2020 was a year almost unlike any we have known in the last century. While we were all affected by the pandemic, many things have been achieved. We found ways to adapt, reinvent and reinvigorate and have come together as a community. As we enter into a different world, let us not lose those learnings but utilize them to strengthen our resiliency and take advantage of opportunities.
Tanzania avoided a recession in 2020, but the pandemic has significantly impacted lives and livelihoods across the country and globally. The sixth phase of the government has welcomed the private sector and further engaged with the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), regional and international institutions, such as the East African Community, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). As a result, the current inflation rate is at 3.3%, this rate is projected to remain within the targeted band of 3.3% for 2020/2021.
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
The ongoing reforms – under the government’s roadmap to improve the business environment – are aimed at simplifying the establishment of businesses and promoting competition. This includes: business registration and licensing reform; tax administration reform; regulatory reforms; and financial sector reforms. The government has removed 163 different taxes and levies under the Blueprint for Regulatory Reforms to Improve the Business Environment, which was launched in 2018 by the Fifth Phase Government. The Government has also put in place an Implementation plan for it.
Considering our Jamat’s profile which largely falls under SME category, it is important to remember that as the world evolves, there is a need to pursue new business opportunities or sustaining existing business which are more solution-driven by considering:
- Efficiency-driven: As wages rise with advancing development, countries move into the efficiency-driven stage, when they must begin to develop more efficient production processes and increase product quality. This can be driven by introducing or embedding digitization in goods/service offering, making use of sustainable solution.
- Innovation-driven: Countries are only able to sustain higher wages and a higher standard of living if their businesses are able to compete by providing new or unique products. At this stage, companies must compete by producing new and different goods using the most sophisticated production processes and through innovation.
Over the past few Hidayats to the Jamati leaders, Mawlana Hazar Imam has emphasized to support SMEs within the Jamat in areas of educational updates, skills training and making available relevant financial products. The Economic Planning Board (EPB) of Tanzania continues to support small businesses to remain stable and overcome hurdles in their business so that they prosper in the long term. Financial, advisory, life-long learning, job placement, and business development are among the areas where EPB provides support.
Additionally, it is our Imam’s wish to ensure we continue to upgrade our knowledge and skills through continuous learning by constantly enhancing our existing knowledge and seeking new skills. To support the Jamat in this endeavor, the Board continues to provide academic and vocational skills development support through education loans for lifelong learning. It is our anticipation that the Jamat will continue to take advantage of this platform to constantly upskill and remain relevant with current workforce needs.
During the last year, it has become evident that continuous learning has become more important than ever before in order to remain relevant and in the job, individuals that were proactive took advantage of upskilling themselves through virtual and online learning. To support our jamat and those already in the workforce, EPB is pleased to inform the jamat that it is partnering with one of the reputable online platform – COURSERA that offers online courses from some of the renowned institutions providing a wider range of learning for personal and professional development. We urge the jamat to maximize on this opportunity and upgrade their skills to become more marketable.
The Board continues to remind the jamat to comply with legal statutes and encourages BEST PRACTICE at all times as our Beloved Hazar Imam has directed us on various occasions for sustainable growth of our businesses.