EXPORTS from Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and Export Processing Zones (EPZ) have earned the country over 1 billion US dollars (about 2.2 trillion/) in foreign currency since the schemes were introduced in 2008 under the Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA).
During the period under review, the investment opportunities, which were established to spur processing and manufacturing of products for local and export markets have created over 36,000 jobs for Tanzanians, according to Director General of EPZA, Colonel (Rtd) Joseph Simbakalia.
Col. Simbakalia made the revelation in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday night during a press briefing on the sidelines of roundtable discussion where the EPZA boss was hosted by the CEO Roundtable of Tanzania (CEOrt).“When the initiative was established foreign exchange earnings was just 22 million US dollars (about 47 billion/-) but this has shot-up to 1 billion US dollars accumulatively, translating to about 200 million dollars (about 436bn/-) per annum,” Col. Simbakalia explained.
Apart from the earnings and jobs, the EPZA chief pointed to the fact that foreign investors bring to the country capital, technology and expertise to boost industrialisation.
EPZ scheme provides for the establishment of export oriented investments within the designated zones with the views of creating international competitiveness for export led economic growth.
On the other hand, the SEZ was designed as a strategy to achieve the Mini-Tiger Plan 2020, by promoting quick and significant progress in economic growth, export earnings and jobs creation as well as attracting private investments from both local and foreign investors in productive and service sectors. He stressed that the government has no plans to set up industries but rather put in place favourable environment for the private sectors to establish factories.
“The zones act as magnet for investment in desirable activities in specially designated areas by providing quality infrastructure, complemented by an attractive fiscal package, business support services, cluster formation and minimal regulations,” Col Simbakalia explained.
Earlier, the Chairman of CEOrt, Mr Ali Mufuruki, said the heads of business community decided to invite the EPZA boss to provide insights on opportunities for private sector engagement as part of the government’s industrialisation plan. “The meeting will as well provide an avenue for business leaders to highlight existing challenges and examine potential solutions within the business environment.
“These challenges include unreliable electricity, inadequate transport and logistics network as well as unfavourable regulatory environment,” the prominent local businessman noted. The CEOrt is a policy dialogue forum with the main objective of creating a platform through which captains of the industry can constructively engage the government in creating a more conducive environment for businesses to prosper and contribute to economic growth.
Members of the dialogue forum and companies they lead account for more than 40 per cent of revenues collected by the government