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East Africa: Eight Achievements of EA Trade Hub Project Revealed

Dar es Salaam — Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) has highlighted 8 achievements it recorded during the implementation of a yearlong East Africa Trade Hub project in facilitation towards compliance with the region common market protocol. 

Among other achievements, the project succeeded to re-open rice markets for small holder farmers in Rwanda and Uganda, this was after eliminating the 75 per cent common external tariffs. 

TPSF Director of Policy Mr. Gilead Teri briefed journalists yesterday that, the measure was imposed after allegation that imports from Tanzania were found to been mixed with other rice from Asian countries. 

"Rwanda has eliminated a $300 as tax on importing rice from Tanzania that limited exports," he noted. 

TPSF Director of Policy, Gilead Teri (Photo: The Citizen)
He added that, farmers are currently export to Rwanda and other EAC countries freely, thanks to dialogues made during the project. 

Another thing that TPSF cerebrates is the directive statement by the President John Magufuli during the Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) dialogue when he ordered a port of Dar es Salaam to operate within 24 hours a day. 

Mr Teri said that, the move fasten track on clearing of goods from the port. 
Again, the hub has pushed for the elimination of 18 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on ancillary services in the clearance of goods which was a hefty burden for traders and business owners. 

"Not only the consequences faced by the business community but the Dar port also saw a significant decrease in consignments as traders and business owners opted for alternative ports like Beira and Mombasa ports," he noted. 

Others are including abolition of various fees and levies related to agriculture, reduction of tariffs from 5 to 2 per cent for food crops and 5 to 3for cash crops and exemption of VAT on locally produced compounded animal feed. 

Also the exemption of VAT on capital goods to reduce importation costs on machines and plants used in strategic industries is another achievement. 

Further, the hub project helped TPSF to influence the Tanzanian government to exempt VAT on fertilized eggs for incubation in support for growth of domestic poultry sector. 

"It was not simple to achieve all these. We partnered with different entities including local and international organizations," he noted. 

In implement the hub project TPSF had a partnership with USAID, and prepared some trade dialogues, meetings, trainings and researches. 

In 2017, TPSF successfully held two dialogues with its two counterparts in Kenya and Rwanda on harmonizing agendas towards the EAC common market realization, strengthening of private sector and elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers impending trade in the region. 

The Hub project also prepared seven Advocacy papers and three validation meetings involving 82 private sector leaders. 

Again they have successfully conducted four common market update meetings, reaching 138 people. They also conducted two peer to peer processes, involving 49 corporate leaders. 

Culled from