The CEO Roundtable of Tanzania, a policy dialogue forum that brings together chief executive officers of about 100 top companies doing business in Tanzania, on Sunday expressed concern over the scourge of corruption that has swept across the east African nation.
"Corruption is continually undermining Tanzania's economic development efforts," said a statement by the Roundtable, whose members and the companies they lead account for more than 40 percent of the tax revenue collected by the government of Tanzania.
Tanzania currently ranks 119 out of 175 countries on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), having dropped 17 points over the last two years.
"The increasingly poor performance is alarming and the endless corruption scandals, pilferage of public resources and diversion of public funds by corrupt officials for personal gain have eroded trust in our leadership and encouraged the emergence of a national culture of impunity, disregard for the laws of the land and glorification of unethical behavior in Tanzania," said the statement.
The statement said infrastructure projects critical for development were undermined by corruption.
At the same time, the education system was failing the youth due to inadequate access to basic facilities and a lack of qualified teachers, it said.
It said the new education policy launched recently by President Jakaya Kikwete did nothing to support Tanzania's economic agenda, which required priority focus on creative problem solving by capabilities and entrepreneurial skills development in order to equip Tanzanians with the necessary skill set they need to compete both regionally and internationally within the global market.
With approximately 70 percent of Tanzanians below the age of 25, inadequate investment in their future will have long-term catastrophic implications for the country, said the statement.
The business leaders emphasized the importance of ethical leadership and strict, non-discriminatory enforcement of the law in tackling the multitude of challenges facing the country.
They called for the need to combat corruption and impunity to ensure the country's resources were protected, preserved and managed efficiently to bring about the much needed economic transformation of the country's economy, which will benefit all Tanzanians.
Presently, over 40 percent of Tanzanians live on less than 1.25 U.S. dollars a day without access to basic infrastructure or quality education.