1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment
The United Republic of Tanzania, according to Government officials, welcomes foreign direct investment (FDI) as it pursues its industrialization and development agenda. However, in practice, government policies and actions do not effectively keep and attract investment. The 2019 World Investment Report indicates that FDI flows to Tanzania increased from USD 938 million in 2017 to USD 1.1 billion in 2018, although they have not recovered to pre-2015 levels. (The Bank of Tanzania reports 2018 FDI as USD 2.82 billion, down from USD 5.07 billion in 2017.). Investors and potential investors note the biggest challenges to investment include difficulty in hiring foreign workers, reduced profits due to unfriendly and opaque tax policies, increased local content requirements, regulatory/policy instability, lack of trust between the GoT and the private sector, and mandatory initial public offerings (IPOs) in key industries.
The United Republic of Tanzania has framework agreements on investment, and offers various incentives and the services of investment promotion agencies. Investment is mainly a non-Union matter, thus there are different laws, policies, and practices for the Mainland and Zanzibar. Zanzibar updated its investment policy in 2019, while the Mainland/Union policy dates from 1996. Efforts to update the Mainland Investment Policy and Investment Act were underway, but incomplete as of the date of this publication.. International agreements on investment are covered as Union matters and therefore apply to both regions.
The Tanzania Investment Center (TIC) is intended to be a one-stop center for investors, providing services such as permits, licenses, visas, and land. The Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority (ZIPA) provides the same function in Zanzibar.
The Government of Tanzania has an ongoing dialogue with the private sector via the Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC). TNBC meetings are chaired by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania and co-chaired by the head of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF). Unfortunately, the TNBC has only met twice in the past five years. There is also a Zanzibar Business Council (ZBC), as well as Regional Business Councils (RBCs), and District Business Councils (DBCs).
Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
Foreign investors generally receive treatment equivalent to domestic investors but limits still persist in a number of sectors. Tanzania conforms to best practice in several cases. There are no geographical restrictions on private establishments with foreign participation or ownership, no limitations on number of foreign entities that can operate in a given sector, and no sectors in which approval is required for foreign investment greenfield FDI but not for domestic investment.
However, Tanzania discourages foreign investment in several sectors through limitations on foreign equity ownership or other activities, including aerospace, agribusiness (fishing), construction and heavy equipment, travel and tourism, energy and environmental industries, information and communication, and publishing, media, and entertainment.
Specific examples include the following: The Tourism Act of 2008 bars foreign companies from engaging in mountain guiding activities, and states that only Tanzanian citizens can operate travel agencies, car rental services, or engage in tour guide activities (with limited exceptions). Per the Merchant Shipping Act of 2003, only citizen-owned ships are authorized to engage in local trade, a requirement that can be waived at the Minister’s discretion. Furthermore, the Tanzania Shipping Agencies Act of November 2017 gives exclusive monopoly power to the Tanzania Shipping Agency Corporation (TASAC) to conduct business as shipping agents, shipping regulator, and licensor of other private shipping agencies. The Act also gives TASAC an exclusive mandate to provide clearing and forwarding functions relating to imports and exports of minerals, mineral concentrates, machinery and equipment for the mining and petroleum sector, products and/or extracts related to minerals and petroleum arms and ammunition, live animals, government trophies and any other goods that the Minister responsible for maritime transport may specify.
- The Tourism Act of 2008 bars foreign companies from engaging in mountain guiding activities, and states that only Tanzanian citizens can operate travel agencies, car rental services, or engage in tour guide activities (with limited exceptions). Per the Merchant Shipping Act of 2003, only citizen-owned ships are authorized to engage in local trade, a requirement that can be waived at the Minister’s discretion. Furthermore, the Tanzania Shipping Agencies Act of November 2017 gives exclusive monopoly power to the Tanzania Shipping Agency Corporation (TASAC) to conduct business as shipping agents, shipping regulator, and licensor of other private shipping agencies. The Act also gives TASAC an exclusive mandate to provide clearing and forwarding functions relating to imports and exports of minerals, mineral concentrates, machinery and equipment for the mining and petroleum sector, products and/or extracts related to minerals and petroleum arms and ammunition, live animals, government trophies and any other goods that the Minister responsible for maritime transport may specify.
- A 2009 amendment to the Fisheries Regulations imposes onerous conditions for foreign citizens to engage in commercial fishing and the export of fishery products, sets separate licensing costs for foreign citizens and Tanzanians, and limits the types of fishery products that foreign citizens may work with.
- Foreign construction contractors can only obtain temporary licenses, per the Contractors Registration Act of 1997, and contractors must commit in writing to leave Tanzania upon completion of the set project. 2004 amendments to the Contractors Registration By-Laws limit foreign contractor participation to specified, more complex classes of work.
