Dar es Salaam: The Confederation of Tanzanian Industries (CTI) has urged the government to take urgent steps to strengthen local products’ competitiveness within the East African region. The Tanga Region CTI representative, Alhaji Mussa Nkhangaa said such steps, including a substantial reduction of power tariffs, would help local products to withstand the envisaged Common Market.
He was speaking recently at the end of a one-day EAC Common Market workshop for Tanga-based business community, which was organised jointly by the EAC Secretariat and the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (TCCIA).
Mr Nkhangaa said that, power tariffs have been one of the major problems that hindered competitiveness of the Tanzania’s products. 'Such problems were among reasons for hesitation by local business community to accept the protocols leading to the common market,' he said.
He said enhancing industrial skills to increase production efficiency; provision and access to financial credit; and improvement of roads infrastructure to enable easy access to farmers’ produce from rural areas are among other crucial steps to be taken to strengthen local product competitiveness.
Mr Nkhangaa cited an example from Kenya Commercial Bank, which has opened branches in various regions in the country, saying the bank would assured Kenyans of credits, if they opt to come and operate in Tanzania. 'Have Tanzanians did the same? Has our local banks established a branch in Nairobi?' he challenged, saying however, that local banks are ought to improve their credit access, wondering: 'if it is not easy to get credit here, would it be easy to get in Nairobi?'
TCCIA Tanga branch member, Mr Masoud Masoud, asked the EAC Secretariat to continue to educate people in the region on the benefits of the common market and other regional protocols.
Mr Victor Massawe, a participant at the workshop, said bank support was lacking in Tanzania, and urged the government to support local business community to enable them compete in the EAC common market.
Earlier, the deputy EAC secretary general, Planning and Infrastructure, Mr Alloyce Mutabingwa assured the participants of the benefits of the common market, saying the EAC secretariat was taking further steps to ensure that the protocols work as planned.
He said that, the EAC member countries were preparing a common strategy to invest in power sector, aimed at reducing its costs, which he said in certain cases, accounted for about 95 per cent of production costs in several industries in the country.