Sales of Tanzanian products among East African member states have increased from USD96.4m in 2005 to USD462.7m in 2010, being an increase of 380 per cent.
This was reported by the Deputy Minister for East African Cooperation, Dr Abdullah Abdulah, during an exclusive interview with The Guardian immediately after opening the East African Co-operation ministry workers’ council.
Dr Abdullah said his ministry is the main coordinator to the regional bloc, ensuring that Tanzania benefits from the community and that the ministry ensures that the goal is attained.
He identified some of the opportunities that have led to this achievement as increased job opportunities, investments, expansion of production and technological factors.
"During the period when Tanzania was EAC chair was a major milestone, particularly in implementing the country's foreign affairs, improving good neighborhood and pushing forward her commitments towards East African integration," explained Dr Abdullah.
The stage reached so far is discussions towards a single currency after the start of implementation of the common customs and market, he said.
He added that the ultimate goal is to put in place a monetary and financially stable zone that would foster trade and economic growth.
“Discussions between the member countries towards establishment of a single currency are now coming to an end. The key activities would include drafting the common monetary policy, setting common forex exchange, forming the East African Central Bank and establishing the single currency," the Deputy Minister explained.
Speaking about the process towards the formation of the one- stop border posts (OSBPs), Dr Abdullah, said the system is aimed at simplifying customs and immigration processes with the bid to cutting down bureaucracy and costs of doing business.
He identified the border posts that have been given a go ahead as Namanga/Namanga, Rusumo/Rusumo, Sirari/Isebania,
Horohoro/Lungalunga, Mtukula/Mtukula and Holili/Taveta.
“This arrangement is going to save time, cut down bureaucracy because once a person is serviced on one side of the border, he will have no need of doing the same on the other side," the Deputy Minister said.
However, he admitted that there are some non-tarrif barriers in supervision under the Ministry of East African community.
He said the benefits of the community include attracting more investors towards the region because of the region's prospects, including receiving more membership applications from South Sudan and Somalia.