….She advises, while opening the latest Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair yesterday
VICE-PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan officially opened the 43rd Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair yesterday with a strong call to explore regional markets for which Tanzania is faring well in its balance of trade with the East African Region, Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union.
She said trade with the EAC increased by 21.8 per cent to 448.5 million US dollars in the year ending 2018 compared to 349.6 million US dollars posted in the preceding year.
Trade with SADC rose by 29.8 per cent to 999.3 million US dollars last year from 877 million US dollars in the previous year. Trade with the African Union grew by 5.6 per cent in the period under review.
Some of the goods most traded with these regions are tea, maize, rice, cotton, cement, minerals, barley and mosquito nets.
“This is an outstanding performance for our country in its balance of trade in the region that calls for increasing output and quality of goods to meet international standards,” she noted.
To ensure the sustainability of the exports performance, the vice president directed the Ministry of Industry and Trade as well as Tanzania and Trade Development Authority (Tan- Trade) to establish a mechanism that will put in place reliable markets for domestic goods within and outside the country.
Ms Samia said the mechanism would guarantee local manufacturers of reliable markets for their goods, thus increasing production and contributing to economic growth.
On this initiative, the vice president reiterated President John Magufuli’s directives to ensure all ministries and departments procure locally made furniture in order to promote domestic manufacturers.
Ms Samia said the government would continue to put more efforts in promoting small, medium and large scale industries that will contribute to job creation and robust economic growth.
She stated that the target was to ensure that by the year 2020, more than 40 per cent of jobs are created from industries. Statistics show that small scale industries and businesses employ over eight million people.
“The government will continue to create an enabling environment especially through the blueprint that aims to remove all hurdles and bureaucracies that hinder business growth,” the VP stressed.
She directed the Ministry of Industry and Trade as well as TanTrade to ensure the blueprint launched recently is implemented and conduct regular reviews on how it is supporting and creating a conducive business environment.
Already, 54 fees and charges that have been increasing costs of doing business to investors in the country have been slashed. She said the ministry should ensure all fees and charges that are not friendly to investors are removed.
The VP stated that the government would ensure that regulatory authorities do not become a hindrance to investors due to bureaucracy. “When our goods are produced at low cost, they become competitive in the regional and international markets,” she noted.
She encouraged foreign exhibitors to come to Tanzania and invest in industries in order to produce their goods and benefit from huge domestic and regional markets.
The number of foreign exhibitors at the 43rd DITF has increased to 580 compared to 508 last year while local exhibitors rose to 3,145 from 2956 in the 42nd trade fair.
The vice president presented prizes to the Overall Winner, First Runner Up and the Second Runner Up of the 43rd DITF to Tanzania Prisons Services; Suma JKT and Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA) respectively.
Earlier in his speech, the Minister for Industry and Trade Innocent Bashungwa said small and medium industries constitute 98 per cent of all industries in the country.
This is the same also in developed countries like Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, United Kingdom where over 90 per cent of the industries are small and medium scale.
He said his ministry would collaborate with other ministries, departments, institutions and councils to organise meetings with various groups of business people at regional and district levels to sort out hurdles hindering business growth.
He also said his ministry was reviewing various policies that are outdated and have not been contributing to business growth in the country.
On his part, the Vice Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Industry, Trade and Environment Mr Masoud Hamis, called upon the ministry responsible for industry and trade to make sure goods produced in the country are given priority in government procurement before embarking on importation.