THURSDAY March 2, 2023
By The Tranquility News Reporter, Tanzania
Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) has exhorted its members to use the political will of the country’s President, Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan, in East African integration agenda for extending their business wings across the region.
The TPSF Chairperson, Ms Angelina Ngalula, said the Tanzania members of business community investing in neighbouring countries would increase the East African Community (EAC) intra-trade which was key for the growth of economies of the region.
She commended one of the TPSF members — Taifa Gas — owned by one of the country’s billionaires, Mr Rostam Aziz, for investing $130 million in 30,000 metric-tonne import and storage gas plant at a 3,00-acre Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone in Mombasa, Kenya.
She said the investment marked one of the successes of the deliberate efforts of Dr Samia and the Kenya President, Dr William Ruto, to promote trade and create conducive business environment and investment climate, and to strengthen bilateral trade and economic ties between the two countries.
Kenya and Tanzania have resolved 23 restrictive regulations which include licences, quotas, embargoes, foreign exchange restrictions, and import deposits that had impeded trade between the two countries, following President Samia’s Nairobi visit in May 2021.
Tanzania and Kenya established a joint team of experts then to address non-tariff barriers and other restrictions frustrating trade and investment between the two countries, including incoherent enforcement of cross-border COVID-19 protocols.
The 2022 Kenya Bureau of Statistics’ Economic survey reveals that Tanzania’s exports to its southern neighbour doubled barely 10 months after Dr Samia’s visit, from $242.6 million in 2020 to $473.9 in 2021, the highest figure recorded since independence.
The Kenya’s export to Tanzania also leapfrogged from $276.5 million to 396.5 million.
Addressing media practitioners on the sidelines of thegroundbreaking ceremony for the Taifa Gas Liquified Natural Gas Plant at Dongokundu in Mombasa County, Kenya, on February 24, 2023, Ms Ngalula was buoyant the existing political will towards integration would take the 15 per cent EAC intra-trade to new heights.
Ms Ngalula, who doubles as the Chairperson of the East African Business Council (EABC) added: “EABC will work with the EAC Heads of State to improve food security, strengthen regional supply chain integration, remove non-tariff barriers, restrictions on the free movement of services, double taxation, open skies, telecommunications, and infrastructure development to support business expansions and investments across the region’s borders.
“We should aim at seeing EAC businesses expand to other African countries and increase the 12 per cent intra-Africa trade, marred by logistics barriers and other NTBs, to make the bloc as competitive as EU and Asia, with intra-trade at above 65 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively.”
EABC has in partnership with COMESA and SADC business councils also launched the African Tripartite Business Council to spearhead the private sector involvement in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and to take advantage of the 1.3-billion-people African market.
In presence of the ceremony presided over by Dr Ruto was Kenya Deputy President, Mr Rigathi Gachagua, Kenya Cabinet secretaries, governors and senators, among other stakeholders.
President Ruto termed the launch of Taifa Gas a historic milestone “on our journey to self-sufficiency to clean and green energy” and that it was a critical component of his government’s commitment to deliver rapid socioeconomic transformation through clean and green growthΩ