TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Uganda: Africa awaits AGOA III

Monday, 10 May 2004

Source: The East African (Nairobi)

One year after Tanzania launched its export processing zones (EPZs), only three licensed operators have effectively started producing goods for export to the US under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

According to the National Development Corporation (NDC), a government agency responsible for the development of EPZs, the first factory to come on line at the EPZs was Nida Textile Mills, located in Tabata Industrial Area along the Nelson Mandela Highway.

The other two are Star Apparels (T) Ltd and Reclaimed Appliances Ltd, both located at the Millennium Business Park (MBP) along Morogoro Road in Ubungo in Dar

NDC acting managing director Alley Mwakibolwa said last week that after the passing of the EPZ Act by parliament in 2000, and the subsequent endorsement by the government of the Customs and general regulations leading to inauguration of the programme, the EPZs Programme was formally launched by President Benjamin Mkapa in May 2003.

"The launching of the programme was marked by the inauguration of the first EPZ factory, Nida Textile Mills" he said.

He added, "Nida Mills produces bedding material for export, mainly to the United States under Agoa and also to Europe."

The major objective of the EPZ is to create international competitiveness for export-led growth of the national economy.

NDC, as the government agent for EPZ, apart from being charged with issuance of licences, is also responsible for general development and overseeing establishment and sustainability of the EPZ programme in Tanzania.

However, the Council of Ministers, chaired by the Minister for Industry and Trade, is the overall co-ordinator that gives general policy guidelines in relation to development and operation of the programme.

"In addition to granting licences, NDC has to date identified a number of areas in various regions in the country, including Dar es Salaam, where new EPZs can be established. Other areas are Mtwara, Tanga, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Kigoma and Bukoba. The basis for selection of the areas was their geographical location - being regions bordering neighbouring countries and with such international gateway facilities as airports and sea and lake ports," Mr Mwakibolwa said.

NDC has received many inquiries and applications for various licences that are now being processed, he added. The agency advises applicants on how to meet the conditions to qualify for licences.

Mr Mwakibolwa said the NDC has allocated a piece of land next to the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) for development as an industrial park. NDC is promoting the area for infrastructural development and industrial operations, he added.

"Apart from the Hai plot (near Kilimanjaro airport), other local institutions have also offered plots of land for inclusion in the EPZ Programme because of their suitable locations for export business," he said.

He said these institutions were the Tanzania Harbours Authority (Dar es Salaam, Mtwara and Tanga ports), Tanzania Airports Authority (Dar es Salaam International Airport) and Kilimanjaro Airport Development Company at KIA.

"The Tanzania Airports Authority has gone on to establish a company - the Dar es Salaam Airport Export Processing Zones Development Company - to develop EPZ infrastructure, possibly in partnership with other investors," said Mr Mwakibolwa.

He said the NDC had also identified anchor industries to be operated under the EPZ programme. They include textile and garments; leather goods; agro processing; wood products; fish processing and gemstone cutting and polishing (lapidary); electrical and electronic appliances; and information technology.