Tanzania businesses in forthcoming recession!
The warning, caution and confidence issued by Profesa Benno Ndulu, the Governor of the Bank of Tanzania that the Tanzania's economic remain strong and is likely not to be pretentious by the global financial downturn sent waves through my mind that triggered me to suggest steps that Professor Ndulu overlooked in his analysis, that could help the Tanzanian business recover from the financial gloom terrorising the world financial market.
While the normal way of reducing risk in a portfolio during a slump is by diversifying, certain assets tend to do better than others at different parts of the economic cycle. What the world is experiencing is a de-leveraging, where all asset classes are falling in value and will continue to fall in the next two years. No doubt the world is going through a period where shares, property, fixed interest and even commodities will go down.
That said, despite slowing global economic activity and the impending recession that Professor Ndulu seem not to put into his equation, it is not all doom and gloom for business and especially for those with a long-term approach.
While there's no escaping the fact that it's not going to be plain sailing from on-going global financial turmoil’s, and that all equity portfolios will get rocked by further short-term volatility, he should have assured business with well-insulated portfolios that those with long and proven track records will be able to overcome the slump. He should also have tried to advice the business to look to professional managers who could help them benefit through the cycle.
Stating that Tanzania financial position is fine wasn’t enough, he should have reconsidered what happened to Iceland bank were UK government is struggling to recover its money invested by its business. To state that Tanzania banks are well-positioned for the slump and that Tanzania money in the foreign account is safe and is enough to allow “business as usual” isn’t correct, because Tanzania is not an island! Is Professor Ndulu aware on what Kenya stock market is facing following global financial downturn?
Professor Ndulu should have seen the need for corporate debt that seems not to feature in his statement. To me, corporate debt is one of the first investments to recover in a slump, and many bond experts are beginning to call the bottom of the market for this sector. At the moment, yields are likely to be attractive, because interest rates and inflation will or are expected to fall which is a fantastic backdrop for any finance executive.
In any slump, there are traditional areas which are viewed as immune or defensive such as pharmaceuticals stocks and healthcare company; along with utility providers. People need medicine and power, irrespective of economic conditions. I do understand that tobacco and liquor companies that Tanzania has been using as a “model of success” following privatisation, also tend to flourish under the spectre of a protracted recession.
Nothing regarding our gold reserve was mentioned in his statement! Gold
at times of financial crisis, is looked upon as a safe haven for distressed investors rocked by faIling share prices. In the current extraordinary circumstances, Professor Ndulu should have told Tanzanians where this asset class is going or taking Tanzania?
While I am not sure if BOT, that Professor Ndulu is the Governor will bail out private owned banks in Tanzania or nationalise part of them, make me speculate what a business need to do in Tanzanian context ?