6. Financial Sector
Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment
Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) is a self-listed publicly-owned company. In 2013, the DSE launched a second tier market, the Enterprise Growth Market (EGM) with lower listing requirements designed to attract small and medium sized companies with high growth potential. As of December 2017, DSE’s total market capitalization reached USD 10.5 billion, a 20.6 percent increase over the previous year’s figure. The Capital Markets and Securities Authority (CMSA) Act facilitates the free flow of capital and financial resources to support the capital market and securities industry. Tanzania, however, restricts the free flow of investment in and out of the country, and Tanzanians cannot sell or issue securities abroad unless approved by the CMSA.
Under the Capital Markets and Securities (Foreign Investors) Regulation 2014, there is no aggregate value limitation on foreign ownership of listed non-government securities. Despite progress, the country’s capital account is not fully liberalized and only foreign individuals or companies from other EAC nations are permitted to participate in the government securities market. Even with this recent development allowing EAC participation, ownership of government securities is still limited to 40 percent of each security issued.
Tanzania’s Electronic and Postal Communications Act 2010 amended in 2016 by the Finance Act 2016 requires telecom companies to list 25 percent of their shares via an initial public offering (IPO) on the DSE. Of the seven telecom companies that filed IPO applications with the CMSA, only Vodacom’s application received approval. In 2017, Vodacom planned to offer its shares from March 9 to April 19, but lack of demand required it to extend the offering period to July 28. Moreover, to spur demand, the GoT opened the IPO to foreign investors who purchased 40 percent of the total shares offered.
As part of the Mining (Minimum Shareholding and Public Offering) Regulations 2016, large scale mining operators were required to float a 30 percent stake on the DSE by October 7, 2018. On February 24, 2017, however, the GoT surprised the industry by amending the regulations so that the 30 percent stake had to be floated by August 23, 2017, rather than October 7, 2018. However, some mining companies have not listed on the DSE.
Money and Banking System
Finscope’s 2017 Financial Inclusion Report revealed that Tanzania’s financial inclusion rate increased to 65 percent in 2017 from 58 percent in 2013, primarily because of increased mobile phone usage. However, participation in the formal banking sector still remains low. In 2017, low private sector credit growth and high non-performing loan (NPL) rates were persistent problems. In March 2017, the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) cut its discount rate to 12 percent from 16 percent to boost lending and economic growth, the first time it had cut interest rates since 2013. In April 2017, the BoT reduced commercial banks’ statutory minimum reserves (SMR) requirement from 10 to 8 percent. These measures did not adequately spur lending, so in August 2017, the BoT reduced its discount rate for the second time from 12 to 9 percent. Despite these measures, private sector credit growth was lower than expected and NPL rates in December 2017 remained more than double the BoT’s targeted 5 percent rate.
In 2018, the BoT continued to address problems in the banking sector. In January 2018, the BoT closed five community banks for under capitalization and gave an additional three until June 2018 to raise capital. In its February 14, 2018 Tanzania Country Partnership Framework FY18-FY22, the World Bank reported that Tanzania’s “financial sector is stable despite high nonperforming loans…, which must be addressed.” In a February 19, 2018 Circular titled “Measures to Increase Credit to Private Sector and Contain Non-Performing Loans,” the BoT issued guidelines to boost lending and reduce NPLs.
As of March 31, 2018, the banking sector was composed of 41 commercial banks, 6 community banks, 5 microfinance banks, 3 development financial institutions, 3 financial leasing companies and 2 credit bureaus. The two largest banks are CRDB Bank and National Microfinance Bank (NMB), which represent almost 30 percent of the market. Private sector companies have access to commercial credit instruments including documentary credits (letters of credit), overdrafts, term loans, and guarantees. Foreign investors may open accounts and earn tax-free interest in Tanzanian commercial banks.
The Banking and Financial Institution Act 2006 established a framework for credit reference bureaus, permits the release of information to licensed reference bureaus, and allows credit reference bureaus to provide to any person, upon a legitimate business request, a credit report. Currently, there are two private credit bureaus operating in Tanzania – Credit Info Tanzania Limited and Dun & Bradstreet Credit Bureau Tanzania Limited.
Foreign Exchange and Remittances
Foreign Exchange Policies
Tanzanian regulations permit unconditional transfers through any authorized bank in freely convertible currency of net profits, repayment of foreign loans, royalties, fees charged for foreign technology, and remittance of proceeds. The only official limit on transfers of foreign currency is on cash carried by individuals traveling abroad, which cannot exceed USD 10,000 over a period of 40 days. Investors rarely use convertible instruments.
In 2018 and 2019, the Bank of Tanzania inspected all forex shops in the country and ultimately found that most of them did not meet the requirements of new laws governing the businesses. As a result, more than ninety percent of the Forex bureaus in country were closed. The government then licensed the commercial banks and Tanzania Post Corporation to open forex shops.
There are no recent changes or plans to change investment remittance policies that either tighten or relax access to foreign exchange for investment remittances.
Sovereign Wealth Funds
Tanzania has not established a sovereign wealth fund.
