By Drake Nyamugabwa
The East Africa Business Council (EABC) CEO Round Table Meeting in Arusha convened over 30 top CEOs of Companies based in Arusha and Kilimanjaro region and urged them to proactively seize opportunities arising from the EAC regional integration process.
In his opening remarks at EABC CEO Round Table Breakfast Meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, Peter Mathuki (in featured photo), CEO EABC urged businesses in Arusha to proactively engage the East African Community through EABC given the proximity advantage that the EAC and EABC Secretariat are located in Arusha.
He noted that there is a need to remove Non-Tariff Barriers and embark on trading proactively with the neighboring countries even before venturing outside the continent.
“Let’s spur business within ourselves as the EAC bloc,” Mathuki said.
Charles Omusana from the EAC Secretariat informed the CEOs on initiatives and programmes that support business growth and investment.
He noted, “It is the right of the private sector to demand a better and improved business climate in the region.”
He further urged the CEOs to give input on the EAC Private Sector Development Strategy that will be developed.
The Chairman of TCCIA Arusha, Walter Maeda welcomed closer collaboration between TCCIA and the East African Business Council in a bid to support SMEs to take advantage of the opportunities availed by the EAC regional integration process.
Amani Temu from Taha Fresh elaborated one of the obstacles affecting cross border trade. “We request for waiver of duty from the Import Commissioner for EAC Originating Goods takes 7 days, this delays business and intra EAC Trade,” he said.
Among other issues affecting businesses is the recent notice on no conditional release for imported goods by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards, which subjects imported goods from the EAC Partner States to inspections causing delay.
The steel industry in Arusha is calling for the review of East African Harmonized Standards on hot-rolled steel plates of less than 1mm as the plates are an important raw material for their industries.
“Mutual Recognition of Standards is important to businesses, such protectionist administrative measures are NTBs which hinder intra EAC trade,” said Mathuki
The CEO Forum in Arusha agreed to consolidate issues affecting businesses at the ground and through the support of EABC they are keen to engage the EAC Secretary General and Council of Minister for a quick resolution.
The EABC CEO Round Table Meeting in Arusha brought together high level managers from KCB Bank, Ecobank, CRDB Bank, Lodhia Group of Industries, Kijenge Animals Products, Ethiopian Airlines, NabakiAfrika,CNBM Builders, Precision Air, Harsho Group, REDAX, Vodacom, ANZA, TCCIA and Darsh Industries among others.