Manyara plans special trading zone at Mererani

Preparations are being finalised for the establishment of an Economic Processing Zone (EPZ) at Mererani in Simanjiro District, Manyara Region, it emerged here last week during the regional investment forum.

District executive director Muhammad Nkya, said the legal acquisition of the plot for the proposed facility was currently being processed by the ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development.

The facility would be established close to the Mererani tanzanite mines. It is intended to have industries for value addition of products that would create employment to the jobless people in the area.

Mr Nkya told the two-day forum that the EPZ would also target foreign investors and that its proximity to the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) would make it easy for the export of industrial products. KIA will only be 26 kilometres away.

He added that besides tanzanite, Simanjiro was also rich in ruby, sapphire, tourmaline, green garnet, rhodelite and other minerals. The vast district has ample land for commercial farming and has hundreds of thousands of livestock.

The project has been on cards for some time. Recently, the chairman of the Simanjiro District Council, Mr Peter Tendee, said at least 1,000 hectares have been set aside for the EPZ.

Officials in Manyara have of late pushed for the region to benefit from tanzanite mining in Mererani. There is a feeling that the neighbouring Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions were cashing in from the rare gem than the ‘home’ region.

Hundreds of the gemstone miners, brokers, exporters as well as ‘small scale’ dealers have invested heavily in Arusha with money accrued from the rare gem by constructing posh houses, real estate, commercial buildings and hotels.

Manyara Region was formed in 2002 following the split of the then 75,000 square kilometre Arusha Region. Currently, it has five administrative districts which are Babati, Hanang, Kiteto, Mbulu and Simanjiro and six local authorities.

The GDP of the region rose to Sh1.2 billion this year from Sh332 million ten years ago. The per capita income more than doubled from Sh319,682 in 2002 to Sh879,014 this year.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Zephania Ubwani, from Babati, Manyara

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