Tanga SEZ sparks new industrial hopes

Tanga  Region, famously known for sisal production, with well infrastructure and a number of productive industries, had deteriorated in recent years to almost top the list of the country’s poorest regions.
The economy of Tanga, with last week’s launch of Special Economic Zone (SEZ), is gradually reclaiming its lost glory and it will soon start contributing enormously to the national economic growth.
The economy of Tanga, like in many others in the country, relies on subsistence farming, livestock keeping and fishing.
The agricultural sector faces a number of problems including inadequate utilisation of fertilisers and other agricultural inputs. The SEZ initiative seeks to revive the lost glory of the 1970s when it was among the most industrialised region and among the top three revenue contributors to the national coffer.
Minister of Industry and Trade, Dr Abdallah Kigoda, addressing a multitude of people at Pongwe, few kilometres from Tanga city, described the SEZ initiative as a milestone move in reviving the region’s economic history.
“It is high time residents of Tanga woke up and explored the new opportunities which will come with the mega projects to be established,” said Dr Kigoda at the inaugural ceremony.
He added that the project was part of the government’s efforts to revive defunct industries and establish new ones to attain the 2025 semi-industrialisation vision.
The minister said the Exports Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) has issued 129 licences to 44 companies specialising in construction of economic zones, 85 manufacturing firms of which 70 having invested over 1 billion US dollars (about 2trn/-) and employing 26,000 people.
He said the government is determined to transform Tanga Region into the hub of industrial development. Dr Kigoda said a total of 4,000 hectares of land have been set aside in the region for the establishment of more economic zones and efforts are in place to pay compensations to Naem village.
Vice-President, Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal, inaugurated the project through which 20 industries will be established to transform the regional economy. “We should not depend on agriculture alone. Well established industries create value addition and this could result into the transformation of the whole economy,” said Dr Bilal.
The laying down of infrastructures and the development of Tanga Economic Corridor to be implemented in partnership between Tanga Region and South Korean investors is estimated to cost 277 million US dollars.
Dr BIlal assured the Koreans and other prospective investors of the continued improved investment climate in the country.
“The government alone cannot undertake such mega projects, but in collaboration with the private sector like the Tanga economic corridor project, the implementation becomes feasible,” he added. Tanga Region and Korean investors own the Tanga Economic Zone project at shareholding of 49 and 51 per cent, respectively.
The partnership forms the Tanga Economic Corridor Company Limited that will implement the project in the 72 hectares of land set aside at Pongwe area, few kilometres from Tanga city.
Tanga Regional Commissioner (RC) Chiku Galawa said the project has come at the right time as the government strives to revive its industrial glory of the 1960s and 1970s.
The Tanga Economic Corridor Company Ltd Board Chairman, Mr Chris Incheul Chae, said the project has so far attracted 17 companies with interest to invest in 20 factories that will be built in the SEZ.
“The project means a lot to Tanga Region and the Tanzanian government is expected to generate over 2,000 jobs and increase taxes to national coffers,” he said, noting giving aid without empowering people was less useful.

With the project, many people will be trained into the level of technician to enhance their efficiencies in the implementation of projects.
The EPZA Director General, Dr Adelhelm Meru, said plots of land of different sizes in 20 regions have been set aside for the establishment of the economic zones and in some parts it has reached advanced stage.
Source: The Daily News, reported from Tanga
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