THE East African Business Council (EABC) has called for tax regime harmonisation within the East Africa Community (EAC) to improve ease of doing business and lure more investors to the region.
The appeal comes as the EAC trio of Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya secured top slots in the Where to Invest in Africa 2019 report of the Rand Merchant Bank (RMB).
Speaking on the second day of the Virtual Conference on Trade and investment Opportunities in East Africa beyond Covid-19 held here on Wednesday, EABC Chief Executive Officer Peter Mutuku Mathuki urged EAC Partner States to continue creating a favorable business environment in the region.
“Addressing the cost of doing business such as energy and infrastructure issues and ensuring stable human capital development will entice investors to come to East Africa,” he noted.
The EABC boss, in the same vein challenged Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) to join the economic bloc, saying the combined Gross Domestic Product(GDP) of about 464 trillion ($200 billion) could spell fortunes to the two counties.
He said Ethiopia is urged to join the EAC bloc along with DRC for a bigger regional market.
The conference attracted investment promotion authorities, senior government officials, industry champions, development partners and investors from the region and beyond.
Speakers representing Investment Promotion Agencies in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda and Zanzibar highlighted the region's priority investment sectors, including tourism, agriculture and agribusiness, infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, mining and metals, oil and gas among others.
The Virtual Conference was officially kicked off by EABC Chairperson Nick Nesbitt, who also noted that Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) continue to hinder cross-border trade due to different measures on Covid-19 in the region, and urged for improved regional coordination and harmonisation of measures on the deadly virus for economic resilience and growth.
Tanzania has established the Public Procurement Appeals Authority as an independent and quasi-judicial administrative body to resolve appeals from challenges against procuring entities in an efficient and specialised manner.
The East African nation ranked third in last year’s Ease of Doing Business Index and 116th globally, while DR Congo and South Sudan ranked 183 and 185 respectively, out of the total 190 in the index.