Despite your majibu mazuri mheshimiwa, I would like to clarify some things. I have posted some of my clarification points in your blog site. I stand to be corrected if I am wrong, but what I gleaned from your message is that we shouldn't blame the government for the fall in agricultural output or other issues for that matter. I agree with your point of view, particularly on each Bongoland responsibility in making economic strides.
While it could be enticing to jump on that band wagon, because truly kila mtu anastahili kubeba mzigo wake mwenyewe, we ought to remember the fact that our political leaders vied for these positions with a promise to make Tanzania better. We are obligated to question, critique and challenge when our leaders are not delivering. It is our civic right.
But the most compelling reason of all is the fact that, and I quote Ned's own blog post "the government creates the environment & the infrastructure that will support production....". I am glad that Mr. Ned has acknowledged that, because that is the basis for my argument. Given Mr. Ned's own acknowledgement as to the government's responsibility, the question of the day is: has the Tanzanian government done enough to ensure that there is an environment and infrastructure that will support not only production, but aggressiveness in trade? My conviction is that has not happened. The Tanzanian government has not done enough.
So when we talk about "environment" in this specific case what are really talking about? We are talking about a plathora of things. We are talking about setting up a legal framework that will create a business environment conducive for walalahoi (try getting your business licence in Tanzania and tell me if you can achieve that easily) , business educational programs to educate the mass, loan guarantees, etc.
Let's get real. The majority of folks in Tanzania do not have adequate education. May be we have forgotten the fact that even enrollment in secondary schools shot up less than five years ago. So why would one think that a Form IV certificate holder is equipped enough to understand the complexities of international markets? I don't think so. We shouldn't also forget that the majority of our folks live in rural areas. Some of these folks (farmers) do not know even how to read and write. We are talking about folks who think that Dar-es-Salaam is the best City they have ever been to. So try to imagine if such a person has enough skills to penetrate the international market. As such, it is the government's responsibility to step in and educate wananchi. That is called empowerment. That's what they are elected for.
It is due to wananchi's lack of education that folks who have been "educated" (the South Africans and some other wazungu) can easily identify opportunities in Tanzania, while our own kind cannot. It is a given fact that folks with the best information succeed most of the time. One could disagree with me, but it is the responsibility of the government to provide an environment where the majority will be educated and exposed to opportunities they have. It is not fair to ask the wananchi do to what they don't know. It is unfair to ask the wanachi to pursue markets they don't know exist.
Contrary to what the Tanzanian government is doing, other government plays a bigger role in creating an environment for the private enterprise to flourish. The Small Business Administration in the United States of America (http://www.sba.gov), is set up to ensure that small businesses thrive. In addition to providing education, SBA also guarantees loans to small business borrowers, conducts seminars and training sessions on best business practices. Given these examples, I don't think it is wrong to challenge the Tanzanian government to do the same. The government is ought to fill in where individuals, on their own, are limited. That is called empowerment.
Even each individual state in America is serious about helping businesses in their states to thrive. The State of Ohio, for instance, has set up an Internation Trade Department, which is mandated to " promotes the export of Ohio products and services to strengthen Ohio's economy and advance its leadership position in the global marketplace" ( http://www.odod.state.oh.us/itd/). And the way the Ohio IDT accomplishes that is not by blah blah, they have set up offices in various places, including South Africa. Only a serious government would do that. And these are the little things that we demand our Tanzanian government to do. And that's why they collect taxes, not for their fancy rides. I wonder if our ambassador Mr. Daraja in Washington, DC regards his office as an economic embassy, in addition to everything else.
It is disgusting to even mention the word infrastructure when it comes to Tanzania. We all know the condition of roads in Tanzania. Even worse, we know what Mr. Mramba, who is incharge of that area, recently did. The Mramba's saga only proves that fact we need to slam the serikali. We know the importance of realiable infrastructure in production and trade growth, so I am not going to dwell on that. But the question of the days is whether the government has done enough in setting up appropriate strategies and plans in place to ensure that production and trade grows in the country. The answer to that is obviously a big "NO". And that's why we hold the government accountable.
This is my take. Leaders are elected to take the ordinary folks somewhere. They lead towards a certain destination, be it social or economic. When folks are not motivated or lack certain skills, it is the responsibility of leaders to motivate and to empower wananchi. It the responsibility of the government to draft policies and laws, create educational programs, charge appropriate tax rates, build roads, and provide other tools that put wananchi in a position to succeed. Unless that is done, it wouldn't be fair to blame wananchi. And you and I know for sure that the Tanzanian government has not done enough, given the level of education and exposure of the majority. Let the government provide a good envoronment first, then we can change our "songs". But the way things are currently, let us be real - it ain't happenin'.
An update to my post:
According to Daily News (http://www.dailynews-tsn.com/page.php?id=2665), the government is set to do the following in 2006/2007 fiscal year with regards to what we have been discussing:
- Wrap up a policy and strategy on local crop markets in addition to improving collection, sorting and distribution of market information to stakeholders
- Publish a list of crop buyers and processors. It would also enlighten stakeholders on how to to exploit EAC, SADC and European Union (EU) markets [Metty's notes: enlighten is a key leadership word there]
- Looking for honey and wax markets in Oman and the Emirates (villages in Singida and Tabora regions have been mobilised to exploit the market) [Metty's notes: mobilize is a key leadership word there]
- Tanzania envisages opening further business frontiers to enable the private sector to grow