7. State-Owned Enterprises
Public enterprises do not compete under the same terms and conditions as private enterprises because they have access to government subsidies and other benefits. SOEs are active in the power, communications, rail, telecommunications, insurance, aviation, and port sectors. SOEs generally report to ministries and are led by a board. Typically, a presidential appointee chairs the board, which usually includes private sector representatives. SOEs are not subjected to hard budget constraints. SOEs do not discriminate against or unfairly burden foreigners, though they do have access to sovereign credit guarantees.
Relevant ministry officials usually appoint SOEs’ board of directors to serve preset terms under what is intended to be a competitive process. As in a private company, senior management report to the board of directors. Summary financial results for fiscal year 2017 of SOEs are included in the GoT’s consolidated financial statements (CFS) which are available online. This year, however, the National Audit Office issued an adverse audit opinion, calling CFS accuracy into question.
The government retains a strong presence in energy, mining, telecommunication services, and transportation. The government is increasingly empowering the state-owned Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation Limited (TTCL) with the objective of safeguarding the national security, promoting socio-economic development, and managing strategic communications infrastructure. The government also acquired 51 percent of Airtel Telecommunication Company Limited and became the majority shareholder. In the past, the GoT has sought foreign investors to manage formerly state-run companies in public-private partnerships, but successful privatizations have been rare. Though there have been attempts to privatize certain companies, the process is not always clear and transparent. In some instances, the GoT took back control as was the case in 2009-10 when the government nationalized formerly-privatized Tanzania Railways Limited, General Tyre, and Kilimanjaro International Airport based on mismanagement.
In 2010, the GoT enacted the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Act. According to the act, any ministry, government department or agency, or statutory corporation may act as a PPP procuring authority. The 2014 amendment of the PPP Act created a new PPP Center to be incorporated in the Office of the Prime Minister through merging the Coordination Unit and the Finance Unit. It also set up a PPP Technical Committee to recommend PPP projects for approval by the National Investment Steering Committee. In spite of these developments, Tanzania’s Five Year Development Plan (2016-2021) (FYDP II) recognized weaknesses in the PPP legal framework and inadequate understanding and operationalization of PPP concepts as impediments to private sector financing. As a result, FYDP II calls for an expanded role of the private sector through PPPs. Despite this goal, little progress has been made in this area.
In August 2017, President Magufuli instructed the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments to revisit the terms of privatization and the ensuing performance of previously privatized companies/assets – most of which took place during the 1990s. According to the Minister, of 156 privatized companies, 62 were operating normally, 28 were under-performing and 56 were no longer in operation. The GoT, in turn, has implemented a plan to repossess and subsequently retender idle companies/assets. As a result, according to the Treasury Registrar Office, three companies were repossessed and an additional 12 companies are being considered for similar action by the Attorney General.
8. Responsible Business Conduct
Responsible business conduct (RBC) includes respecting human rights, environmental protection, labor relations and financial accountability, and it is practiced by a number of large foreign firms. Tanzania has laws covering labor and environmental issues. The Employment and Labor Relations Act (ELRA) establishes labor standards, rights and duties, while the Labor Institutions Act (LIA) specifies the government entities charged with administering labor laws.
The GoT’s National Environment Management Council (NEMC) undertakes enforcement, compliance, review and monitoring of environmental impact assessments; performs research; facilitates public participation in environmental decision-making; raises environmental awareness; and collects and disseminates environmental information. Stakeholders, however, have expressed concerns over whether the NEMC has sufficient funding and capacity to handle its broad mandate.
There are no legal requirements for public disclosure of RBC, and the GoT has not yet addressed executive compensation standards. Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) listed companies, however, must release legally required information to shareholders and the general public. In addition, the DSE signed a voluntary commitment with the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative in June 2016, to promote long-term sustainable investments and improve environmental, social and corporate governance. Tanzania has accounting standards compatible with international accounting bodies.
The Tanzanian government does not usually factor in RBC into procurement decisions. The GoT is responsible for enforcing local laws, however, the media regularly reports on corruption cases where offenders allegedly avoid sanctions. There have also been reports of corporate entities collaborating with local governments to carry out controversial undertakings that may not be in the best interest of the local population.
Conflicts between mining companies and neighboring communities have been reported mostly in gold mining areas, leading to intrusion into mining sites and clashes with mining company guards and police. For example, in June 2017, media reported that villagers invaded Acacia’s North Mara Mine demanding compensation, and leading to the arrest of 66 people and several injuries. Communities often protest the government’s decision to grant mining rights and/or seek compensation over allegations of death, injuries, or environmental damage.
Forty-one Tanzanian entities participate in the United Nations Global Compact Network which focuses on RBC. Some foreign companies have engaged NGOs that monitor and promote RBC to avoid adversarial confrontations. In addition, some of the multinational mining companies who are signatories to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs) have taken the lead and appointed NGOs to conduct programs to mitigate conflicts between the mining companies, surrounding communities, local government officials and the police.
Tanzania is a member of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) since 2009 and in 2015 Tanzania enacted the Extractive Industries Transparency and Accountability Act, which demands that all new concessions, contracts and licenses are made available to the public. The government produces EITI Reports that disclose revenues from the extraction of its natural resources.