Dar es Salaam: Small and medium enterprises in Tanzania have been challenged to partner with others in East Africa to raise their business portfolios and grow their presence in the region. The call was given on Wednesday evening by the Chairman of the Nation Media Group board of directors, Mr Wilfred Kiboro, at a dinner he hosted for the company’s clients and partners in Dar es Salaam. Mr Kiboro said while penetrating foreign markets was difficult for most SMEs, they could increase their chances of success through partnerships.
NMG is the parent company of Mwananchi Communications Limited, the publisher of Mwananchi, Citizen and Mwana Spoti newspapers in Tanzania. It also has newspapers and electronic media businesses in Kenya and Uganda.
'SMEs have the potential to fasttrack growth in the region and create more jobs for the youth,' Mr Kiboro said. 'It is, therefore, the duty of everyone to play our respective roles to assist them realise this goal.'
He said that for the first time this year, NMG conducted the Top 100 Survey in Tanzania, an opportunity that highlighted success stories among SMEs playing a big role in the local market. The survey ranks the leading SMEs in various sectors of the economy.
Mr Kiboro urged EAC governments to eliminate non-tariff barriers, which he said were by far the severest of impediments to integration and ease of doing business in the region.
Referring to the annual ‘Doing Business’ reports, which depict the region as lagging behind in creating a conducive business environment, Mr Kiboro said politicians should understand that attracting investment was critical to the region’s social and economic growth.
'According to this report published by the World Bank, only Rwanda performs well. Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda have a lot to learn from Rwanda to facilitate trade,' he said.
Rwanda was the first country in the region to abolish work permits for people from EAC member states. 'I don’t mean that these changes should happen overnight, but the problems should be sorted out systematically,' Mr Kiboro said.
Tanzania’s Information, Youth, Sports and Culture minister Emmanuel Nchimbi said the government was committed to upholding media freedom in the country. However, he stressed that media should observe regulations and ethics in their operations. 'Media freedom is only one side of the coin, the other side calls for media to be responsible to ensure that peace and tranquillity prevail,' he said.
He also said Tanzania was working hard to remove the non-tariff barriers and other impediments to trade to enable entrepreneurs in the country to flourish.
NMG Chief Executive Officer Linus Gitahi, MCL’s board chairwoman Zuhura Muro and NMG editorial director Joseph Odindo also attended the dinner at Movenpick Hotel in Dar-es-Salaam.