The government has encouraged both local and foreign investors to take advantage of the investment opportunities under the Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) for their benefits and for the benefit of the country.
The Deputy Minister for Industries and Trade, Hon. Janeth Mbene (MP) said; investors stand a better chance to be successful if they invest through the EPZ and SEZ schemes due to the efficiency of the schemes in terms of facilitation and the incentives package offered by the Authority under the EPZ and SEZ Laws. She said, through the two schemes, investors could easily access the global markets including the markets which have special preferential trade arrangements with Tanzania like AGOA of the United States, EBA of the European Union, as well as the EAC and SADC markets.
Hon. Mbene gave these remarks when she visited the Tanzania Tooku Garments Co. LTD; a textile industry which is operating at Benjamin William Mkapa Special Economic Zone at Mabibo External Dar es salaam over the weekend. The company produces a range of textile products especially jeans and shirts for exports.
'' Investing in such areas has a lot of benefits; EPZA offers investment land and the Authority operates as a one stop service centre, this is a big advantage to any investor who intends to invest in manufacturing '', said Hon. Mbene. She encouraged investors to invest massively through the two schemes and stressed that the government is more than ready to continue creating conducive investment and business climate in the country.
'' I am happy to see that this industry employs a lot of Tanzanians...this is what the government strives to achieve,'' she noted.
On his part, the Tooku Deputy General Manager Mr. Rigobert Massawe said that their factory produces jeans and T-shirts for export in the United States of America through the AGOA scheme.“We produce for the US market,” he said, adding that they are currently expanding their market to start selling in the United Kingdom. According to the Manager, they have so far employed neary 1000 direct employees, and the number will increase to 3000 in the coming one year. Their plan is to increase the number of workers to 15,000 by 2025.
Before visiting the textile industry, the Deputy Minister held talks with EPZA officials and assured them of the government’s support in their endeavours. " I’m highly impressed with the progress made so far by EPZA on fast-tracking the industrialization process in the country", said Hon.
Mbene. She said industrialization is absolutely important for Tanzanian economy as it a crucial means for employment creation, income generation, importation of new technologies, generation of foreign currency as well as promotion of value addition to our local resources.
On his part Dr. Meru said that EPZA management was happy to see that the number of local investors in the EPZ and SEZ schemes was speedily increasing. He said that the increase was a result of an intensive sensitization campaign which involved conducting meetings with various Local Government Authorities as well as participating in various exhibitions and local investment forums. " We launched a special investment promotion campaign last year to sensitize local investors to take advantage of the available opportunities and benefits in the EPZ and SEZ schemes; and so far we have tremendous results ", said Dr. Meru. He said out of all the companies producing under EPZA licenses; 44% are local, 14% are joint venture companies between local and foreign investors, whereas 42% are foreign companies.
EPZA has so far registered 113 companies which have set up factories at different locations in the country. These companies have invested over US$ 1.12 billion and have created over 27,000 direct and 100,000 indirect jobs. A total value of exports from industries under the authority has reached USD 700 million. The authority has earmarked EPZ/SEZ sites in 19 regions where each site is in the magnitude between 500 – 9000 hectors.
According to available statistics, the contribution of industrial sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose from 9.6 per cent in 2010/2011 up to 9.9 per cent in 2011/2012. Direct employment within the sector rose from 115,022 in 2011 up to 120,840 in 2012. Experts say that the EPZ and SEZ schemes will shortly be the key components in the industrial sector contribution to the GDP.
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