New shopping bags supply big opportunity - minister

18Apr 2019
Getrude Mbago
DAR ES SALAAM
The Guardian
New shopping bags supply big opportunity - minister

THE government has challenged Tanzanian entrepreneurs to grab the multi-million business opportunity presented by the looming ban on plastic bags instead of leaving the money-minting opportunity to foreigners.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (Investment), Angellah Kairuki

Speaking in Dar es Salaam on the sidelines of the Tanzania-China high level meeting, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (Investment), Angellah Kairuki said special areas for the manufacture of alternative bags will be allocated for the purpose in all administrative councils before the ban takes effect on June 1.

Kairuki said a meeting has already been scheduled between the ministry and its President’s Office counterpart for Regional Administration and Local Governments to designate places where entrepreneurs can set up small-scale, medium and even large factories to make paper bags and other biodegradable packaging materials.

She said those with business acumen to innovative environmental-friendly packaging can produce for local use and regional export markets. Neighbouring countries such as Kenya and Rwanda slapped the ban earlier.

“Statistics show that that Tanzania uses one billion plastic bags per year. When the ban comes into force, it will present a massive business opportunity for alternative bags,” she said.

Last week, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa told the legislature in Dodoma that plastic bags will no longer be used for commercial purposes or household packaging, and warned producers and suppliers to dispose their stocks.

He said the office of the Vice President will ensure strict enforcement of the ban through regulations to be introduced under environment protection legislation.

 Minister Kairuki also invited Chinese investors and others across the globe to come and establish businesses and manufacturing industries, assuring them of full government support.

“We need potential investors from around the world to come and invest in Tanzania, establish industries to support the country’s industrialization strategy thus enabling Tanzania to attain its vision of becoming a middle income country by 2025,” she said.

“On our part as government, in order to tap investment opportunities from China and the rest of the world, we shall offer better investment incentives. We shall also thrash out delays, fees, duplicity of taxes, fees and harmonize institutions with duplicated roles,” she specified.

The government has made it easy to acquire land for investment where district council planners have been directed to set aside at least ten percent of the land to be available for investment projects, she said.

Kairuki said that yesterday’s gathering with Chinese investors was part of a scheduled series of meetings with representatives of foreign investors in the country to hear their views on Tanzania’s investment climate.

For her part, Chinese ambassador Wang Ke noted that Tanzania is a unique business and investment destination that seeks to become a middle-income country by championing industrialization, to fight unemployment and poverty.

She said China and Tanzania enjoy deep-rooted traditional friendship for over a half century. The bilateral relationship has always been a good example for China and other African countries to follow in building their relationships. 

 “Up to now, China’s total investment in Tanzania has exceeded seven billion USD, which makes China the largest foreign investor in the country. At present, over 200 Chinese companies are making investments and operating in Tanzania. China is also the largest project contractor in Tanzania, with the volume of newly signed project contracts in 2018 exceeded 1.3 billion USD,” she pointed out

Challenges facing Chinese investors include low awareness of local laws and policies governing the investment sector, thus the government needs to take note of this gap and see how to address it, the envoy added.