- Efforts to get rid of tariff, non tariff barriers
TANZANIAN government through the Industry and Trade Ministry plans embarking on special mission to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers in district and municipal councils to facilitate exports to neighbouring countries.
Industry and Trade Minister Innocent Bashungwa said in Dar es Salaam over the weekend that while efforts were made to address barriers at borders, it has emerged that barriers within councils were also impeding trade between Tanzania and other countries.
“There are at least 185 councils countrywide and they also have several barriers, we need to sit with the responsible authorities in each council to see how we can get rid of barriers to facilitate trade,” said Mr Bashungwa.
He was speaking during the climax of the first Tanzania- Uganda Business Forum, which attracted over 1,400 participants from both countries.
President John Magufuli and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni opened the two-day forum on Friday.
President Magufuli mentioned tariffs and non-tariff barriers as among factors behind poor trade between Tanzania and Uganda, challenging business stakeholders at the forum to find remedies to the challenges affecting trade between the two countries.
Mr Bashungwa said addressing trade barriers in councils will enable ease movement of goods to the borders enroute to neighbouring countries.
He further said the ministry will introduce a hotline, to be run by the Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TANTRADE), for Tanzanian and Ugandan business people to report any mistreatment from government institutions at borders.
He said traders will now have opportunity to report the mistreatments by some officials of the institutions entrusted to facilitate trade between the two countries.
The targeted officers are those working with Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), The Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA), Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), Energy Commission, Government Chemist Laboratory Authority (GCLA) and Natural Resources Department.
Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Dr Damas Ndumbaro said some of the nontariff barriers were imposed by business people themselves to avoid competition and protect their products.
Dr Ndumbaro counselled Tanzanian and Ugandan traders to partner and maximally utilise the huge market in South Sudan.
“If traders from Tanzania and Uganda had partnered, they would have benefited from a huge market in South Sudan,” the deputy minister stated.
Dr Ndumbaro said it was ease for Tanzanian traders to use Uganda as their route to export goods to South Sudan than using other routes, arguing that partnering with Ugandan traders for South Sudan market was the best business deal.
TANTRADE Director General Edwin Rutageruka appealed to the government institutions to get rid of bureaucracy to empower entrepreneurs in the country.