Saturday, February 21, 2009

How can Tanzania develop its horticultural Industry?

By Bernard Kihiyo
Tanzania practiced socialism policy for about twenty years 1967-1987; due to this it hadn’t took economic advantage on most of its resources due to presence of a weak private sector to support the current open market economy without the support of foreign direct investments (FDI) and expertise; we had been used to have state controlled economy; where government was the provider of social services at the same time doing business, horticultural industry was not one of the government priorities.

For several years; Tanzania flowers growers were using Jomo Kenyatta international Airport and not Kilimanjaro was purely caused by lack of enough cargo of fresh flowers for a commercial charter to land at Kilimanjaro International Airport

Hopefully; with the inauguration of flight - Boeing 747-200 cargo aircraft from Kilimanjaro International Airport to lift the flower has gone hand in hand with increases in production which led to have enough cargo of fresh flowers. I believe there are long term strategies in place with the support of US government to make this dream to come true.

Viewing the idea from all points of views; it has a great impact to our economy as it is going to increase the number of employment opportunities to Tanzanians, it will increase foreign currency from the export earnings; however there must be tight control on what had been exported and what is the actual income from those exports; let us not repeat the same mistake on what happened to our minerals auditing (Alex Stuart Scandals and the like)

We; Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS) see the future of horticulture industry to be more of export oriented rather than been for domestic production, as the economic welfare of most of Tanzania consumers continue to struggle to attain certain basic needs and not wants, very few will afford to buy flowers for their loved ones, as majority will prioritize their little income to satisfy their basic ‘’needs’’ or necessary goods or services for their survival. These include things that if not met will jeopardize health, safety or their well being.

Whereas flowers are goods that make our lives more comfortable and enjoyable, they provide lifestyle for people whom think so, therefore flowers are just ‘’wants’’. Majority of Tanzania consumers might wish to have and acquire flowers as a personal affection and to have social identity but any human being can survive even without them.

I have a very little advice to make to all concern in horticultural industry in Tanzania; to focus and diversify their attention to; some nice tropical flowers and herbs production, as there are several pharmaceutical industries looking for herbs especially from African tropical countries. This sort of creativity will boost the horticultural industry to have more competitive advantage over other flowers growers in the world.

Kenya private sector had been doing and develop the horticultural industry over years even before independence, there had been long term strategies to exploit and acquire the world market share over flowers to Kenya’s advantages, for instance focusing on flowers which other big growers could not produce due to weather barrier; Kenya managed to create its own brand in terms of flowers.

If Tanzania would like to invest onto horticultural industry it should be able to demonstrate strong firm-level capabilities on the supply side to market products and services worldwide, in order to win willingness of sophisticated consumers on the demand side, whom will be ready to pay for Tanzania firm’s flowers and it should not operates under the shadow of Kenya.

To elaborate more on the above; competition over flowers production has been massive from other growers and even artificial flowers have acquired a significant world market share. I believe Tanzania has all necessary potentials to enable the industry to grow, one being having ample and arable land, supportive climate, ample natural resources, enough skilled and cheap labour.

What is missing in our mix is seriousness on using these potentials for our economic development. Tanzania will only leap more than Kenya only if it takes a triple-bottom-line approach to their performance that is: sensitivity to international standards, quality and business best practice should be on our finger tips if we real want to survive in this new era of globalized economy-horticultural industry if one is to be more specific.

Do telecommunication operators in the country exploit consumers?

By Bernard Kihiyo
Since the establishment of cellular firms in Tanzania; this sector is one of the fast growing service industry in Tanzania. I do have the feeling that; service users (consumers) are enjoying the services of telecommunication operators as it has been very easy to communicate amongst themselves any where in Tanzania, some in very rural areas and charges for telecommunication services in Tanzania had been a bit cheaper when one compares the figures/charges from the past five years; this has been caused by the presence of several operators competing to acquire significant percent of a market share.

