development of Tanzania.

Tanzanian bureaucracy drove VW to Rwanda?
A former Minister, Charles Kitwanga, told parliament in November that Volkswagon, Europe’s biggest carmaker, decided to invest in Rwanda after attempts to set up a car assembly in Tanzania failed due to ‘deep­rooted bureaucracy.’

Mr Kitwanda urged the current administration to urgently address bureaucracy to attract more investors as the country gears for industri­alization. “The bureaucracy we have in our system is so bad,” he said. “VWs are now made in Rwanda, they were to be assembled here.”

Last year, Rwanda’s first domestically built car rolled off the assembly line at Volkswagen’s new factory in Kigali. Mr Kitwanga says he wasn’t happy with the fact that a neighbouring country was making strides with a business that should have been put up in Tanzania.

In the latest World Bank ‘Doing Business 2020’, Rwanda maintained its position as the leading country in East Africa on the ease of doing busi­ness. Tanzania came a distant 141 out of the 190 countries in the index.

Tigo-Zantel merger
A merger between Tigo Tanzania and Zantel was recently concluded. In a joint interview with Forbes Magazine, the directors of the two companies said customers had expressed concern about the merger and its benefits but were assured that due to the strong integration of the companies the customers will enjoy services of the highest quality.

They said the merger brings together the strengths of both companies as well as providing the best of both Mainland and island, urban and rural areas.

Tigo Tanzania Executive Director, Simon Karikari, said he believes that the merger will create the best cellular telecommunications sector in Tanzania now and in the future, adding that a market with such integrated companies will drive creativity.

Plea bargains encouraged for economic crimes
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Biswalo Mganga, has announced that the government has opened a special bank account to enable those who are accused of economic sabotage and have sought amnesty to return the money to the government. According to Mr Mganga, the account has been opened at the Bank of Tanzania following a government directive.

Mr Biswalo told reporters that people accused of economic sabotage related offences, who seek to be pardoned, will have to deposit the money to the account upon approval by the court.

AGRICULTURE

by David Brewin

Food reserve steps in as food prices rise sharply
The National Food Reserve Authority (NFRA) released 3,000 tonnes of maize into the market in early January, in response to a rapid rise in food prices. Prior to the release, wholesale maize prices in Dar es Salaam had reached TSh 87,000 for a 100kg sack, compared to around TSh 50,000 twelve months earlier.

NFRA chief executive, Milton Lupa, told The Citizen that the decision to release thousands of tonnes of maize into the market was aimed at stabilising prices. “CPB (the Cereals and Other Produce Board) will also release maize flour into the market in Dar es Salaam,” he added.

A number of regions – including Dodoma, Tabora, Singida, Mara and Shinyanga – will be supplied with maize from NFRA’s storage facilities, while Dar es Salaam will receive maize flour from CPB.
Opposition politician, Zitto Kabwe had earlier decried the high food prices and accused the government of failing to set aside adequate funds for buying reserve food. “In October 2015 when the fifth phase government came into office, the country’s food reserves amounted to 253,000 tonnes. However, they have since declined to 55,000 tonnes, which is equivalent to one kilogramme for every Tanzanian,” said Mr Kabwe.

Mr Lupa said an evaluation by the Agriculture ministry showed that 25,000 tonnes of maize were needed to offset any shortage up to March, this year, and 35,000 tonnes to May, adding that NFRA expects to purchase 110,000 tonnes of maize in May and June, this year. He said NFRA will this week dispatch 7,000 tonnes of maize to Zimbabwe in line with an agreement to supply the country with 20,000 tonnes of the cereal.

Two months previous, in November, Agriculture Deputy Minister, Hussein Bashe, had said the government would use the grain reserve to ease food shortages but would otherwise leave market forces to determine how much consumers would pay for the commodities. “When maize prices were low, MPs blamed the government for banning exports at the expense of farmers. This time we have opened up and we will not intervene so that farmers can also benefit from the price increase,” said Mr Bashe, answering questions in Parliament.

“The government will not control prices but will promote more production, reduce production costs and create an enabling environment for competition which will regulate the prices,” he said.

World Bank report focusses on Agriculture
The World Bank’s latest Economic Update on Tanzania – titled ‘Realizing the Potential of Agriculture for Inclusive Growth and Poverty Reduction’ – paid particular attention to the country’s agriculture sector.

The agriculture sector provides livelihoods directly to around 55% of the population (and three quarters of the poor) and indirectly to a further 15% within related value chain functions such as traders, transporters and processors. The report also found that 368,000 new medium-scale farms established in Tanzania between 2008 and 2014 created 13 million days of additional work annually for hired workers.

The authors emphasise the importance of having supportive public policies and spending which attracts private investment, in order to catalyse a transformation in agriculture. “What we are seeing for example is that medium-sized farms grew from 23% of all farm land holdings in the country in 2008 to 35% in 2014; and these are in the 5–20 hectare (ha) range, compared to the typical smallholding of 1–2 ha, whose numbers are decreasing” said Holger Kray, World Bank Agriculture Practice Manager and co-author of the report.

“The current trends in agriculture offer a tremendous opportunity to catalyse private investment, both local and foreign, and raise the incomes of the poor,” said the World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Ms Bella Bird. “For Tanzania to speed up the agricultural transformation process, it should increase the quality and pace of needed policy reforms to make a business environment for agriculture more profitable and predictable,” she noted, adding: “We congratulate the government of Tanzania for improving the environment for agribusiness, by implementing local and national fiscal reforms, including removal of over 100 agriculture fees and taxes and limiting the use of export bans; a huge step forward.” (The Citizen, Daily News)

Cashew payments for 2018/19 still incomplete as 2019/20 market is extended
The government has not quite yet completed payments to cashew nut farmers for their 2018/19 crop. “The government has paid TSh707 billion out of TSh723 billion required, therefore we are supposed to make the remaining payment of TSh16 billion,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Japhet Hasunga, in early January.

The Minister added that the government’s evaluation team was still assessing eligibility of unpaid farmers, noting that payment would be concluded after the exercise has been completed.

This followed a meeting between Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa and cashew farmers from Ruangwa, Masasi and Tandahimba districts, after which the Prime Minister directed the ministry to conclude paying cashew farmers unpaid monies.

It also emerged that Tanzania has exported almost all the raw cashew nuts that were purchased by the government last season (213,000 tonnes out of the 225,000), according to the ministry of Agriculture. This earned $251.7 million (around TSh 580 billion), considerably less than the TSh 720 billion that the government’s chief spokesperson, Dr Hassan Abbas, said the government had spent in purchasing the nuts from farmers. It is also less than half the amount ($575 million) earned from the 2017/18 harvest, largely due to fluctuating global prices.

The ministry also said that over 4,800 tonnes were given to domestic processors, out of which over 800 tonnes have already been processed for export and domestic consumption. “We are looking for buyers of the remaining 4,000 tonnes. Some will be provided to local firms to strengthen the domestic processing capacity,” said Mr Hasunga.

Meanwhile, auctions for the 2019/20 crop of cashew nuts in Mtwara, Lindi and Ruvuma was extended by nine days to ensure that the entire crop is sold.

“This means that farmers remaining with unsold cashew nuts – and buyers who are willing to buy the crop – can continue to trade,” said the Minister, adding: “The government is aware that some farmers still have unsold stocks and they should, therefore, take advantage of the extended period.” Other regions with later harvest seasons, such as Coast, Tanga and other regions were not affected by the new deadline.

At the time of writing, 209,000 tonnes of raw cashews had been sold in the auctions, out of a projected total harvest of 290,000 tonnes in the 2019/20 farming season.

The Ministry is sticking to its promise not to interfere in raw cashew nut prices this year.

TRANSPORT

by Ben Taylor

Growth and growing pains for Air Tanzania

The fleet of aircraft operated by Air Tanzania (ATCL) continues to grow, with the arrival in December of a new Bombardier Q400. This is the eighth aircraft (two Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners, two Airbus A-220-300 and four Bombardier Q400s) to be purchased under the administration of President Magufuli, who has committed to reviving the national airline, with plans (and orders) in place to expand the fleet to eleven.

The plane’s arrival took place a day after President Magufuli had announced that the aircraft, which had previously been impounded in Canada in November had been released. The President did not give details of what was done that led to the release of the aircraft.

According to Foreign Affairs Minister, Palamagamba Kabudi, the seizure was because of a dispute between Tanzania and a South African farmer, Hermanus Steyn, “seeking compensation for a farm and other properties that was nationalized in the 1980s”. Mr Steyn had filed a claim in Canada.

This was the third seizure incident of an Air Tanzania aircraft, and the second in Canada. The third took place in August, when South African authorities impounded an Airbus 220-300 leased by Air Tanzania.

In October, ATCL indefinitely suspended flights to and from South Africa. The reason for the suspension was not disclosed, though it followed on from a temporary suspension that Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Isack Kamwelwe, had described as being “due to xenophobic violence”. However, suspicions remain that the court action in South Africa may have played a role. The temporary suspension was put in place in September, the day after the impounded plane was released.

The Dar es Salaam-Johannesburg route was launched in June 2019, with ATCL operating four flights a week. The maiden flight on the route saw a delegation from the national carrier turned away at the Oliver Tambo International Airport, blamed on a “miscommunication” between the airport and immigration officials. Two Tanzanian Ministers, several ATCL officials and journalists were denied entry into the airport for a welcome ceremony.

Progress with rail revival
Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) started operating a new scheduled train from Dar es Salaam to Moshi via Tanga in December 2019, following successful trial trip one week earlier.

TRC is restarting the route after 25 years with trains that will have eight passenger wagons and the capacity to transport 700 passengers.

Earlier in 2019, freight services connecting Tanga and Moshi were restarted, with the hope of reducing heavy transport of cement on the trunk roads connecting Arusha and Moshi with the coast. The route was briefly suspended in October following rain damage.

At the launch event for the freight route, the Prime Minister indicated that the long-disused section of the line between Moshi and Arusha would also be restored. TRC has also reported that a feasibility study for extending the line as far as Musoma has been completed.

The upgrade of the Central Line to standard gauge (SGR) has also seen progress. TRC Director General, Mr Masanja Kadogosa, said the construction of the first SGR section from Dar es Salaam from Morogoro has reached 72% completion while the Morogoro to Dodoma section has reached 22%. TSh 2.1 billion from internal sources has financed this work.

New ship to be called “MV Mwanza Hapa Kazi Tu”
Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Isack Kamwelwe, has announced that a new ship under construction in Mwanza is to be called MV Mwanza Hapa Kazi Tu.

The new ship, costing TSh 89 billion, will be 92.6 metres long, 17 metres wide and 11.2 metres high, with a carrying capacity of 1200 passengers and 400 tonnes of cargo. Upon completion it will be owned and operated by the government, plying the waters of Lake Victoria.

‘Hapa Kazi Tu’ is a slogan President John Magufuli used during 2015 presidential campaign. The slogan translates as Just work, nothing else.
The minister explained that there is an official government committee that devises names for government projects.

While on a campaign trail in 2015, President John Magufuli promised to build a new ship to replace MV Bukoba which was involved in a tragic accident 1996.

Looks don’t matter at Air Tanzania, says Minister
Deputy Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Atastashta Nditiye sparked laughter in Parliament by stating that the government does not use beauty as a key criterion when hiring staff for Air Tanzania. He was responding to an MP calling on the airline to emulate other carriers by hiring staff with aesthetic qualities that attract clients to improve the airline’s visibility.

Nditiye explained there is a well laid down procedure that governs the hiring of staff at ATCL including that the applicant must be fluent in both Kiswahili and English and must have a certificate in either airport ground service or in-flight service. “Above all they must be of good conduct which has to be proven,” said Mr Nditiye.

AGRICULTURE

by David Brewin

Climate-Smart Agricultural Solutions
The Netherlands Development Organisation is providing $43.68 million for a fund aimed at increasing food production using Climate-Smart Agricultural Solutions in Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda.

Project Manager Joseph Muhangwa has explained that the beneficiaries will be smallholder farmers, farm input providers, small and medium business enterprises, agricultural service providers and cooperatives which deal in the value chain of pulses, oilseeds, potatoes, and cereals in the three countries. The money will mostly go directly to various businesses that meet the relevant criteria during the next five years. The support is designed for businesses that are too risky for financial institu­tions to support, but which meet the project’s expectations. The project manager has been quoted as saying that businesses benefiting from the project must demonstrate involvement of smallholder farmers and be climate-smart or environmentally-sustainable. They should also be all inclusive in terms of women and youth. Most importantly the ideas should be replicable.

The maximum amount available for any given business is $224,000 or 50% of the total business case cost. In Tanzania the beneficiaries will be agricultural entrepreneurs in Mbeya, Katavi, Njombe, Ruvuma, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Dodoma, Singida, Tabora and Manyara regions.

The programme’s aim is to increase production and income for 300,000 farmers and improve business performance for 50 small and medium entrepreneurs and 30 cooperatives. The program analyses the climate risk of food value chains and business opportunities in the three coun­tries.

Livestock and leather
Tanzania’s huge livestock population provides the economy with not only meat, milk and associated products, but also raw hides and skins which are processed into leather.

In the East African region, Tanzania has the second largest herd of livestock (after Ethiopia) and produces 3.9 million bovine hides, 2.5 million goat skins and 2.3 million sheep skins each year. But thousands of tonnes of skins and hides apparently go to waste.

Two Italian companies have signed an agreement with the prisons department and the Public Service Social Security Fund to establish two leather factories in Moshi in the Kilimanjaro region. The companies will invest $24.5 million to construct the two leather factories, managed jointly with Karanga Leather Industries Company in Karanga prison. The factories, one for shoe-making and another for tanneries, will be constructed on 25 acres of land at the industrial area within Karanga Prison and are set to be completed in 16 months. The Italian companies will provide both finance and technology for production of quality leather products for export to Italy and other European countries. The plant is expected to produce 1.2 million pairs of shoes per year.

President Magufuli has also invited Egyptian investors to invest in livestock-based industries modelled on Egyptian technology.

The cashew nut marketing saga
Details were given in the last issue of Tanzania Affairs concerning the intervention by President Magufuli in the marketing of Tanzania’s valuable cashew nut crop to help growers. The search for processes came at a time when the Tanzania government was still holding a huge stock of cashew nuts, estimated at 200,000 tonnes, which it bought from farmers in November last year after it failed to secure foreign buyers. It seems that the Kenyan company, Indo Power Solutions, which agreed to buy 100,000 tonnes of cashews from Tanzania, took the Tanzania government for a ride in the $180 million deal after it surfaced that the company was not known to have transacted any deals worth more than $10m and was a trader of various commodities but not cashews.

Cashew nut sales on the international market dropped 63% to $196.5 million last year, compared to $529.6 million in the 2017 trading period. Recent figures show that exports fell from 329,000 tonnes in 2017 to 120,000 tonnes in 2018.

Cashew nut production during the 2017/2018 season stood at about 240,000 tonnes; out of which, some 213,000 tonnes were produced by the government. Some 90% of the cashew nuts are exported in their raw form owing to the country’s low processing capacity.

To increase local returns, Tanzania is looking for investors to add value on the nuts and process them into products such as cashew nut cheese or butter, sweets, fruit drinks or distilled liquor lubricants.

The government has set aside 540,000 ha of land for agricultural expansion and industrial development.

Banana research
More than 20 varieties of bananas are grown in Tanzania, although not all are suitable for human consumption. They are popular due to their non-seasonal nature and, apart from playing a key role in ensuring food availability all year round; the crop provides an annual income for households of about $1,500.

Furthermore, the banana plant trunk can be cut up for use as livestock feed, and its fibres can be used for fencing, making paper and crafting various works of art.

Late last year the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute confirmed 16 new drought and disease resistant banana hybrid varieties in the banana producing regions of Mbeya, Kilimanjaro and Kagera.

Tanzania is also making plans for a new banana research centre. Belgium has pledged $1.29 million for a Centre of Excellence to be based at the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology in Arusha.

Boosting rice output
Tanzania’s main food crops are maize, rice, sorghum, millet, legumes, nuts and other tubers, horticultural crops and coconuts, all produced largely by smallholder farmers.

Maize and rice are the most important staple food crops grown in most parts of the country. About two million farmers grow rice.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Matthew Mtingumwe, has announced a new 12-year plan to raise annual rice production from 2.2 million tonnes to 4.5 million tonnes. The strategy will be implemented between the government and with funding from the World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency and the African Development Bank.

Over the years crop production has been dropping partly due to low adoption of recommended agricultural production practices and lack of fertilisers. The 12-year plan to boost rice production can be viewed as a means of forestalling a food crisis in the region, with many African countries south of the Sahara counting below average rains and drought which has caused a sharp rise in cereal prices.

15 Coffee species facing extinction
According to botanist Aaron Davis writing in Nature, 15 species of coffee out of the 75 species grown in the East African coffee sector are threatened with extinction. Tanzania has been facing a dry season in many growing areas.

The Tanzania Coffee Board has estimated that about 450,000 families in Tanzania grow coffee. Arabica coffee accounts for more than half of the country’s production. It exports over 12,000 metric tons annually – mainly to Japan and Germany.

Poor agricultural practices among the mainly smallholder producers are causing the decline of Arabica and Robusta so that attention is very slowly being drawn back to wild coffee because of its tolerance of changes in the weather and resistance to pests and diseases. Robusta is becoming more popular because it resists coffee leaf rust in many locations, has higher productivity and lower market prices. It also has a high caffeine content.

The UN Environment Programme has identified improper land use, like slashing and burning, and the excessive use of chemicals as lead­ing causes of habitat and forest loss. In East Africa, commercial house construction has taken over even arable land that was initially used for farming. It is often straight, hard and termite resistance which makes it a favourite for use in minor construction. These, coupled with diseases, are causing growers to opt for wild coffee as it is a more attractive alter­native for the sustainability of coffee.

Game hunting blocks
Tanzania is introducing a new auction system for big game hunting blocks. The government says that this is aimed at emphasising trans­parency and curbing corruption in parts of the tourism industry. The Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority is auctioning off 26 hunting blocks for the first time. Eligible hunting companies will be allocated a maximum of five hunting blocks, each in different categories. Most of the hunting blocks are allocated within the 50 km² Selous game reserve ecosystem, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its elephants, lions, zebras, black rhinos, giraffes and other species. Revenues from the tourism sector fetched $2.43 billion last year, up from $2.19 billion in 2017. Tourist arrivals totalled 1.49 million last year compared with 1.33 million a year ago. The government has said that it wants to bring in one million visitors a year by 2020.

BUSINESS & THE ECONOMY

by Ben Taylor

Parliament passes TSh 33 trillion annual budget
MPs overwhelmingly endorsed the TSh 33.1 trillion budget for the 2019/2020 Financial Year, a slight increase from 32.4 trillion in 2018/19. All CCM MPs endorsed the budget while the majority of opposition MPs voted against. Government expenditure is expected to reach 22.7% of GDP in 2019/20 estimates, up from 22.3% in 2018/19.

