EAST African Business Council (EABC) has pledged to support the region’s industrialisation drive that aims at curbing unnecessary imports of used products like motor vehicles, textiles and footwear.
The East African Community (EAC) Heads of State are strongly advocating industrialisation to check excessive imports of consumables.
Already modalities have been drawn for the motor vehicle assemblies in the region to reduce importation of used motor vehicles.
The closed door session of the 20th Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State received and discussed the report on the envisaged assemblies.
“The Summit considered a report on modalities for promotion of motor vehicle assemblies in the region to reduce importation of used motor vehicles from outside the community and directed the council (of ministers) to follow up the matter and report to the 21st Summit,” the EAC Secretary General (SG) Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko said while reading the joint communiqué at the plenary session.
During presentation of the progress report on activities of the Council of Ministers, its outgoing Chairman Dr Kirunda Kivejinja called up on the podium, EABC Board Chairman Nick Nesbitt who said EABC was energised and prepared to curb unnecessary imports as it seeks to increase trade within the block.
“We do not only want to be traders but manufacturers … if we have a Kenyan firm assembling motor vehicles, why not get the tyres from Tanzania and spare parts from Uganda,” queried Mr Nesbitt, adding that EABC was ready for the challenge and is determined to hit the ground running.
He added that there was no need to see ginneries and cotton industries closed while the region has enough raw materials for making clothes, which he said should in the near future be traded in internationally acclaimed stores like Marks & Spencer and others, after satisfying the local demand.
That echoes President John Magufuli’s continual emphasis on the country to stop importing clothes and instead producing enough for the domestic and export markets.
According to the SG, the EAC Council of Ministers has also made a review of the textile and leather sector in the six-member bloc with a view to develop a strong and competitive sector that gives consumers better choices than imported textiles and footwear.
“The Summit directed the council to conclude the matter and report to the 21st Summit,” said the diplomat.
A day before, during the launch of new EABC Secretariat Office here, Dr Kivejinja who is also Uganda Minister on EAC Affairs, called on the council to maximally extract available potentials by putting up industries in all partner states for the benefit of East Africa.
Mr Kivejinja said EAC has great advantage as its population is on the rise, singling it as a future continent that will have huge markets for its own products, calling on stakeholders to take advantage of the tension between US and China, though carefully, saying that Africa was the continent with more natural resources.
He said experts who have used a lot of time to study should direct their minds in what they studied to increase production instead of lining up waiting to be appointed ministers.