The two leaders were speaking on the occasion of the commissioning of Dangote Cement’s multi-million dollar new cement plant in Mtwara on Saturday and ground-breaking of the 26 hectare -jetty which attracted top shots from Nigeria, Tanzania and neighbouring countries of Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique.
President Kikwete said there was no better way of rejuvenating and sustaining nation’s economy if not through investment which create jobs and trade opportunities.
He described the 3m mtpa cement plant as the largest cement plant in the Eastern and Central Africa, noting that the investment is a huge one that would have a huge impact on bilateral relation between Tanzania and Nigeria. “It will go a long way in transforming our happily existing diplomatic and political relations into investment and trade arena”, he noted.
Dr Kikwete pointed that the timing of the commissioning of the cement plant was auspicious, coming at a time when the demand for cement is on the upsurge and increasing both locally and regionally.
“It is logical that there is a sound relationship between economic growth and booming of the construction sector whereby cement is a critical input. Tanzania is one of the countries where such relationship can easily be traced.”
To drive home his point that that Tanzania is a good destination for investment, Kikwete said Tanzania is has registered an average growth of 7 per cent which makes her one of the top 10 fastest growing economies in Africa and that as part of this growth, the construction sector has grown 7 per cent of the GDP in 2005/2006 to 12.5 per cent of the GDP in 2014/2015.
He disclosed that cement prices have been increasing as one moves further away from the cities because of the shortages in supply as opposed to increasing demands and that Dangote Cement is coming to fill the gap.
On his own part, President Mohammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, said Dangote is a key role player in the economic development of Africa and this his investment model is in tandem with the unfolding economic policy of his government.
He said Dangote by his investment is teaching Africa nations on the need to adopt an economic integration policy which will encourage Africans to invest in their continent rather than waiting endlessly for the elusive foreigners to come and help invest and develop Africa. Buhari thanked the government and people of Tanzania for providing the enabling environment that makes business to thrive even to non-indigenes.
The Minister for Transport, Samuel Sitta, who represented the Prime Minister, said investment remained a critical input in developing economy, saying it was for this reason that the government has been working closely with Tanzanian Investment Centre (TIC).
Presently, Sitta explained, the government was implementing some reforms that ensure investments run smoothly adding that, the reforms especially in tax, public sector, financial sector, innovations in rural finance, telecommunications and infrastructure as well as revamped legislative frameworks, have produced an enabling environment that has further provided a platform for future growth.
“We hope to see more foreign investors take advantage of these opportunities and invest in other sectors that will have multiplier effects on the Tanzanian economy,” he said.
He described the commissioning and the ground breaking as significant milestone in the task of economic development of Tanzania. Speaking earlier, the president of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote said the key factor that drives investments in an economy is the presence of an investor-friendly business climate and noted that indeed, Tanzania is one of the most attractive investment destinations in Africa. This he stated was attested to by the substantial amount of foreign direct investments (FDI) that flows into the country, annually.
The latest commissioned cement plant is part of the ongoing African expansion drive of the Pan-African conglomerate. Earlier the company has opened its plants in Cameroon, Zambia and Ethiopia. The commissioning of the Senegal and South Africa plants would follow suit according to the company’s president.
SOURCE: DAILY NEWS