THREAT OF PLOT REPOSSESSION SENDS HOSPITALITY INVESTORS INTO PANIC
Tanzania’s love and hate affair with investors seems to periodically rear its ugly head, as seen again last week, when the deputy minister for natural resources and tourism’s utterances sent investors in the hospitality industry into a state of shock. Nyalandu Lazaro demanded to know why in particular national park concessions granted to investors had not been utilized, threatening to cancel those laying idle by January 2013 but conveniently forgetting – some of Tanzania’s ministers appear gifted with select memory losses – that former tourism minister Ezekiel Maige last year halted all such developments. While Nyalandu accused such investors of well near sabotaging Tanzania’s economy, the ban order of last year has never been rescinded, leaving potential investors in a lurch of what exactly to do, build and violate an existing order or risk losing their properties for respecting that very order.
‘Some of our ministers should think before they speak and this is such a case. Maige shocked investors who had paid fees to get concessions, some with plans ready to build, tender processes underway, and he stopped them, putting that entire investment and capital outlay at risk. You think he cared? Anyway, he got the sack but Ambassador Kagesheki has not lifted that ban as yet, so what is Lazaro going on about? If anyone smacks of sabotaging investors it is him with such thoughtless utterances. He should apologize to the investors and the nation for committing such blunders. Did he sleep when Maige banned the building of camps and lodges in the parks?’ asked a regular source from Arusha, then adding that Tanzania’s record in supporting investors left a lot to be desired. ‘We still see that broken and derelict 1970’s and 1980’s view of socialist tendencies in so many instances. They sing one song when trying to get investors here and then another when people have brought their money. At times I think there is something fundamentally wrong with our political leaders and no wonder pressure grows for change. They should be consistent and not always this today and that tomorrow. And they should in particular stop harassing investors from Kenya with all sorts of small issues just because we are Kenyans. We come here to create jobs and improve the tourism sector, not to sabotage it like the deputy minister did with his baseless allegations. If I am to lose my property I will immediately sue at the East African Court of Justice and demand compensation for what I have already spent and the loss of income and profits for the duration for which the concession is valid’.
It is not known yet if Ambassador Kagesheki, the cabinet minister in charge of natural resources and tourism, has already read his deputy the riot act, as he has since his appointment established himself as a no nonsense man, sweeping deadwood from the corridors of his ministry and cracking down hard on lazy officers and those not toeing the line or embarrassing him. Watch this space as this latest saga involving the Tanzanian hospitality industry is unfolding.