Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Textile Mill Eyes U.S. $70 Billion Annual Exports

Arusha — THE Arusha-based A-to-Z Textile Mills intends to make record exports of garments in future years, when its two plants here are expected to sell abroad materials worth over 70 billion US dollars per year.

The company's chief executive officer, Mr Anuj Shah, said however, their dream will only come true with support from the government as well as Tanzanians because in order to penetrate overseas markets to such a level, the firm will have to first establish a firm domestic market.

"We make quality products, many of which have found reliable markets in South Africa, Europe and the United States, but in order to really make it big there, our company needs a firm local market base because customers abroad will only value Tanzanian products if the locals here also appreciate them," said Mr Shah.

The A-to-Z chief executive said the textile industry in Tanzania was facing stiff challenge from the imported second-hand garments (Mitumba), that are preferred by many due to their lower price tags, but his establishment has now managed to come up with products that will fit all sorts of pockets.

"Bangladesh's textile exports have reached US $70 Billion per year, but Tanzania has more resources and manpower, plus better technical know-how which means with slightly more support our industry here can top that with remarkable ease," said Mr Shah.

The support which Shah needs at the moment is some consideration on the costs on inputs and raw materials, because in other countries electricity charges for the production industries are lowered down in order to make them more competitive through cutting down overhead costs, he was on view that the state-owned Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) should do the same for local establishments.

A-to-Z which runs two factory plants in Unga-Limited area and Kisongo, apparently uses 100 per cent local cotton, ensuring support to local farmers and employs nearly 8,500 Tanzanians directly.

The factory, together with its other Arusha-based counterpart, Sun-Flag Limited, is compelled to compete with better supported outfits in Bangladesh, India, China and Vietnam in selling their garments abroad.

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