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Train border trade officers, SMEs urge government

17th December 2012
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The Ministry of Industries and Trade has been urged to train trade officers within the country to help small and medium entrepreneurial exporters enjoy a conducive environment similarly to that in Rwanda, Kenya and Burundi.

This was said on Friday by Bede Lyimo, a consultant of  Dar es salaam based company PPP Solutions while training small and medium entrepreneurs on  the guidelines for advocacy on gender issues in Tanzanian trade policy organized by the Tanzania Women’s Chamber of Commerce (TWCC).

Right now SMEs experience difficulties when exporting their goods at the border point because of shortage of trade officers who can help them to operate their businesses more effectively.
The ministry should consider this a serious matter, because women face difficulties when transporting their goods across the national borders.

On the other hand he called upon the ministry to aquiant trade officers in all the regions with the tools of trade policy so that they can in turn assist small and medium enterprises.

He also urged entrepreneurs to meet with members of the joint border committee and talk to them on the major impediments affecting women entrepreneurs across the Tanzanian borders to Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.

There is need for them to meet with this committee because right now women entrepreneurs are sexually harassed, charged too expensive taxes by customs officials, their products is also stolen at the border points because they don’t understand what is required once they need to export their good both in East Africa countries and overseas.

“To hold face to face discussions with the said committee will help you to solve the problem you have as cross border traders,” he said.

He also cautioned entrepreneurs not to involve themselves in goods smuggling through Panya routes.
Majority of businesswomen don’t benefit from what they produce due to high taxes charged on what they produce.

Meanwhile, Lucy Joseph Mchonko, Managing Director of Dar es Salaam based firm, Mysolidarity Investments Art and Handcraft added that even if they have documents allowing them to export goods, they normally harass them, confiscate their products and sometimes destroy them.

“In view of this impediment we ask the government to put in place qualified cross border trade officers to provide proper information for goods exporting entrepreneurs,” she said.

The border points where export enterprises have been experiencing difficulties are Namanga, Lusumo, Silali, Kasumuro and Tunduma.
“Just look at Rwanda, Kenya and Burundi. They have trade officers, who are competent enough to support SMEs in those countries,” he said.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN