LOCAL entrepreneurs have acknowledged the constructive support from the National Economic Empowerment Council (NEEC) towards the transformation of their small businesses.
"We have undergone great changes within the short period we have worked with the council... markets are expanding, jobs are increasing and our skills too have improved," Tanzania Woods Working Federation official Alfred Rutakuburwa said in Dar es Salaam over the weekend.
Mr Rutakuburwa was giving a vote of thanks on behalf of his fellow entrepreneurs at a brief ceremony in which NEEC presented 44 certificates of registration to production groups from Dar es Salaam and Coast regions. The certificate recipients were production groups involved in agro-processing, carpentry, tailoring, microfinance and handcraft.
Mr Rutakuburwa, who owns a furniture workshop at Chang'ombe area in Dar es Salaam, said through NEEC support he has expanded his business, employing 25 people from the 10 he had previously. "Because of training and marketing support from NEEC, we are currently getting more customers, sometimes beyond our capacity to supply," said the entrepreneur.
He however decried capital deficiency and designated areas for small entrepreneurs as the most pressing challenges that require immediate government intervention. Officiating at the event, NEEC Board Chairman Emmanuel Kamba asked small entrepreneurs in the country to work hard to help the country attain the envisaged industrial revolution, noting that all industrialised countries started with small industries.
"I urge you to work harder towards managing your production groups, increasing innovation, to keep yourself up to date with economic happenings elsewhere and to cooperate among yourselves and other institutions," said Mr Kamba. He reminded entrepreneurs of the fierce market competition under the East African Community, warning that unless local entrepreneurs strive to compete, Tanzania will remain a mere market for other countries without any economic progress.
NEEC Executive Secretary Anacleti Kashuliza said the council was proud of the good relationship with the entrepreneurs, citing improved quality of the products, strengthened competition and increased income to businesses as some of the yields of their cooperation.
"It's for sure this good relation with the entrepreneurs we are working with enabled the council to emerge victorious among institutions serving entrepreneurs at the Dar es Salaam International Trade Fairs in 2011 and 2012," Dr Kashuliza said. NEEC supported over 100 local entrepreneurs, among them carpenters, to participate in the 35th DITF. At the NEEC pavilion, the small businesses had the privilege of hosting many potential customers, including President Jakaya Kikwete.