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Submitted by Web Master on 6 February 2023

The policy debate revolved around the complaints of petty traders, such as the establishment of business stalls by the council and government officials, which benefit the owners of these establishments. It also focused on expressing dissatisfaction with the financial empowerment that the council provides to women, youth, and those with disabilities (YWPwDs).

On January 27, 2023, the Breakfast debate was initiated after Ms. Eliaika Mtui, a mother of one and a small business owner (Machinga) in Kariakoo, Dar es Salaam, shared her unpleasant journey while engaging in the informal sector from the late 90s to date.

Ms. Mtui described her experience from having to work as a housemaid in Kilimanjaro region to raise business capital to relocating and starting up her business in Dar es Salaam.

She further narrated that once she relocated to Dar es salaam, it was difficult to establish a sustainable business due lack of permanent working stations which forced her to move from one place to another. Ms. Mtui moved from Manzese where she first established her business, to Big Brother then now to Kariakoo where she currently operates her activities.

Due to poor leadership, small business owners are subjected to frequent incidents of torture and injustice from auxiliary police officers including confiscation of business properties over baseless reasons just to be released after paying what is referred to as fines,” lamented Ms Mtui.

Temeke Municipal Council trade officer Judith Matage highlighted in the 2022/23 fiscal year, the government allocated TZS 600 million and TZS 45 billion for loan provisions and developing business infrastructure for the operation of petty traders.

Although Ms. Matage stated that the performance of loans disbursed to the YWPwDs is unsatisfactory due to the presence of ghost members, contrary to government expectations. She encouraged small business owners to organize themselves in groups and design business ideas for them to access loans disbursed by councils, insisting that nobody who has met requirements would be denied.

Conversely, Open Mind Tanzania’s Executive Director, Advocate Dominic Ndunguru, said a poor business environment, a lack of recognition, and political interference have greatly hindered the sector’s prosperity in the country. affected measures undertaken by government institutions, including the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA). “In 2022, TRA resolved to register 8,900 Kariakoo petty traders to collect TZS 5 billion. However, the decision was declined due to political interference,” he said.

The debate recommended that the government consider implementing a comprehensive transformation of the operations of small business owner which would benefit the country's economy. This would involve establishing regulations that would allow them to register all their members.