Of this amount, TSh 11.7 trillion is allocated for development projects. The minister said the development plan focuses on attaining 7.1% growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019 compared to 7.0% in 2018. The budget also aims to maintain inflation at between 3% and 4.5% and increase national revenue collection to 13.1% of GDP in the 2019/20 fis­cal year from this year’s 12.1%.

According to the Minister, Tanzania cemented its middle-income status last year by raising its per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to $1,090, and noted that a strong year for agriculture had kept inflation down at 3.5%, the lowest level in 40 years.

Dr Mpango said the government seeks to put emphasis on the establish­ment and development of industries, especially those exploiting domes­tically produced raw materials. He said the focus will be on development of industrial clusters, Tanzania Automobiles Manufacturing Company Ltd (TAMCO) in Kibaha, Coast region, hide industry in Dodoma and special investment zones in Bunda, Dodoma and Benjamin William Mkapa in Dar es Salaam.

The budget also includes plans to spend TSh 9.7 trillion to service the public debt, which reached over TSh 51 trillion as of April, up from 49.9 trillion a year earlier. The Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr Philip Mpango, assured MPs that the debt remains manageable, according to the recent assessment by the ministry. He added that the present value of external debt against GDP is 22%, well below the allowable maxi­mum of 55%.

The Minister attributed the debt increase to the new loans that the coun­try acquired for execution of various development projects. These pro­jects include construction of Terminal III at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA), upgrading the central railway to standard gauge, implementation of power projects as well as construction of roads and major bridges.

The Minister further announced that the country’s foreign reserve stood at US$ 4.4 billion, equivalent to 4.3 months of imports, as of April 2019. The amount exceeds the government target of four months’ worth of imports, according to Dr Mpango.

The budget also presented an opportunity for the government to refute claims by a section of MPs that business in the country was struggling due to poor business and investment climate. Dr Mpango and his Deputy Dr Ashatu Kijaji said the business environment in the country was superb and that more investors were willing to start businesses in Tanzania.

“Some MPs have been providing unrealistic statistics on business in the country, but the current statistics in the ministry show that businesses which are being shut are 16,252 while new businesses that are estab­lished are 147,817,” said Dr Kijaji. According to her, closing business was a normal practice worldwide and that some of the reasons for that were change of business, failure to compete with others, huge debts and accumulated taxes, among others.

As he presented the budget to parliament, Dr Mpango said the govern­ment was proposing to review 54 different fees and levies with a view to reduce and abolish some of them. “This is the first phase of implemen­tation of the blueprint for regulatory reforms to improve the business environment,” he said. The minister added that apart from the review of fees and levies, the review will also address the elimination of the existing duplication of responsibilities among the ministries, regulatory authorities and institutions.

Pauline Gekel (Babati, CCM) described it as “a special budget for Tanzanians”, that “has touched every mwananchi, poor, ordinary and big traders.”

Julius Karanga (Monduli, CCM) called it a win-win budget. “We hope people are going to receive it well because it is friendly budget that will help people generate income,” he said.

Opposition MPs were less positive, however. Acting Shadow Minister for Finance and Planning David Silinde said it was sad to see that 40% of the 2019/20 development budget had been directed to three projects namely Stiegler’s Gorge, the standard gauge railway and the revival of the Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL), instead of investing more on projects that touched directly on people’s lives.

He told the national assembly yesterday that despite the various changes in economic systems that the country has undergone, it has failed to remove the country and its people from abject poverty. He added that the government has failed to stick to its own five-year devel­opment plan, which states “that commercially viable projects should be left to the private sector, unless there is strong justification for doing otherwise”.

He said the opposition would have allocated 20% of the total budget to agriculture, 20% to education, 15% to industrial development and 10% to the water and health sectors respectively.

ACT Wazalendo leader Zitto Kabwe said the new budget is set more “to develop things rather than people” – infrastructure projects rather than public services. He also said that implementation of the budget is challenging because budgeted funds are not released in time or in full.

Beyond parliament, Honest Ngowi, an economist from the University of Mzumbe, cautioned against unrealistic budget that cannot achieve the intended revenue targets. “The government has collected only 87% of its revenue target in the current budget. And yet, it has increased projected collections to TSh 19 trillion in 2019/20,” he said. “The budget for 2019/20 is to a tune of TSh 33.1 trillion, more than what we can raise. It is so unrealistic, it would be good to use what we have.”

Tax authority chief demoted amid business complaints
In June, President John Magufuli unexpectedly sacked TRA commis­sioner general Charles Kicheere, and appointed Mr Edwin Mhede to head the tax agency. Mr Kicheere was demoted to the position of Regional Administrative Secretary of Njombe Region.

Sacked along him was the Trade and Industry minister, Mr Joseph Kakunda, who was replaced by Mr Innocent Bashungwa.

The move came a day after the president met with business leaders from various parts of the country. The hundreds of traders spent more than 10 hours at State House, complaining vehemently about the dif­ficulties they were facing doing business: an “unfair” taxation regime, “harassment” by security and regulatory agencies, “bureaucracy”, and “corruption” dominated cries from the traders.

The meeting echoed the apparent gloom among the business commu­nity that has persisted for some time now, even as the government was trying to restore confidence and push positive reforms.

Mr Kichere, who was at the meeting, found himself in a tight spot as TRA received most of the flak, roundly accused of harassing traders through over-estimation of taxes and threats. “Many of TRA workers who deal with tax do not know what they are doing. They have turned themselves into the law,” complained Francis Noni, a businessman from Kondoa District.
The President appointed Mr Edwin Mhede as the new head of the tax agency. Mr Mhede becomes the fifth Commissioner General to serve since the election of President Magufuli in October 2015.

“If the systems and institutions are functioning properly, then he (the president) wouldn’t have to convene such meetings,” said Prof Haji Semboja, a former lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam. “The President is supposed to make sure the systems work so that he gets ample time and energy to implement major national programmes like the industrialisation drive,” he added.

Professor of economics, Honest Ngowi, says the causes of the mess that businessmen exposed before the president should be looked at beyond TRA and individual capabilities. “It is the question of the whole institu­tional and legal framework in creating a favourable business environ­ment and investment climate,” he said. “Issues of ethics, the fear of God, bribes and over-estimations of taxes go beyond TRA. If we don’t touch on the kernel of the matter we may keep on changing individuals a thousand times without results.”

