Tanzania has yet again refused to endorse a regional trade pact with the European Union, saying the deal stood in its way to industrialization. This stand, however, threatens to split the bloc as Kenya and Rwanda that have already signed the deal see other partner states as reading from a different scrip. Last weekend, President Museveni met his counterpart John Pombe Magufuli where they talked about the possibility of ratifying the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).
These are trade agreements that the European Union is negotiating with blocs in Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) – majorly former colonies. Once signed, the EPAs would lead to up to 82 per cent opening of the East African markets to European goods tariff-free in a span of 25 years.
The EU argues this would be reciprocal as it would also take in EAC products tariff-free. The deal would also compel the partner states not to impose export taxes on key raw materials, a move seen by analysts as likely to stall the region’s quest to industrialize.
President Magufuli reportedly told Museveni that Tanzania will not sign until outstanding issues have been addressed. In statement on Sunday, Kampala said “the two leaders urged experts in their respective governments to continue studying the matter and advise the principals who are also consulting further”.
On February 2, Museveni met Magufuli in Addis Ababa at the AU summit where they agreed to meet later this month and chart the way forward. In Addis Ababa, Museveni said he was “more worried about the unity of East Africa”.
MP to Introduce Local Content Bill
Parliament this week, granted Leave to Hon. Patrick Nsamba (Kasanda North) to introduce a Private Members' Bill for an Act titled the Local Content Bill, 2017.
The Local Content Bill, 2017 seeks to provide for the establishment of a national Local Content Committee, the maximization of value-addition and job creation through the use of local expertise; goods and services; businesses and financing in all undertakings where public funds are used; or where the undertaking is a licensable activity; the development of local content plans and the supervision, coordination, monitoring and implementation of local content.
"While delivering his first State-of-the-Nation Address to the Tenth Parliament, the President, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta used the term 'hemorrhage' while referring to the donations this country gives to different countries from where goods and services are imported goods and services. In his wisdom, the President wished and advised that this 'hemorrhage' be dealt with if this country is to attain the much cherished middle-incomes status by 2020," Nsamba said.
Nsamba said that through procurement of goods and services, our Government has over the years been donating dollars by engaging foreign companies in almost all procurements from constructing drainage channels, mere roundabouts, constructing Government buildings to major roads and power dams.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli Sunday described the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) as a “form of colonialism”, dampening the country's possibility of signing the deal with the European Union (EU). “It is bad for our country,” Dr Magufuli affirmed. Addressing a joint press conference with visiting Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at the State House, Dr Magufuli disfavored EPAs, which are aimed at creating a free trade area between EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States. His Ugandan counterpart warned African countries that EPA might break up their unity. “It’s better if the signing of the deal is shelved until further consultations are made.”
President Museveni arrived in Dar es Salaam Saturday morning for a two-day state visit. Dr Magufuli noted that after studying EPA he had realized that African countries would not benefit from it economically as its architects touted. He noted that terms included in the agreement were not intended to help African countries to grow economically. “I believe that our neighbor, Uganda, will second us for the betterment of our countries. We have discussed EPA for a long time but to me it seems like another form of colonialism… it is bad for our country,” he said.