TANZANIA’S share of intra-regional trade in East African Community region has increased from 15 per cent in 2005 to 26 per cent by last year grossing over 1.5 billion US dollars, the government has said.
The Permanent Secretary at Ministry of East African Cooperation, Joyce Mapunjo, told reporters in Dar es Salaam that the country’s trade volume was only second to Kenya in the EAC region.
Ms Mapunjo who was speaking to journalist on the forthcoming 16th EAC Summit due to be held in Kenyan capital, Nairobi later this month, pointed out that the country’s exports include manufactured goods.
“We are exporting steel bars, cooking oil, cement and textiles,” she pointed out while stressing that EAC intraregional trade has increased from 317 million US dollars in 2005 to over 1.5 billion US dollars last year.
“And the figure is increasing annually so I urge our businessmen to seize the opportunity and exploit the regional market,” she argued.
The EA Cooperation chief civil servant further noted that the government is doing everything to ensure that the local private sector is competitive.
“We have addressed concerns over road blocks and now most of them are gone and by next year we will have only three weighbridges between Dar es Salaam and Nyakanazi border post,” she noted.
The Ministry’s acting Director for Trade, Investment and Production, Bernard Haule said where necessary weigh-inmotion bridges will be deployed to check against notorious cargo truck owners who do not comply to load limitations on the roads.
Mr Haule said because of efficiency at Dar es Salaam port and government’s decision to remove non-tariff barriers, intraregional trade was growing rapidly hence contributing to economic growth.
“We have been working with customs officials from Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda in ensuring that cargo clearance is not delayed by tax payments hence the process starts before goods arrive at Dar es Salaam port,” Mr Haule noted.
The 16th EAC Summit will be preceded by a technical meeting of senior government officials who include Permanent Secretaries and will be followed by the Council of Ministers which will culminate into the Summit of Heads of State and Government.
Current EAC Chairman, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya will hand over the position to President Jakaya Kikwete at the end of the summit with Dar es Salaam scheduled to host the next meeting later next year.
The EAC which is comprised of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda has an area of 1.82 million square kilometres, a population of over 143.5 million people with a gross domestic product of 110.3 billion US dollars according to EAC Secretariat.
Source: All Africa
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