Small fall in national poverty rate
The poverty rate dropped from 28.2% in 2011/12 to 26.4% in 2017/18, according to the latest survey by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). This was the headline finding of the government statistics agency’s lat­est Household Budget Survey. 14 million Tanzanians spend less than TSh 49,000 each a month, putting them below the official basic needs poverty line.

The report also concluded that TSh 161 billion is needed each month to enable the total population to meet life’s basic needs, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says. The amount has increased from the TSh 103 billion estimated in 2011/12, partly due to inflation and partly to the country’s growing population.

Three out of ten (31%) rural dwellers live below the basic need poverty line compared to 16% of those living in urban areas. The rates had dropped from 33% in rural areas and 22% in urban areas in 2011/12.
Poverty remains most prevalent in Rukwa Region, where about 45% of its residents live below the accepted poverty line. Other areas with high poverty rates are Simiyu (39%), Lindi (38%), Geita (38%), Mwanza (35%) Kigoma (35%), Tabora (35%) and Singida (34%).

Aside from basic needs poverty, 8% of the Tanzanian population spends less than TSh 34,000 monthly. This means that they fall below the food poverty line.

The food poverty line increased from TSh 26,000 per month in 2011/12 to TSh 34,000 in 2017/18. The basic needs poverty increased from TSh 36,000 to TSh 49,000 per adult per month, in the same period.

Compared to the 2011/12 survey, there is a change in the distribution of poor people. The proportion of poor population in rural areas decreased from 84% in 2011/12 to 81% in 2017/18, while the proportion of the poor who live in Dar es Salaam doubled from 1.5% to 3.0%, and the propor­tion in other urban areas rose from 14% to 16%.

Harsh economic realities for female-headed households
An increasing number of families across Tanzania are now being headed by a woman, a recent national survey has revealed. According to the 2017/18 Household Budget Survey (HBS), the proportion of female-headed families increased from 25% in 2011/12 to 28%, having already increased from 18% in 1991/92.

The survey also found that poverty among such households has also jumped from 20% to 27%. Previously, female-headed households had been richer, on average, than male-headed households, but this no longer applies.
The Household Budget Survey was conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in partnership with the World Bank, UN Women, Unicef and Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

Ms Mwajuma Hamza, director of the Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce, says development interventions should focus on ensuring equal opportunities for women and men in all sectors. “Tanzania needs to wisely carve a future where both women and men can thrive even in the event that one has to assume the responsibility of taking care of the family,” Ms Hamza said.

The Statistician General at NBS, Dr Albina Chuwa, said the rise in female-headed households is not peculiar to Tanzania, but a global trend that is most pronounced in Southern Africa. (The Citizen)

British High Commissioner shares concerns on the business climate
The British High Commissioner to Tanzania, Sarah Cooke, said in May that British investors yearned for policy predictability, less bureaucracy and faster approval of new investments or projects. Speaking at a Tanzania-Britain business dialogue forum in Dar es Salaam, she said there could be a severe lack of business confidence in Tanzania over the next few years if nothing is done to improve business environment predictability.

The event brought together government officials, British investors and UK government representatives to discuss the business environment in the country. The UK is the second biggest investor in Tanzania after China with investments valued at $5.64 billion (TSh12.9 trillion), accord­ing to Ms Cooke. “Investors plan for the long term,” she said. “They need to know the rules of the game will not change abruptly without consultation.”

However, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Investment), Ms Angellah Kairuki, said policy reforms were inevitable, and urged investors to be ready to adopt to policy changes so that they could make good decisions on investing in Tanzania.

“Changing policy has its challenges, and everybody should understand that the government’s intention is to strike an appropriate balance between the rights and obligations of investors,” she said. “We need to provide sufficient protection to foreign investors while at the same time ensuring that legal obligations are upheld.”

Over 900 British companies are operating in Tanzania, with the British High Commission stating that nearly 300,000 jobs were created in the past 15 years. British investors have invested in diverse sectors, includ­ing energy, infrastructure and construction, manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and agri-business, consumer goods, financial services and telecommunications. (The Citizen)

TRANSPORT

by Ben Taylor

Dar Airport Terminal III open
President John Pombe Magufuli opened the Terminal III building at the Julius Nyerere International Airport on August 1, 2019. The new terminal has the capacity to handle 24 large planes concurrently, and six million passengers annually.

Together with the other two terminals, the entire airport will now be able to handle more than 8 million passengers each year. This represents a significant increase on the airport’s busiest year to date: 2016, when 2.5 million passengers passed through. It is expected that Terminal III will handle international flights, while Terminal II will in future only operate domestic flights. The old international terminal is now due for refurbishment and technical upgrading.

The construction of the new facility cost the government a reported TSh 705 billion (US$ 282m). Of this amount, the Tanzanian government paid 15% in cash, with the balance provided in the form of loans from a range of lenders including HSBC bank. “Terminal three has been built using taxpayers money. As it stands, they need to feel the benefit of their money,” noted the President. He therefore directed the Works, Transport and Communication Ministry to ensure that all business at the new premises should be Tanzanian-owned.

Construction of the new terminal building, by Dutch contractors BAM Group, began in 2014. It had initially been due to be completed in 2016, but this was delayed, reportedly due to shortage of funds and a dispute over VAT payments. President Magufuli ordered a probe into the airport project in February 2018 after project costs and construction schedules were derailed.

Terminal I was originally constructed in 1956 by the colonial govern­ment, with capacity of handling 500,000 passengers a year. Terminal II, with capacity of handling 1.5 million passengers, opened in 1984. (The Citizen, The Guardian)

Hello Mumbai, London to follow soon?
The inauguration of Terminal III at JNIA came two weeks after the relaunch of long-haul flights to Mumbai, India by the national carrier Air Tanzania. A month earlier, the national carrier launched a direct flight from Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg in South Africa. This brings to seven ATCL’s number of international routes.

Passengers on the inaugural flight included the Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Mr Isaak Kamwelwe, senior govern­ment officials, ATCL staff and journalists.

Mr Kamwelwe expressed optimism that the new route would help in cutting the time spent by passengers who had to connect through Nairobi, Dubai and South Africa. He added that the Mumbai route is of great importance in cementing relationships between Tanzania and India, noting that it would spur the growth of tourism and trade between the two countries. “India has high potential as a tourists source market, and we must take advantage of this by ensuring that we maxi­mally utilize the available opportunities,” the minister said.

The Mumbai route – to be operated three times a week – heralds the airline’s foray into the Asian market. Other planned routes are Bangkok, Thailand, and the Chinese city of Guangzhou.

