Tanzania inkling to export more outside the East Africa Community, particularly to Uganda and other partner state, has made its exports to the world to grow by only 20 percent.This was revealed on Tuesday in Dar es Salaam by Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) executive director Daniel Machemba at a workshop on improving trade flow within East African Community (EAC) which involved representatives from the EAC countries.Despite many business opportunities within the EAC, he said, Tanzanians hasn’t fully utilised the market available in Uganda. Tanzania has been hesitant when it comes to working with other partner states, it was revealed.
“On the contrary, Tanzania’s exports to Uganda grew by 3 percent while Uganda’s imports from the outside world grew by 10 percent,” he said.
Machemba said between 2007 and 2011 imports from Uganda grew by 42 percent, while at the same time Uganda‘s exports to the world grew by 7 percent which means Uganda has benefitted more from that arrangement.
However, he said businesspersons have been very slow in responding to the change of policies in the region, adding that even the current figures are cannot compare to what Tanzania buys or exports to the rest of the world.
“For instance, we still buy rice from outside the bloc while some farmers in Kyela, Mbeya Reegion or Kahama in Shinyanga Region complain of lack of rice market…the main reason am quoting Kenyan figures is because of fear of the unknown that many Tanzanians have with Kenyans,” he said.
Additionally, he said, for the period from 2005 to 2010, the country doubled its exports to Kenya while Kenya’s export to Tanzania improved marginally to about 30 percent.
Moreover, TCCIA boss said figures from International Trade Centre indicate that Tanzania exported goods worth USD284.9m in 2009, USD558m in 2010 and USD408m in 2011, while it imported merchandise worth USD316.9m in 2009, USD295.2m in 2010 and USD378.1m in 2011.
Tanzania’s imports from Kenya were almost 90 percent of total imports from the region for the period. This increase in volume of trade is huge by any standard, Machemba explained.
TCCIA president Alloys Mwamanga, for his part, said the objective of the training workshop was to raise the business communities’ understanding of the policies, tools and different opportunities available following the signing of the EAC Protocol on Common Market.
“It is our sincere hope that the impact of this awareness raising activity will result into improvement of intra-trade between EAC members states, increase in cross border investments, creation of employment and income generation and hence poverty reduction in all partner states,” he said.