- Foreign capital participation in the telecommunications sector is limited to a maximum of 75 percent.
- All insurers require one-third controlling interest by Tanzania citizens, per the Insurance Act.
- The Electronic and Postal Communications (Licensing) Regulations 2011 limits foreign ownership of Tanzanian TV stations to 49 percent and prohibits foreign capital participation in national newspapers.
- Mining projects must be at least partially owned by the GoT and “indigenous” companies, and hire, or at least favor, local suppliers, service providers, and employees. (See Chapter 4: Laws and Regulations on FDI for details.). Gemstone mining is limited to Tanzanian citizens with waivers of the limitation at ministerial discretion. In February 2019, responding to low growth and investment in the sector, the government revised the 2018 Mining Regulations to reduce local ownership requirements from 51 percent to 20 percent.
Currently, foreigners can invest in stock traded on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE), but only East African residents can invest in government bonds. East Africans, excluding Tanzanian residents, however, are not allowed to sell government bonds bought in the primary market for at least one year following purchase.
Other Investment Policy Reviews
There have not been any third-party investment policy reviews (IPRs) on Tanzania in the past three years, the most recent OECD report is for 2013. The World Trade Organization (WTO) published a Trade Policy Review in 2019 on all the East African Community states, including Tanzania.
The World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 Indicators rank Tanzania 141 out of 190 overall for ease of doing business, and 162nd for ease of starting a business. There are 10 procedures to open a business, higher than the sub-Saharan Africa average of 7.4. The Business Registration and Licensing Agency (BRELA) issues certificates of compliance for foreign companies, certificates of incorporation for private and public companies, and business name registration for sole proprietor and corporate bodies. After registering with BRELA, the company must: obtain a taxpayer identification number (TIN) certificate, apply for a business license, apply for a VAT certificate, register for workmen’s compensation insurance, register with the Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA), receive inspection from the Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA), and obtain a Social Security registration number.
The TIC provides simultaneous registration with BRELA, TRA, and social security ( ) for enterprises whose minimum capital investment is not less than USD 500,000 if foreign owned or USD 100,000 if locally owned.
In May 2018, the government adopted the Blueprint for Regulatory Reforms to improve the business environment and attract more investors. The reforms, which were developed as a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the private sector, seek to improve the country’s ease of doing business through regulatory reforms and to increase efficiency in dealing with the government and its regulatory authorities. The official implementation of the Business Environment Improvement Blueprint started on July 1, 2019, though there have been little tangible changes or advancements. A new Business Facilitation Act aimed at implementing key actions from the Blueprint is pending adoption by Parliament.
Tanzania does not promote or incentivize outward investment. There are restrictions on Tanzanian residents’ participation in foreign capital markets and ability to purchase foreign securities. Under the Foreign Exchange (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (FEAR), however, there are circumstances where Tanzanian residents may trade securities within the East African Community (EAC). In addition, FEAR provides some opportunities for residents to engage in foreign direct investment and acquire real assets outside of the EAC.
4. Industrial Policies
The Tanzania Investment Center (TIC) offers a package of investment benefits and incentives to both domestic and foreign investors without performance requirements. A minimum capital investment of USD 500,000 if foreign owned or USD 100,000 if locally owned is required.
These incentives include the following:
- Discounts on customs duties, corporate taxes, and VAT paid on capital goods for investments in mining, infrastructure, road construction, bridges, railways, airports, electricity generation, agribusiness, telecommunications, and water services.
- 100 percent capital allowance deduction in the years of income for the above-mentioned types of investments – though there is ambiguity as to how this is accomplished.
- No remittance restrictions. The GoT does not restrict the right of foreign investors to repatriate returns from an investment.
- Guarantees against nationalization and expropriation. Any dispute arising between the GoT and investors may be settled through negotiations or submitted for arbitration.
- Allowing interest deduction on capital loans and removal of the five-year limit for carrying forward losses of investors.
Investors may apply for “Strategic Status” or “Special Strategic Status” to receive further incentives. The criteria used to determine whether an investor may receive these designations are available on TIC’s website ( ).
The government habitually introduces waivers through the Public Finance Act with the aim of attracting investment in certain targeted sectors. In Financial Year 2019/2020, the government introduced a VAT exemption for the following items in order to encourage investment: import of grain drying equipment; supply of aircraft lubricants to a local operator of air transportation; and imports refrigerated by a person in horticulture for exclusive use in Tanzania Mainland. The GoT also introduced a reduction of corporate income tax for new investors involved in the production of sanitary pads from 30% to 25% for two years, subject to the investor signing a performance agreement with the government.
The Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) oversees Tanzania’s Export Processing Zones (EPZs) and Special Economic Zones (SEZs). EPZA’s core objective is to build and promote export-led economic development by offering investment incentives and facilitation services. Minimum capital requirements for EPZ and SEZ investors are USD 500,000 for foreign investors and USD 100,000 for local investors. Investment incentives offered for EPZs include the following.
- An exemption from corporate taxes for ten years.
- An exemption from duties and taxes on capital goods and raw materials.
- An exemption on VAT for utility services and on construction materials.
- An exemption from withholding taxes on rent, dividends, and interests.
- Exemption from pre-shipment or destination inspection requirements.
- SEZs offer similar incentives, excluding the ten-year exemption from corporate taxes.
The Zanzibar Investment Promotion Agency (ZIPA) and the Zanzibar Free Economic Zones Authority (ZAFREZA) offer following incentives:
CATEGORY “A” FREE ECONOMIC ZONE DEVELOPERS: DEVELOPMENT OF INFRASTRUCTURE
- The developer of a Free Economic Zone shall benefit to the following incentives:
- exemption from payment of taxes and duties for machinery, equipment, heavy duty vehicles, building and construction materials, and any other goods of capital nature to be used for purposes of development of the Free Economic Zone infrastructure;
- exemption from payment of corporate tax for an initial period of ten years and thereafter a corporate tax, shall be charged at the rate specified in the Income Tax Act;
- exemption from payment of withholding tax on rent, dividends ‘and interest for the first ten years;
- exemption from payment of property tax for the first ten years;
- remission of customs duty, value added tax and any other tax payable in respect of importation of one administrative vehicle, ambulances, firefighting equipment and firefighting vehicles and up to two buses for employees’ transportation to and from the Free Economic Zone;
- exemption from payment of stamp duty on any instrument executed in or outside the Free Economic Zone relating to transfer, lease or hypothecation of any movable or immovable property situated within the Free Economic Zone or any document, certificate, instrument, report or record relating to any activity, action, operation, project, undertaking or venture in the Free Economic Zone;
- treatment of goods destined into Free Economic Zones as transit goods; and
- on site customs inspection of goods within Free Economic Zones.
CATEGORY “B” FREE ECONOMIC ZONES OPERATORS: APPROVED INVESTORS PRODUCING FOR SALE INTO THE CUSTOMS TERRITORY
- Approved Investors whose primary markets are within the customs territory shall be entitled to the:
- remission of customs duty, value added tax and any other tax charged on raw materials and goods of capital nature related to the production in the Free Economic Zones;
- exemption from payment of withholding tax on interest on foreign sourced loan;
- remission of customs duty, value added tax and any other tax payable in respect of importation of one administrative vehicle, one ambulances, firefighting equipment and firefighting vehicles and up to two buses for employees’ transportation into and from the Free Economic Zones;
- exemption from pre-shipment or destination inspection requirements;
- on site customs inspection of goods within Free Economic Zones;
- access to competitive, modern and reliable services available within the Free Economic Zones; and
- subject to compliance with applicable conditions and procedures for foreign exchange and payment of tax whenever appropriate, unconditional transfer through any authorized dealer bank in freely convertible currency of;
(i) net profits or dividends attributable to the investment; (ii) payments in respect of loan servicing where a foreign loan has been obtained;
(ii) payments in respect of loan servicing where a foreign loan has been obtained; (iii) royalties, fees and charges for any technology transfer agreement;
(iii) royalties, fees and charges for any technology transfer agreement; (iv) the remittance of proceeds in the event of sale or liquidation of the licensed business or any interest attributable to the licensed business; and
(iv) the remittance of proceeds in the event of sale or liquidation of the licensed business or any interest attributable to the licensed business; and (v) payments of emoluments and other benefits to foreign personnel employed in Tanzania in connection with the licensed business.
(v) payments of emoluments and other benefits to foreign personnel employed in Tanzania in connection with the licensed business.
