Tanzania: Special Zones attract over 2.7tri/- investments

Investments under the Exports Processing Zones (EPZs) and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) have surpassed one billion US dollars in the past seven years, with 130 registered companies creating 31,923 jobs for mostly Tanzanians.

Export Processing Zones Authority’s (EPZA) Director of Promotion and Facilitation, Ms Zawadia Nanyaro, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that since the authority opened doors for business in 2008, the country has received 1.27 billion US dollars (about 2.7trn/-) in capital investments, which have generated about 800 million US dollars (over 1.6bn/-) in export revenues.

“We have a bright future as a country...all that is needed are concerted efforts to make Tanzania the investor destination of choice by promoting our investment potentials in and outside the country,” Ms Nanyaro told reporters.

Presenting statistics, she appreciated the positive response of Tanzanians to invest under EPZ and SEZ schemes, noting that out of the 130 projects registered so far, Tanzanian owned account for 45 per cent. Other sources of investments with their percentages in brackets are India (21), China (nine) and others (25).

Ms Nanyaro dismissed critics who oppose the tax incentives under the EPZ/SEZ schemes as baseless, saying under the environment where the entire world is competing for same investors, incentives are inevitable.

“Investors are ‘flying birds’...they always go where there is friendly environment to support their businesses,” said Ms Nanyaro, hinting that there are even Tanzanians who relocate their investments to neighbouring countries where they believe the incentives are more competitive.

She, however, maintained that the benefits accrued from the new investments under EPZ/SEZ schemes are far high than the tax incentives sacrificed.

Lack of readymade infrastructure, unreliable energy, inefficient port services and tax facilitation as well as limited awareness on EPZ/SEZ programmes among government entities are some of the key challenges that impede efforts by the Mabibo-headquartered EPZA in attracting more investors, according to Ms Nanyaro.

Mtwara Freeport SEZ oil and gas, Bagamoyo SEZ and Kurasini Logistics Centre are among the ambitious projects that the authority is determined to pursue this year, with the aim of turning the country the major business hub in the Sub-Saharan Africa.

Endowed with abundant natural resources, Tanzania offers the most conducive environment for investors to realise their entrepreneurial ambitions.

The country’s enabling policies; unmatched peace and stability coupled with readily available natural resources and strategic geographical location facilitate speedy growth of investments.

EPZA is entrusted with the responsibility of attracting and regulating investments to the incentive-rich EPZ and SEZ schemes.
Source: Daily News, reported by Masato Masato, from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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