Q&A – 24 July 2023

Suing husband to recover loan

Four years ago I took a bank loan amounting to TZS 10M and gave it to my husband to purchase a Toyota Hiace for business. My husband bought the Hiace and started the business but never gave me the profits from the business to repay the loan. He also kept on abusing me physically and mentally several times. He then decided to leave me with our four kids and went to stay somewhere else. I want to now sue him to recover the TZS 10M. Can I successfully do so considering that I gave him money without putting anything in writing?
BV, Singida

Section 66 of the Law of Marriage Act (the Act) prohibits one spouse from physically abusing the other, so your husband is violating the law. You have two options, namely, reporting the incidents to the police so that criminal charges can be mounted against the husband, or sue the husband for compensation as per section 65(b) of the Act.

Regarding the abuse and recovery of the amount given to your husband, one option available under law is for you to seek a divorce based on cruelty and separation as proof that your marriage has broken down irreparably. As part of the divorce proceedings, section 114 of the Act empowers the Court to order division of assets acquired by spouses during subsistence of the marriage.

In division of the said assets, section 60 of the Act assumes that any property acquired in the name of one spouse belongs absolutely to that spouse to the exclusion of the other, unless this assumption is rebutted. In case the Hiace was registered in the name of your husband, there will be a rebuttable presumption that it belongs to him and the same cannot form part of the assets that will be subject of the division. However, since you have evidence that you borrowed the money that was used to purchase the Hiace, the Hiace will likely form part of the assets to be divided between the spouses, and you stand a better chance of getting a partial recovery.

Role of TIC for local investors

I am a Tanzanian and businessman running different types of businesses within Tanzania and even outside Tanzania. My understanding has been that the Tanzania Investment Centre is a government institution that is there to assist investors from outside Tanzania who wish to invest in Tanzania by giving them certain incentives so as to promote foreign investment. However recently I was told that the TIC also is willing to assist local investors like myself. In addition to that I am told that whatever incentives foreigners get through TIC I can also get. Is this true? Are the incentives issued by TIC not for foreigners only? Please guide me.
RE, Mwanza

The Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) is established under the Tanzania Investment Act of 2023 (the Act). Among the functions of TIC is carrying out and coordinating investment branding in the country and investment promotion activities; initiate and support measures that will enhance the investment climate in the country for both local and foreign investors; collect, collate, analyse and disseminate information about investment opportunities and sources of investment capital, and advise investors upon request on the availability, choice or suitability of partners in joint-venture projects; promote private sector participation in the provision of public services through public private partnership; in consultation with Government institutions and agencies, identify investment sites, estates or land together with associated facilities of any sites, estates or land for the purposes of investors and investments in general; attend to all investors, including those who are not bound by the provisions of this Act, and assist them to obtain all necessary permits, licences, approvals, consents, authorisations, registrations and other matters required by the law for a person to set up and operate an investment and to enable certificates issued by the Centre to have full effect; carry out and support local investment promotion activities which are necessary to encourage and facilitate increased local investments, including entrepreneurial development programmes;

From the above functions, you will note that the centre is established not only for foreign investors but for all investors including local investors. Further, the Act defines local investor to mean a natural person who is a citizen of Tanzania, a company incorporated under the laws of Tanzania in which the majority of the shares are held by a person who is a citizen of Tanzania, or a partnership in which the partnership controlling interest is owned by a person who is a citizen of Tanzania. Therefore, you as a Tanzanian either as a person, company or partnership as provided above can be registered with the TIC and we recommend you do so.

However, the Act has set minimum capital requirements for business enterprises which can be registered and enjoy the benefits provided by TIC. If a business is wholly owned by a foreign investor or if a joint venture, the minimum investment capital is not less than Tanzanian shillings equivalent to USD 500,000. But if the business is owned by a Tanzanian, the minimum investment capital is not less than USD 50,000.

Therefore, if your business enterprise has a capital of USD 50,000 or more and upon complying with other requirements of the law, it can be registered and issued with a certificate of incentives from TIC and enjoy the incentives provided. A business enterprise in respect of which a certificate is granted under this Act shall be entitled to the benefits which are applicable to that enterprise under the provisions of the Income Tax Act, the Customs Tariff Act, the Value Added Tax Act, or of any other written law for the time being in force.

The TIC is a very friendly centre and we recommend that you visit it and get further details. All the best.