The Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Amb. Liberata Mulamula has reiterated the government´s commitment to promoting business among East African Community (EAC) member states by supporting the creation of a strong and vibrant private sector that employs a greater part of the population.
Minister Mulamula said in her speech gracing a the CEO Round Table dinner held in Dar es Salaam over the weekend under the theme, “Enhancing a Private Sector led Integration & Emerging Opportunities in East Africa” “We cannot be progressive as a region without keenly and closely involving the private sector. Realizing this truth, Tanzania is committed to facilitating a conducive business environment to boost trade in the region,” said Amb. Mulamula.
She said that the government has already started to address the challenges of trade flow facing the private sector including those facing traders from EAC member states to ensure that business flows unhindered.
The challenges, according to her, can be addressed within foreign embassies or by reaching out to different offices within the country.
“For those who have visited our embassies in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda or Burundi, you can tell how they are working as a one-stop centre. My office’s doors are wide open to listen to private sector stakeholders queries. We want to promote dialogues for attaining a common end,” EAC Secretary General Mr Peter Mathuki said that his office has established a private sector desk, which will serve as an interface between the private sector and the EAC Secretariat.
He said that the desk at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha will have the main task of prompting resolution of persistent trade barriers and disputes, which would see intra-EAC trade increasing from the current 15 pc to 40 pc and bring a prosperous business integration.
“We can increase Intra- EAC trade threefold, in the next 5 years, if we promptly work on resolving some of the impeding Non- Tariff Barriers and consistently hold Public-Private dialogues seeking sustainable solutions to these trade challenges,” Dr Mathuki said.
For his part, Paul Koyi, President of, Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA), said that the private sector in EAC depends on the governments’ goodwill if intra trade has to grow immensely and support people’s livelihood.
“Businesses need a conducive environment to thrive, devoid of constant trade barriers. We are optimistic of increased Intra EAC trade with the goodwill from the Governments of the EAC Partner States and the EAC Secretariat,” he said.
The CEO roundtable dinner was organized by the East African Business Council (EABC), Tanzania Chambers of Commerce, Industries & Agriculture (TCCIA) and the Zanzibar National Chambers of Commerce (ZNCC), the EAC Secretary General Dr Peter Mathuki said the Secretariat will adhere to promptly address issues disrupting intra-EAC trade to increase trade and investment.
To resolve persistent Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs), the players also called for the finalization of the amendment of EAC Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers Act, 2017, the activation of the Dispute Resolution Mechanism by operationalizing the EAC Trade Remedies Committee, boosting the participation of women in EAC cross border trade and implementation of EAC coordinate approach on the handling of Covid-19 pandemic for economic resilience and growth.