Saturday, 12th June 2021, Arusha, Tanzania: Businesses across the East Africa region are set to benefit from prompt resolution of persistent trade barriers and disputes, following the revamping of the EAC Secretariat private sector desk, which will serve as an interface between the private sector and the EAC Secretariat.
Speaking on Friday 11th June 2021, during the CEO roundtable dinner organized by the East African Business Council (EABC), Tanzania Chambers of Commerce, Industries & Agriculture (TCCIA) and the Zanzibar National Chambers of Commerce (ZNCC) at Serena Hotel in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 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.
“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.
Tanzania business leaders in attendance expressed their optimism on market access of their goods into the EAC region following the positive support by President H.E Samia Suluhu and change of guard at the East Africa Community Secretariat in April.
During the CEO Round Table dinner, Tanzania business leaders represented by Mr Paul Koyi, President of the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) presented a policy document, with a matrix of intra EAC trade and investment issues that the private sector is advocating to be promptly resolved to Tanzania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs & East African Cooperation, H.E. Amb. Liberata Mulamula & EAC Secretary General, Peter Mathuki at the EABC CEO Roundtable in Dar Es Salaam.
The captains of industry urged the EAC Secretariat to fast track the harmonization of domestic taxes and elimination of all discriminatory domestic taxes charged to EAC originating goods through the ratification of the EAC Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income.
“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,” Paul Koyi, President, Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA).
The business leaders reiterated the urgent need for the United Republic of Tanzania to join the EAC One Network Area Country Model to lower the cost of communications and in turn ease doing business in the region.
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.
Gracing the event, Tanzania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs & East African Cooperation, H.E. Am. Liberata Mulamula reiterated the Government´s commitment to facilitate a conducive business environment to increase trade and investment in Tanzania.
“We cannot be progressive as a region without involving the private sector. The Tanzanian Government is committed to facilitating a conducive business environment to boost trade in the region,” said H.E. Amb. Mulamula.
On his part, Mr. Ali Amour, President of ZNCC urged for quick ratification of the Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary (SPS) Protocol. Other issues that the private sector have recommended include; the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreements by all EAC Partner States, review of EAC Rules of Origin, 2015 and quick admission of the Democratic Republic of Congo to expand the market for products made in the EAC region.
The CEO Round Table held under the theme, “Enhancing a Private Sector led Integration & Emerging Opportunities in East Africa” hosted the EAC Secretary-General Hon. Dr. Peter Mathuki and his delegation including the EALA Speaker Hon. Martin Ngoga and the President of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), Justice Nestor Kayobera, ahead of an official visit to H.E. Samia Suluhu, President of the United Republic of Tanzania.
East African Business Council (EABC)
9th Floor Mafao House | Old Moshi Road | Arusha | Tanzania P. O. Box 2617 | Tel: +255 27 2520162
EABC – The Voice of the Private Sector in East Africa
About East African Business Council: The East African Business Council (EABC) is the regional apex body of private sector associations and Corporates from the 6 East African countries. It was established in 1997 to foster the interests of the private sector in the integration process of the East African Community. EABC vision is a borderless East Africa for business and investment. The primary mission is to promote sustainable private sector-driven growth in the EAC.