Private sector’s continuous engagement with governments in the six East African Community (EAC) partner states is vital in boosting intra-regional trade, which currently stands at only 20 percent.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the East African Business Council (EABC), Mr Peter Mathuki made the observation in Dar es Salaam yesterday on the sidelines of a breakfast meeting with heads of the business community in the country.
Mr Mathuki pointed out that the private sector cannot continue being observers in the regional integration process, but should rather take a central role in the process.
“Among major ways which will help boost interregional trade is to engage more closely with the Head of States, government and other stakeholders in understanding the various issue and challenges facing the business community,” said Mr Mathuki.
He cited the example of integrations such as that of the European Union (EU) whose intra-trade is as high as 70 percent due to successful engagement with their own governments.
The CEO noted some of the challenges which were discussed in the meeting as impeding business including non-tariff barriers, double taxation among others.
As the focal body for the private sector in the EAC, he noted that among their duty is to be their voice by engaging all levels of government to strengthen their role in boosting trade.
Mr Mathuki applauded the government of Tanzania for the various initiatives their taking in supporting the country’s private sector.
EAC Board Director, Mr Abdulsamad Abdulrahim pointed out among areas which the meeting deliberated on including services, SME’s, Agriculture and others.
“We reflected on ways we can cross borders to look for markets and improve business cooperation looking at how other business councils are working to support their operations,” said Mr Abdulrahim.
He said that EAC countries can achieve their goals of a middle income status through mutual collaboration.
The countries possess huge resources from which the goal can be reached. We have a lot of resources which our people could benefit from and be able to attain the goal of becoming a middle income economy.
The Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) Director of Membership Services, Mr Louis Accaro emphasized on the need for the private sector’s to enrol to EABC.