Air Tanzania spokesperson Josephat Kagirwa said they are also plan­ning flights to London, to Lagos in Nigeria and Accra, Ghana. In addi­tion, a route to Nairobi, Kenya is anticipated.

Significant moves towards establishing the London route have also been completed. The airline has secured three landing slots per week for London’s Gatwick Airport. It is expected that flights will connect both Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro Airports with Gatwick on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday each week.

Before this route can begin operations, ATCL need to secure European Union safety standards certification. If Britain leaves the EU later this year as planned, this will require two signatory bodies to approve instead of one: a double headache for the airline, which only regularised its membership with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently, by paying back owed membership fees. However, ATCL has already completed the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).

Currently, there is no direct route from London to Tanzania. British Airways stopped operating the route after four decades in 2013, explaining that it was unable to do so at a profit.

Bagamoyo port development stalled
Talks on a proposed $10 billion development of a port at Bagamoyo have stalled. According to Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) director gen­eral Deusdedit Kakoko, this is because investors’ conditions were likely to deny Tanzania maximum benefit from the project. “The conditions include investors’ demand that they be allowed to set charges for cargo passing through the port. They also want tax exemption on various goods in addition to being compensated for any losses incurred during implementation of the project,” he told The Citizen newspaper in early May.

An initial agreement on the project was signed in 2013 during a cer­emony witnessed by President Jakaya Kikwete and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The project was to have been executed by China and Oman’s State General Reserve Fund (SGRF).

In November 2017, SGRF announced that the project would entail the construction in phases of a maritime port built to international stand­ards. The first phase was planned to include the construction of four berths, two of which were to have been set aside for containers, one for multiple uses and another for support services. However, these plans now seem to be in doubt.

According to Mr Kakoko, it was odd that the developers sought tax exemptions on the grounds there was insufficient cargo in the country. “If the country has insufficient cargo, why do they seriously consider Tanzania for investment in railways and ports? The condition requiring the government to compensate the companies in case of losses is the worst. Who knows that they will incur losses? This demand can render the country bankrupt,” he said.

According to him, the doors for discussions were still wide open, noting that the interests of Tanzania will have to take priority. “We are waiting for them. We will be ready for equal participation provided they relax their conditions. They should just bring in the money and be ready to share it with the country, but they should forget about getting 100 per cent preferential treatment,” said Mr Kakoko.

A month later, the stakes were raised further when President Magufuli weighed in on a related matter. The President expressed his strong opposition to the proposed Bagamoyo Special Economic Zone, a 3,000-hectare port and industrial city north of Dar es Salaam.

According to the President, allowing the Bagamoyo initiative to pro­gress would halt expansion of other ports including Tanga and Mtwara, and would entail long tax breaks for investors in the special economic zone. The government has also argued that it would also lose some sovereignty in the management of the project.

The President suggested corruption may have been involved in the government’s payment of billions of shillings as compensation for local residents to create room. “This project has very difficult conditions. They are exploitative and awkward. We can’t allow it,’’ said President Magufuli.

China is in the process of establishing transport and trade infrastructure across Africa, Asia and Europe under the ambitious ‘Belt and Road Initiative’. The Bagamoyo investment was an important part of this global strategy to strengthen the country’s trade and other interests, drawing on the ancient Silk Road trading route.

Opposition leader Zitto Kabwe said President Magufuli was opposed to the project from the beginning. “The conditions he is saying is just diversionary,” said Mr Kabwe, adding that the project would put Tanzania in the world maritime map.

The Speaker of Parliament, Job Ndugai who has publicly expressed sup­port for the Bagamoyo project and challenged the government to roll it out, yesterday backtracked. “We didn’t have information about the stringent conditions that were attached to the project, as was explained by the President,” he said.

Horrific petrol tanker explosion in Morogoro
More than 80 people have been confirmed dead and 50 others serious injured after a fuel tanker exploded into flames at Msamvu in Morogoro town on August 10. Many of the dead were reportedly motor cyclists who were at the scene collecting the spilled fuel and food vendors who conduct their business along the Dar-Morogoro Highway.

The accident occurred about 200 metres from the Msamvu Bus Station in Morogoro town. “The lorry overturned and spilled fuel over 100 metres along the road,’’ said Morogoro Regional Commissioner, Dr Steven Kebwe.
President John Magufuli said he received the news with deep shock. “I have been saddened to learn such a big number of Tanzanians who lost their lives due to the accident. I am extending my condolences to the families of those, who lost their beloved ones and I wish a speedy recov­ery for those, who were injured in the accident,” he said in a statement.

AGRICULTURE

by David Brewin

“Operation Korosho” (Cashewnuts)
Tanzania’s cashewnut industry began to face serious problems in the last four months of 2018 which is the main harvesting season.

Performance of Tanzania’s traditional exports (source: Tanzania Revenue Authority & Bank of Tanzania)

President Magufuli and the Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT), the regulator and main supplier of inputs, were in dispute. The President decided to remove CBT’s main source of income – a levy on raw cashew exports – and place the funds with the government. The Treasury already owed CBT over TSh 200 billion (US $86m) earned from a levy in previous years which had not been transferred. The CBT proposed a floor price of TSh 1,550 per kilogram, but the farmers considered this too low as it was claimed to be lower than the cost of production.

There was also a dispute over Tanzania’s main and long-standing policy of processing cashews locally rather than exporting them raw. The crucial issue was the low price international buyers were offering for raw nuts, compared with the exceptionally high prices of the previous year, when farmers were paid up to TSh 4,500 per kilo.

As the situation deteriorated, President Magufuli himself went to Mtwara, the centre of the industry, when the main harvesting season began in November and took over personal control of marketing of the crop. He sacked the chairperson of CBT, the entire Cashew Board, the ministers of agriculture and trade and others.
Meanwhile, Tanzanians had become aware of the importance of the crop to the overall economy. In the 2016/17 year cashew nuts brought in a sum in foreign exchange which was greater than Tanzania’s combined earnings from coffee, cotton, tea, cloves and sisal.

Tanzania has about 700,000 hectares of cashew nut farms. According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau and Ivory Coast are Africa’s top producers. Tanzania ranks fourth. However, it has only very limited processing facilities, many of which are old and outdated, for processing the crop before it can be marketed worldwide.

After examining the situation on the ground, the President announced that the government would purchase all cashew nut stocks from farmers and insisted that all the collected crop must be moved from primary cooperative unions for storage to government warehouses. It became known as ‘Operation Korosho’.

