Dar es Salaam. The minister for Industries, Trade and Investment Charles Mwijage has defended the government against accusations made by Mr Aliko Dangote that President John Magufuli’s policies scare away investors.
Mr Mwijage told The Citizen on Monday that the government’s investment policies are clear, transparent and aimed at ensuring that the government also benefits from the country’s resources.
In an article published by the Financial Times on Monday Mr Dangote, a major investor in Tanzania, was quoted as saying that the government has pursued policies that seek to “seize a majority share of assets.”
“They have scared quite a lot of investors and scaring investors is not a good thing to do,” Mr Dangote told the Financial Times Africa Summit in London on Monday, according to Financial Times.
Dangote, who own a $600 million (Sh1.3 trillion) cement factory in Mtwara, specifically mentioned a “backdoor plan” by the government to take up to 16 per cent of an investor assets for free.
But Mr Mwijage clarified that the “free carried interest” is a requirement for companies operating in the extractive industry that had existed in Tanzanian laws even before the recent review of laws.
“Investors in the extractive industry are obliged to seize16 per cent free carried interests to the government to ensure the country benefits from the natural resources,” Mr Mwijage said, adding; “I really expect Mr Dangote as one of major shareholders in the country to be conversant with our laws. Once a company comes and invest in the extractive sector, the government shares should not be less than 16 free carried interests. This is not wrong at all as the natural resources are ours,” Mr Mwijage told The Citizen in an interview with The Citizen.
Even as he insisted that the government will make sure that all investors in the country are abiding by the country’s laws, Mr Mwijage said he did not believe that Mr Dangote would be the one to castigate the country’s investment climate in the negative manner.
This, Mr Mwijage noted, was due to the “special attention” in which the Nigerian investor receives from the Tanzania government in his Dangote Cement factory.
“Dangote has not had any problems here. Whenever he encounters any difficulties the whole government rushes to his help. You remember when he had issues last year we were all available to help his cement factory,” Mr Mwijage noted.
In the Financial Times article, Mr Dangote was quoted as advising President Magufuli to “have a look at” his policies.