Export Processing Zones Authority’s (EPZA) Director of Development Zawadia Nanyaro told the visiting entrepreneurs at Benjamin William Mkapa Special Economic Zones that there are six zones available countrywide at the moment. She invited over 100 small entrepreneurs to the zones, encouraging them to think big and aspire to grow and produce for the export markets.
“This place is for investors - you are investors too although at different level of development,” said Ms Nanyaro, arraying widespread albeit baseless fears that the incentive rich EPZ programme targets foreigners. She prayed for the small entrepreneurs to grow and invest under the EPZ programme as well. The group had visited EPZA as part of their three-day training on entrepreneurship.
EPZA, whose mandate is to establish and promote investments in EPZs and SEZs, has persistently been inviting local and foreign investors to explore various business opportunities under the two programmes. The authority believes that given the abundant natural resources and raw materials available in the country, investors can profitably establish value adding processing plants for local and export markets.
Tanzania is endowed with huge reserves of minerals - gold, copper, diamond, nickel, manganese, cobalt, coal, iron ore and the famous tanzanite found only in Tanzania. The country is also rich in raw materials - agro-products, leather, wood and gas.
Available data show that through EPZA, 700 million US dollars (over 1trn/-) worth of investments have created 14,000 direct jobs, with 450 million US dollars (over 700bn/-) in exports since the EPZ scheme became operational some five years ago. EPZ programme, established following the enactment of the Export Processing Zones Act, 2002, provides for establishment of export oriented investments within the designated zones.
The programme objectives are to attract and encourage transfer of new technology, attract and promote investment for export led industrialisation, create and expand foreign exchange earnings as well as increase employment and development of skilled labour.