The government, then under pressure to find foreign buyers before the nuts started to rot, hurriedly signed a memorandum of understanding in early February with a little-known Kenyan – registered firm, Indo Power Solutions Ltd – for the purchase of 100,000 tonnes. These were bought and paid for.

Cashew nut factory in Mtwara (Ama Lorenz – Euractiv, Germany)

The President then ordered the Agricultural Development Bank to buy the remaining output and sent 75 army trucks to take the nuts into government depots.

The President announced also that the government had handed over the few still functioning cashew nut factories to the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces. But virtually all the factories were found to be needing rehabilitation and so the lack of spare processing capacity forced a change in ‘Operation Korosho’. Instead of looking for markets for processed cashews, the government began to look for markets for raw nuts. However, it is understood that the President’s efforts to sort out the issues were handicapped by the difficulty in identifying which people were eligible to pay, as many farmers had already sold their cashews to local unlicensed traders.

At the end of March 2019, the new Minister of Agriculture announced that the government intended to prosecute at least 780 people for trading in cashew nuts without business licenses.

Although Tanzania produces less than 10% of the world’s total cashew output, it benefits from seasonality by being the biggest producer of the nuts during the October – January harvesting period. Other cashew producers from West Africa usually harvest their crop in February or later.

Private and public sectors
Ever since former President Nyerere in the sixties, influenced by his visits to China, introduced his version of African socialism into the agricultural sector, small scale smallholder farming has remained dominant in Tanzania’s agricultural sector.

When President Jakaya Kikwete took over power he introduced a policy called “Agriculture First” (Kilimo Kwanza) in 2009 which was designed to introduce an element of foreign venture capital investment into the private sector so that there could be the possibility of accelerated production of certain crops. It was a radical policy to continue to support smallholders while promoting, at the same time, large foreign venture capital investment. One of the first projects was supported by a US $47m matching grant fund backed by a World Bank loan of US $70m.

Another project is the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) to support smallholders while promoting foreign venture capital investment. The government insisted that any fixed assets which investors purchase would, at some future date, be transferred to local rural district councils, which would hold the property on behalf of smallholders. SAGCOT is another ambitious public-private partnership, designed to attract global agribusiness where investors develop huge segments of fertile land.

Since coming to power in 2015 the Magufuli government has taken control of fertiliser and seed inspection and bulk procurement and re-empowered cooperative unions in crop purchasing thus undermining private exporters and contract farming. The dramatic takeover of the cashew market by the army on President Magufuli’s orders, have shown the deep commitment of the party and state apparatus to maintaining public control.

Land leases
A very large Swedish investment in an integrated sugar project with an out-grower component failed to take off after years of negotiating with the government over land and water rights.

A second project – a 5,800 hectare rice and maize growing venture, which was expected to be an effective out-grower project – is now up for sale after defaulting on a US $20m loan from the US overseas Private Investment Corporation. This has also not been a success. Eventually, the government decided to ask the World Bank to discontinue the project after prolonged wrangling over how the fund should function with the result that no grants were ever made.

Tanzania is also working on a new policy that will reduce leases of land owned by foreigners from 99 years to 33 years. The policy is likely to be introduced fairly soon. Foreigners will only be allowed to acquire such land after they have registered with the Tanzania Investment Centre.

Tanzania Tea auctions
Tanzania sells between 5,000 and 8,000 tonnes of tea each year through the Mombasa auctions in Kenya. In a bid to cut costs incurred in transporting tea to Mombasa for sale the government is planning to establish an auction in Dar es Salaam. The Tea Board of Tanzania stated that local tea auctioning would reduce transport costs, raise income for farmers and boost business at the Dar es Salaam port.

Higher yielding bananas
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, in partnership with Tanzania’s national research centres have developed hybrids of the popular banana called Mchare. These hybrids were bred with disease resistant wild bananas and are high yielding, with high levels of resistance against key pests. The hybrids can increase yields by between 30% and 50%, resistance to at least three major pests and diseases. The diseases that are being addressed by the project are Fusarium Wilt, and Black Leaf Streak disease (Sigatoka), nematodes and banana weevils.

BUSINESS & THE ECONOMY

by Ben Taylor

Audits, exchange rates and growth: economics in dispute
A series of arguments flared early in 2019 on economic and related matters, as the state of the national economy became an increasingly significant political battleground.

Average exchange rate TSh to US dollar (source oanda.com)

In addition to controversies linked to the annual audits of public sector institutions by the Controller and Auditor General (see Politics section, this issue), arguments arose around exchange rates and GDP growth figures. Tanzania’s leading English-language newspaper, The Citizen, apparently provoked official concern when it reported on a dip in the value of the Tanzanian Shilling. The government suspended the newspaper for 7 days, citing an article published on February 23rd with the front page headline: “Closely monitor fall of Shilling, experts caution.” The offending article reported that the TZS-USD exchange rate had slipped to TSh 2,415 per dollar at some forex bureaus, from 2,300 a week earlier, and stated that the shilling’s value had reached its lowest point for three and a half years. The paper then quoted the responses of Prof Honest Ngowi of Mzumbe University Economics Department and Dr Charles Sokile of Oxford Policy Management, a research and consulting firm, to the situation. Both economists argued that the situation should be monitored, that further depreciation would have economic consequences for Tanzania, and that the government should take steps to protect the Shilling. They pointed to large-scale infrastructure spending, this year’s decline in cashew nut exports and a fall in foreign investment as likely reasons for the Shillings’ reported woes.

A few days later, the government closed at least 50 foreign exchange bureaus in Dar es Salaam, citing concerns that the bureaus had been “flouting the law and regulations governing the business.” It is unclear whether this action was prompted by or linked to The Citizen’s reporting in any way. Indeed, the government carried out a similar clampdown on forex bureaus late in 2018 in Arusha. In both cases, the government argued that many forex bureaus were not properly licensed and that many were engaged in tax evasion.

The Citizen’s suspension attracted the attention of foreign diplomats. In a coordinated response, eight High Commissioners or Ambassadors – including the UK High Commissioner to Tanzania, Sarah Cooke – posted similar statements on Twitter. Their statements noted that their normal morning routine had been affected: “Usually I start my day with a fresh copy of the Citizen. Unfortunately it has been banned for a week. Is this sanction proportionate to the offence purportedly committed?”

It also drew attention from The Economist, which reported that in response to the suspension, “capital is reckoned to have fled to Kenya” and that “foreign-exchange controls are widely said to be imminent”.

