Friday, May 12, 2017

Four key critical research areas identified by TPSF

THE Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) has identified four key areas in which higher learning institutions can conduct research and come up with results that can facilitate the implementation of the country’s industrialization plan. These include affordable and reliable power, human capital, business regulatory framework and financing. Presenting his paper titled, “Industrialization and Middle income Economy for Tanzania: Contribution of Research and Higher Learning Institutions” in Dar es Salaam yesterday during an industrialisation symposium, TPSF representative Salum Awadh said that the institutions were central to promoting industrialization in the country. The symposium organized by the University of Dar es Salaam is part of the activities of the Third Research Week with a theme “Research Towards Industrialisation and Middle income Economy for Tanzania.” He said that there were still gaps in the market in which higher learning institutions could come up with solutions through research. “Most of the gaps existing in the market have not been addressed … therefore the way forward is for higher learning institutions to conduct research aimed at providing solutions,” he argued. He said one of the constraints facing industries in Tanzania is high price and unreliable power saying it will be difficult for the country to industrialise if the investors will continue to get unreliable power. Mr Awadh said according to the Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority (EWURA), the average price of power in Tanzania stands at $0.17 per kilowatt- hour while according to the African Development Bank data the average price for power for the African continent is $0.14 per kilowatt-hour and $0.07 in East Asia. On finance, he said, higher learning institutions should develop debt management models that will de-risk lending and lower credit costs and insurance models to manage risks. “The research should also prepare people to meet new finance industry needs,” he added. He said Tanzania has about 58 banks, predominantly commercial with strictly commercial terms such as limited credit tenor, high interest rates, and stringent collateral requirements. “This type of capital is irrelevant for industrialization capital investment, which requires affordable and long-term capital, he said.” Mr Awadh further said that industrialization requires a competitive business environment to attract more capital investment, reduce the costs of doing business, and promote the role of private sector as the engine of industrialization. “Despite great reforms instituted by the government, the regularity environment is still prohibitive in many ways, these include multiplicity of regulators, taxes, levies, permits, and policy uncertainties,” Mr Awadh said. Researchers should come up with solutions on how to improve regulations that have impact on industrialization and regulatory models that can reduce compliance costs, he said. He pointed out that the issue of skills was also important area which needed to be addressed particularly on skills deficit and relevance. “Some players end up importing skills, which in some cases could be expensive and add costs on industrialization thus the need to provide skills that are badly needed by the industries. We should put an end to import skill. University of Dar es Salaam’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre Prof Abraham Temu said that his institutions are currently conducting various researches that aimed at supporting the country’s industrialization drive. He said that UDSM will also continue working on the gaps identified by the private sector such as conducting research that can be applied directly on our industries as well as producing enough experts with relevant skills. He further said that the research by his institutions will also help to address the constraints faced by small scale industries to help them graduate to large scale industries.

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