However the marketing strategy in use by some telecommunication operators when selling their products; on some occasions appears to be unethical.

I believe telecommunication companies are moneymaking corporations just like any other: they exist to create profit. The overarching aim of corporate telecom promotion, therefore, is to increase profits by raising consumer demand for telecommunication products as effective ways to influence consumer opinion.

But; this approach fuels unethical service promotion in several ways; the most common violations include: promoting misleading or false claims about a telecommunication services, and deliberately suppressing risks such as radioactive effects of some telecommunication devises by using product awareness campaigns for service promotion rather than consumer’s health promotion.

For instance; you might be told; you will be given free minutes or text messages but you have to pay a certain amount of money as one of the condition; in other words this is not free service but a discounted charges for a service. This approach and many others lead to irrational use of some services by consumers and cause exploitation on consumer income and consumer receives less value for their money in return.

What is the way forward?
First and foremost one has to ask this question; ‘’who regulates telecommunication service promotion in Tanzania?’’ One could say Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) but unfortunate the answer to this question is predominantly the telecommunication companies themselves, TCRA and the government are not highly active in monitoring corporate abuses with this note consumers are the one to suffer.

Prevailing issues such as having; weak consumer associations, low awareness of consumers themselves on their rights and obligations, weak regulations make our markets an easy target for unethical marketing, TCRA’s lack of equipment and technology to prove a point on unethical conducts are added constraints in the monitoring of corporate unethical promotion activities in Tanzania.

Countries with self regulatory promotional strategy such as Europe and America do have strong consumers’ movements which can check and balance the market but not for Tanzania. The current market situation is clear evidence that self regulation does not protect consumers against unethical and sometimes illegal promotion tactics.

Consumers have a strong interest in effective competition policy and regulation. Rules are needed to control anti-competitive behaviour in all market economies, whatever their mix of private and state enterprise, to ensure lower prices, better choice and quality, and access to essential goods and services

Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society wants regulation that fully covers all areas of telecommunication and we also want to see telecommunication service information is regulated on its genuineness by an independent, accountable watch dog. A deliberate effort should be done by all sectoral regulatory authorities; in this case Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) and other key stakeholders to raise consumer awareness on their rights and obligations.

TCAS believes the best way to ensure service users in Tanzania get rational, impartial treatment from telecommunication operators is for consumer to be able to understand easily the call cost of each call s/he is making whenever s/he wants for self cost control.

There should be a national campaign aims to reduce undue risks to consumer health and safety posed by radioactive effects of telecommunication devises. Moreover Telecommunication operators should be hold accountable for compliance with global codes for ethical product promotion

We have to hold TCRA accountable for rigorous enforcement of regulations on telecommunication services product promotion in order to uphold consumer rights to safety and information. There must be deliberated efforts to improve consumer access to credible, reliable and transparent service information.

Many Tanzania consumers today want to behave sustainably, but find it is not easy to translate that aim into action. There is often a gap between the consumer’s interest and their everyday action, TCAS is hereby to complement government and other key stakeholders efforts to bridge the gap.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Currently, am residing in Zanzibar (Unguja), but my permanent home is in Dar es salaam. I wish to draw your attention concerning the frequent rise in BOAT FARE as if there is no regulating body. Normally a boat fare ranges from TSHS 10,000 to 35,000/=. The boat owners just decide to raise the fares without considering the ability of passengers to pay.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Banking fees / levies are too high in Tanzania

By Patrick Kinemo.

I am concerned by the level of fees and other levies charged by our banks. The banking sector is a unique and important sector of the economy as a whole, i am concerned with what i think is excessive fees charged to customer/consumers particularly depositors & savers.

The banks use our deposit to buy treasury bills & other financials instruments where they make a lot of money & pass on very little to its savers; whilst at the same time charging for withdrawals, balance statements, monthly account maintaining fees etc.
I think these fees need to be regulated to ensure that they are fair!!Who protects the depositors/ savers?

Phone no:+255712930648