CATEGORY “C” FREE ECONOMIC ZONE OPERATORS: APPROVED INVESTORS PRODUCING FOR EXPORT MARKETS
- Approved Investors producing for export markets m non-manufacturing or processing sectors shall be entitled to the:
- subject to compliance with applicable conditions and procedures, accessing the export credit guarantee scheme;
- remission of customs duty, value added and any other tax charged on raw materials and goods of capital nature related to the production in the Free Economic Zones;
- exemption from payment of corporate tax for an initial period of ten years and thereafter, a corporate tax shall be charged at the rate specified in the Income Tax Act;
- exemption from payment of withholding tax on rent, dividends and interests for the first ten years;
- exemption from payment of all taxes and levies imposed by the Local Government Authorities for products produced in the Free Economic Zones for a period of ten years;
- exemption from pre-shipment or destination inspection requirements;
- on site customs inspection of goods in the Free Economic Zones;
- remission of customs duty, value added tax and any other tax payable in respect of importation of one administrative vehicle, ambulances, firefighting equipment and vehicles and up to two buses for employees’ transportation to and from the Free Economic Zones;
- treatment of goods destined into Free Economic Zones as transit goods;
- access to competitive, modern and reliable services available within the Free Economic Zones; and
- subject to compliance with applicable conditions and procedures for foreign exchange and payment of tax whenever appropriate unconditional transfer through any authorized dealer bank in freely convertible currency of:
(i) net profits or dividends attributable to the investment;
(ii) payments in respect of loan servicing where a foreign loan has been obtained;
(iii) royalties, fees and charges ifor any technology transfer agreement;
(iv) the remittance of proceeds in the event of sale or liquidation of the business enterprises or any interest attributable to the investment;
(v) payments of emoluments and other benefits to foreign personnel employed in Tanzania in connection with the business enterprise; twenty percent of total turnover is allowed to be sold to the local market and is subject to the payment of all taxes;
- twenty percent of total turnover is allowed to be sold to the local market and is subject to the payment of all taxes;
- hundred percent foreign ownership is allowed ; and
- no limit to the duration that goods may be stored in the Freeport Zones.
2. For purposes of this section investors licensed primarily for export markets are investors whose exports are more than eighty percent of total annual production.
Incentives and allowances outside Free Economic Zones
1. Approved investor investing outside Free Economic Zones, may be granted the:
- exemption from payment of import duty, excise duty Value Added Tax and other similar taxes on machinery, equipment, spare parts, vehicles and other input necessary and exclusively required by that enterprise during construction period indicated in the Investment Certificate;
- exemption from payment of business license fee for the first three months of trial operation;
- corporate tax exemption for up to five years;
- hundred percent foreign ownership;
- hundred percent retention of all profits after tax;
- hundred percent allowance Research and Development; and
- hundred percent allowance for free repatriation of profit after tax.
2. Without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Part, approved investor investing in manufacturing sector may further be granted the:
- exemption from payment of any tax on all goods produced for exports;
- exemption from payment of trade levy for raw materials and industrial inputs procured from Tanzania Mainland;
- exemption from payment of import duty, Value Added Tax and other similar taxes on raw and packaging materials during project operations;
- exemption of Income Tax on interest on registered borrowed capital; and
- hundred percent allowance investment deduction on capital expenditure within five years;
3. Without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Part, Approved Investor investing in real estate business may also be granted the:
- exemption of income tax on interest on borrowed capital;
- stamp duty exemption;
- hundred percent allowance investment deduction on capital expenditure within five years; and
- capital gains tax on properties sold or purchased.
Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation
Tanzania’s export processing zones (EPZs) and special economic zones (SEZs) are assigned geographical areas or industries designated to undertake specific economic activities with special regulations and infrastructure requirements. EPZ status can also be extended to stand-alone factories at any geographical location. EPZ status requires the export of 80 percent or more of the goods produced. SEZ status has no export requirement, allowing manufacturers to sell their goods locally. As of March 2018, there were 14 designated EPZ/SEZ industrial parks, 10 of which are in development, and 75 stand-alone EPZ factories.
Performance and Data Localization Requirements
The Non-Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act (see Section 12 Labor Policies and Practices below) requires employers to attempt to fill positions with Tanzanian citizens before seeking work permits for foreign employees, and to develop plans to transition all positions held by foreign employees to local employees over time.
Because the local content (LC) initiative cuts across all economic sectors, the government decided that oversight of LC development should take a multi-sector approach, rather than being confined to a single ministry or sector. In 2015, the government directed the National Economic Empowerment Council (NEEC) to oversee implementation of local empowerment initiatives. The objective of the local content policy is to put local products and services – delivered by businesses owned and operated by Tanzanians – in an advantageous position to exploit opportunities emanating from inbound foreign direct investments. In 2015, the GoT enacted The Petroleum Act and, subsequently, issued The Petroleum (Local Content) Regulations 2017. Similarly, in 2017, the GoT amended mining laws, issuing The Mining (Local Content) Regulations 2018. (See Chapter 4: Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment for more on recent local content laws.)