The Shilling has since recovered most of its lost ground against the dollar – see chart above. The second economic row to break out focussed on the latest forecasts of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) for growth in Tanzania, and their latest report on the state of Tanzania’s economy. The IMF lowered its forecast for Tanzania’s economic growth to 4% this year and 4.2% in 2020 from a previous forecast of just under 7% in each case.

The government forecasts the economy will grow 7.3% in 2019 after an estimated 7.2% expansion last year, helped by investments in public infrastructure.

The IMF’s forecasts were first released on April 9, contained in data tables within their World Economic Outlook but without any accompanying explanatory text or commentary. This commentary was to be found in their 2019 Article IV Consultation Report on the Tanzanian economy, which had been due for publication around the same time. However, a statement posted on the IMF website noted that publication was not yet possible, as “the [Tanzanian] authorities have not consented to publication of the staff report or the related press release.”

The government said that it did not block the IMF report. Minister of Finance and Planning, Philip Mpango, told Parliament that government and the IMF were still discussing the report. “We are in talks with the IMF to sort out the problem before official publication,” he said.

Dr Mpango was responding to a question asked by opposition (Chadema) MP, Frank Mwakajoka: “The government blocked the IMF from publishing its report on the country’s economic status in violation of freedom of expression. What is the government afraid of?”

Even as the Minister gave his response, a leaked copy of the report was already freely available online. The key paragraph is worth quoting in full: “Macroeconomic conditions have remained stable in 2017–18 but there is uncertainty about the pace of economic activity. Headline inflation has been below the central bank’s medium-term target of 5% and the exchange rate has been broadly stable. Official GDP data point to about 7% annual growth, but there are serious weaknesses in the data and other high-frequency indicators point to a more subdued pace of economic activity. For instance, during the 2017/18 fiscal year (July to June), public sector wages, credit to the private sector, and imports fell by 5.3%, 2.9%, and 7.7% in real terms, respectively, while tax revenues grew by 3.1% in real terms.”

The report further distinguished between a “baseline scenario”, in which the current direction of policy is maintained, and an “alternative scenario”. The lower headline growth forecasts relate to the baseline scenario: “a weak business environment and limits to the scale of public investment (from insufficient financing), together with the implementation of projects that may not have high rates of return are likely to constrain annual GDP growth to below the 6.3% average rate recorded between 1998 and 2017.”

The IMF noted that instead, “a more ambitious set of fiscal and market-friendly reforms and appropriate public investments would lead to higher potential growth [of around 6-7% per year]”. This alternative scenario would entail improvements to tax administration and expenditure management, revisions to recently-enacted legislation including the Statistics Act and mining laws, reforms to strengthen governance and lower the cost of doing business.

Finally, the report notes that the Tanzania government was more optimistic about growth prospects: “They considered that their recent estimates of economic growth properly reflect economic activity and envisage that real GDP growth will be in the order of 7-8% per year in the short to medium-term. They believed that their policies were based on robust public investment plans and would be supported by a rationalisation of regulations affecting the business environment.” This government view was also expressed by the Finance Minister when presenting the government Budget Framework for FY2019/2020 to parliament in March. Dr Mpango painted a positive picture about the state of the national economy. Dr Mpango said the government will continue to implement both fiscal and monetary policies to continue sustaining the economy. He said GDP grew by 6.8% during the third quarter of 2018, and that the inflation rate remained “low and stable, at 3% in January this year”. The minister also said extended broad money supply (M3) also grew by an average of 6.6% in 2018 compared with an average of 5.5% in 2017, due to increased lending to private sector.

He said the local currency has continued to remain stable against global major currencies due to implementation of monetary policy, the use of gas to generate electricity, which has reduced fuel imports and improved local production of goods which were previously being imported.

2019/20 Budget
In presenting the 2019/20 budget to parliament, the Finance Minister, Dr Mpango, said the government would focus on four key areas: expanding the country’s industrial base, improving public services, investing in mega-infrastructure, and reforms to strengthen the business and tax environment.

On industry, the Minister noted that “key projects will include construction of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant, establishment and development of special economic zones, [establishment] of factories that will add value to agricultural, livestock and fisheries products as well as those that are aimed at adding value to minerals and other natural resources.” On infrastructure, he pointed to construction of the hydroelectric project at Stieglers Gorge on the Rufiji River, improving Air Tanzania Company Limited and building the standard gauge railway line linking Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, Kigoma, Mwanza and Rwanda.

The cost of the plan comes in at TSh 33.1 trillion, up slightly from 32.5 trillion in 2018/19. This increase of 1.8% is the lowest budget increase in recent years, lower than increases seen a year ago (2.5%), in 2017 (7.5%) and 2016, for President Magufuli’s first budget (31%). It reflects concern expressed by politicians and economists that ambitious plans to increase tax revenues in previous years were unrealistic.

This amount (33.1 trillion) will be raised from a combination of taxes (58%) and non-tax revenues (9%), local government taxes (2%), development partners (8%), concessional loans (7%) and non-concessional loans (15%).

Vodacom leadership
In early April, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vodacom Tanzania, Hisham Hendi, was arrested by Tanzanian authorities, along with eight others. Mr Hendi and the others were questioned by law enforcers allegedly for fraudulent use of network facilities, and some of the group, including Mr Hendi, were subsequently charged. The statement of charged mentioned a “pecuniary loss” to the Tanzania government and the Tanzanian Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) amounting to over TSh 11 billion. Other charges included importing, using and installing communication equipment as well as distributing frequency numbers without proper licences.

A week later, Mr Hendi and the others were released as part of a plea-bargain arrangement between Vodacom Tanzania and the Tanzanian authorities. “We pleaded guilty, we had a plea bargain with the Director of Public Prosecutions, and we pleaded guilty,” said Rosalynn Mworia, Vodacom Tanzania’s Director Corporate Affairs. The arrangement included making a TSh 5.28 bn (US $2.29m) payment to the government, and secured the release of all those who had been arrested.

Mr Hendi, an Egyptian citizen, had only been officially in position as CEO for a week before his arrest, though he had been acting CEO for around six months. His appointment came after Ms Sylvia Mulinge, a Kenyan citizen, failed to secure a work permit from the Tanzanian authorities. She had been appointed to succeed Mr Ian Ferrao effectively from June 2018, who had served in the role for three years.

The board of Vodacom Tanzania appointed Jacques Marais as acting managing director.