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TCCIA: Make use of trade pact

The Citizen Daily, Tanzania

TCCIA: Make use of trade pact

By Jane Kajoki, Mwanza

10 September 2009

Members of the business community here have been urged to exploit opportunities offered by the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to bolster their enterprises and invigorate the country’s economy.

The private sector development advisor with Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA), Mwanza chapter, Mr Tamim Amijee, said they are also entitled to support from the agreement.

He said they could obtain funds from the European Union (EU) and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) trade regime if they devised reasonable business plans.

A total of Euro555 million (Sh1.04 billion) has been set aside by the EU for Tanzania, he said. Of the amount, 80 per cent was meant for the government budget, while the private sector could access the remaining 20 per cent, he noted.

However, he cautioned, members of the business community should be creative in their businesses and aggressive in accessing the funds. Therefore there was need for embarking on a training programme for them to understand the myriad of opportunities attached to the agreements, he pointed out.

He also called on members of the business community to regularly remind the Government whenever they thought it failed to play its role as stipulated in the agreements.

The TCCIA Mwanza regional chairman, Mr Joseph Kahungwa, admitted that, unlike in the past, the Government was currently working hard to support the private sector.

Mwanza Region has benefited from EPA funds by improving the infrastructure and producing quality cotton, dubbed ’white gold’ in the region.

The Cotonou Agreement signed in June 2000 established the basis for a new trading regime between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

The new trading arrangements planned the shift towards reciprocal trade relations in conformity with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules by concluding the EPAs.

Their main objectives, as set out in the Cotonou Agreement, include the establishment of a free trade area through the gradual elimination of trade restrictions between ACP-EC countries.

The aim is to promote sustainable development and reduce poverty by helping the integration of ACP countries into the world trading system and supporting their own regional economic integration.