As of November 2019, Bank of Tanzania (BoT) regulations require banks to physically house their primary data centers in Tanzania or face steep penalties. The Tanzanian Bankers Association is appealing the requirement as it is cumbersome, expensive, and contrary to industry best practices.
In 2016, the GoT launched a USD 94 million national data center (NDC), which is operated by the GoT’s Telecommunications Corporation (TTC). Under the Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation (TTC) Act 2017, the TTC plans, builds, operates and maintains the “strategic telecommunications infrastructure,” which is defined as transport core infrastructure, data center and other infrastructure that the GoT proclaims “strategic” via official public notice.
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.
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.
11. Labor Policies and Practices
The GoT’s Five Year Development Plan 2016-2021 (FYDP II), which is in its fourth year of implementation, acknowledges Tanzania’s shortage of skilled labor and the importance of professional training to support industrialization. The Integrated Labor Force Survey Analytical Report of 2014 (most recent) found that only 3.6 percent of Tanzania’s 20-million-person labor force is highly skilled. On the regional front, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya have committed to the EAC’s 2012 Mutual Recognition Agreement of engineers, making for a more regionally competitive engineering market.
In Tanzania, labor and immigration regulations permit foreign investors to recruit up to five expatriates with the possibility of additional work permits granted under specific conditions.
The Non-Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act 2015 introduced stricter rules for hiring foreign workers. Under the Act, the Labor Commissioner must determine if “all possible efforts have been explored to obtain a local expert” before approving a non-citizen work permit. In addition, employers must submit “succession plans” for foreign employees, detailing how knowledge and skills will be transferred to local employees.
Non-citizens may be granted two-year work permits, renewable up to five years, while foreign investors may be granted ten-year work permits which may be extended if the investor is deemed to be contributing to the economy and well-being of Tanzanians. Some stakeholders fear that this provision creates an opening for corruption and arbitrarily prejudicial decisions against foreign investors. Since the passage of the Act, GoT officials have been conducting aggressive “special permit inspections” to verify the validity of work permits. The process for obtaining work permits remains immensely bureaucratic, opaque at times, and slow.
Mainland Tanzania’s minimum wage, which has not changed since July 2013, is set by categories covering 12 employment sectors. The minimum wage ranges from TZS 100,000 (USD 45) per month for agricultural laborers to TZS 400,000 (USD 180) per month for laborers employed in the mining sector. Zanzibar’s minimum wage is TZS 300,000 (USD 135), after being increased from TZS 150,000 (USD 68) in April 2017.
Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar governments maintain separate labor laws. Workers on the Mainland have the right to join trade unions. Any company with a recognized trade union possessing bargaining rights can negotiate in a Collective Bargaining Agreement. In the public sector, the government sets wages administratively, including for employees of state-owned enterprises.
Mainland workers have the legal right to strike and employers have the right to a lockout. The law restricts the right to strike when doing so may endanger the health of the population. Workers in certain sectors are restricted from striking or subject to limitations. In 2017, the GoT issued regulations that strengthened child labor laws, created minimum one-year terms for certain contracts, expanded the scope of what is considered discrimination, and changed contract requirements for outsourcing agreements. In 2019, the government adopted a new National Strategy Against Child Labor, though it has not officially been implemented.
The labor law in Zanzibar applies to both public and private sector workers. Zanzibar government workers have the right to strike as long as they follow procedures outlined in the Employment Act of 2005, but they are not allowed to join Mainland-based labor unions. Zanzibar requires a union with 50 or more members to be registered and sets literacy standards for trade union officers. An estimated 40 percent of Zanzibar’s workforce is unionized. (See Chapter 4: Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment for more on recent local content laws.)
12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Other Investment Insurance Programs
In 1996, the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the predecessor agency to U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), signed an incentive agreement with the GoT. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has in principle agreed that the existing OPIC agreement will allow for the International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to operate in Tanzania. The current portfolio includes projects in agriculture, energy, micro-finance, and logistics. In addition, the DFC inherits USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA)’s active portfolio including guarantees to several banks to encourage lending to small and medium sized enterprises.
Tanzania is also a member of the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which offers political risk insurance and technical assistance to attract FDI.
13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics
Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
The IMF’s The Bank of Tanzania reports the top source countries for inward direct investment to Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar separately. Data on outward direct investment is not available.
According to the Bank of Tanzania, the top sources for inward foreign investment into Mainland Tanzania in 2017 were: United Kingdom, South Africa, Norway, Netherlands, Nigeria, Mauritius, and Kenya.
According to the Bank of Tanzania, the top sources for inward foreign investment into Zanzibar in 2017 were: United Kingdom, Italy, Kenya, Luxembourg, South Africa, Spain, and the United States.
Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment
Data not available.