Friday, 13th August 2021: – The East African Business Council Chief Executive Officer Mr. John Bosco Kalisa has appreciated the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania for reducing the COVID-19 test fees from $100 to $50 and embarking on the COVID-19 vaccination drive, this will sustain and boost cross border trade in the EAC region.
Speaking during his courtesy visit to Hon. John Vianney Mongella, Regional Commissioner of Arusha, Mr. Kalisa said that the initiatives shall attract more international tourists and service providers to come into the country, boosting the resilience and recovery of the tourism and economy at large.
According to the Bank of Tanzania, services receipts increased to USD 221.3 million in June 2021 compared to USD 110.0 million in June 2020.
“EAC Partner States should provide stimulus package and fiscal incentives to the tourism sector as the EAC bloc lost USD. 4.8 billion in international tourism receipts and 2.1 million jobs in the year 2020 due to COVID-19,” said Mr. Kalisa.
During the visit, Mr. Kalisa officially handed over a donation of 2000 masks to the Regional Commissioner to be given to truck drivers, women cross border traders and communities at the borders. He elaborated that EABC has embarked on COVID-19 Donation Campaign to support the Governments of EAC Partner States to curb the outbreak of COVID-19 in the region.
“Women who compose over 70% of cross-border traders have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 and the government should revamp markets at the borders points to help MSMEs trade safely amid the pandemic,” said Mr. Kalisa.
On his part, Hon. Mongella commended EABC for stimulating cross-border trade and investment and committed his support to promote the role of the private sector as the engine for economic growth in order to elevate Arusha as a leading business and diplomatic hub in Africa.
“I urge everyone to wear masks, sanitize and vaccinate to be protected from COVID-19,” said Hon. Mongella.
Mr. Kalisa also said that in 2020 Tanzania exports to Uganda increased by 41% to USD. 772.55 million. He urged the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to facilitate exports and imports through the port of Dar es Salaam and fast-track ratification of the Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary (SPS) Protocol.
In 2019, manufacturing value-added percentage to Gross Domestic Product stood at 16% in Uganda, 9% Burundi, 8 % in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and 4% in South Sudan. Mr. Kalisa elaborated that EABC is committed to support industrialization by promoting value addition, strengthen regional value chains and spearheading the Buy East African Build East Africa (BEABEA) campaign.
He noted that industries in the region, for instance, A to Z Textile Mills have repurposed their production lines to produce new items such as face masks and sanitizers.
The 2000 masks were donated by A to Z Textile Mills and were officially handed over to Mrs. Zainab Mnjeja, Board Member of Transporters Association of Tanzania – Arusha Chapter and the Hon.Nurdin Babu, District Commissioner of Longido.
Mr. John Bosco Kalisa
Executive Director/ CEO
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.