Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) in Tanzania and from other neighbouring countries have complained that they are still being charged taxes on duty free hand products when crossing the border despite the exemption the businesses are supposed to enjoy as East African citizens.
Hand Products of Tanzania (HOT) chairperson Elizabeth Matarimo named taxes as a major hurdle hampering inter-state trade.
She was speaking on Tuesday in Dar es Salaam at a trophy presentation event. The group won ‘best international exhibitor at the Zambia International Trade Fair late June.
Matarimo blamed the lack of information and relevant efficient training on the part of border officials and inspectors for the ongoing ‘illegal’ taxation been imposed on their products.
“We are calling the government to train border officials on tax exemption…a lot of delays are experienced just elaborating to them what is and is not duty free…” she complained.
The group of 35 female entrepreneurs from across East Africa will also be participating at the international trade fair slated for Juba, South Sudan in October.
The association works to create awareness and facilitate training to its members on entrepreneurship development, business skills, selling, marketing, exhibition skills and integrating new technology in environmentally friendly ways, explained the HOT coordinator, Eucharius Ng’oge.
“…..we are also providing capital mobilisation for business investment and working capital to better our members and enhance growth of small and medium enterprises…” he added.
Established in 2004, HOT is a registered non-profit organisation that assists member entrepreneurs to manufacture quality products as well as provide exposition for them in local and external trade fairs.
The Director of Marketing and Information for the Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO), Janet Minja, said that hand products exhibitors from Tanzania who showcased their products at the just ended 36th Dar es Salaam International l Trade Fair (DITF) have called for cooperation among hand product manufacturers in the region.
She congratulated HOT on their achievement saying the hand products industry had the potential to grow into a big industry and contribute to the economic growth of countries in Africa if it was fully exploited.