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Tanzania: Call for aggressive AGOA strategy

Tanzania: Call for aggressive AGOA strategy
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Published date:
Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Tanzania has been challenged to come up with a strategy that would help the country to benefit from doing business with investors in the United States under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) programme.

The programme provides eligible sub-Saharan countries duty-free access to the world’s top apparel and about other 6,000 products market, giving Africa a competitive edge over rival suppliers such as Bangladesh and Vietnam.

The US Congress has already renewed the program well ahead of its expiry date of September 30, 2015. The programme, in which about 40 African countries are eligible to take part, has now been extended another 10 years.

The Investment and Promotion Manager at the Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA), Ms Grace Lemunge, affirmed that with new programme set to begin next month, Tanzania was, however, yet to develop an AGOA strategy that would enable the country penetrate the US market more easily.

The call was made in Dar es Salaam yesterday during a meeting between EPZA officials and a business delegation from the State of Alabama in the US, led by Mr Greg Carfield. Ms Lemunge said, the objective of the meeting was to take the delegation through the available investment opportunities existing in the country.

“EPZA is welcoming investors from Alabama to Tanzania and open up new trade and investment opportunities between the two countries,” said Ms Lemunge. She pointed out that the sectors that already have investors as mineral processing, textile, engineering and agri business.

“Investors who want to invest in the export processing zones and the special processing zones should establish new investment and 80 per cent of the produced goods should be exported,” she said.

EPZA is responsible for steering and implementing government policy on promotion of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Tanzania. Other functions of EPZA include the development of EPZ/SEZ infrastructure, provision of business services to EPZ/SEZ investors and issuing of EPZ/SEZ licenses. The Authority functions as a one stop service center for all prospective and existing investors.

“Once an investor obtains the SEZ licenses he or she does not require any other license except for highly regulated industries like food and drugs,” pointed out the Manager. Investors can enjoy incentives such as exemption from paying corporate tax for 10 years, Value added tax utilities, withholding tax on rent, dividend and interest import duty on capital and raw materials and many more.

Ms Lemunge called for investments at Bagamoyo Special Economic Zone, Bunda, Manyara, Mtwara free port and in the readymade sheds at Ubungo, Kamal and Global Zones. On his part, Mr Carfield hailed the efforts of the country to put up the processing zones because they reduce the cost of doing business.

“Our country has free economic zones very similar to the ones you have in Tanzania; we have seen a big opportunity in the agri business to settle for investment because everything from the raw materials are readily available,” said Mr Carfield.

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