The Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa, has directed regional commissioners (RCs) in six regions to work closely with the Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) to initiate the development of Special Economic Zones within their respective areas of jurisdiction.
The RCs for Coast, Morogoro, Iringa, Njombe, Mbeya and Songwe regions, according to the PM, will have to initiate economic zones linked with the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA).
"Concrete plans to establish special economic zones should feature prominently in the respective regional development plans and implementation strategies of industrialisation in the context of the 2nd Five Year Development Plan," he said yesterday at EPZA headquarters in Dar es Salaam.
In the same vein, Mr Majaliwa directed the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments trough EPZA and Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), to lead the way with the development of Mkulazi Agro-industrial Project in Morogoro Region to become the pioneer and flagship special economic zone of the TAZARA corridor.
The Dar es Salaam corridor, which is also referred to as the TAZARA corridor, connects the Dar es Salaam Port with the southern and eastern highland by rail and the Dar es Salaam-Tunduma Highway. The corridor offers the shortest distance between the port of Dar es Salaam, Zambia, Malawi and parts of southern Tanzania.
The government, through TIC, last year allocated 60,000 hectares of land for investment in large-scale commercial farming for sugar and rice at the Mkulazi site.
The site is situated alongside the railway line, linking Dar es Salaam with the Zambian border, approximately 100 kilometres from Dar es Salaam with ideal agro-climatic conditions, competitive yields and cost factors.
Mkulazi is well-positioned to serve the growing local, regional and global demand-supply gap in both sugar and rice markets. Mr Majaliwa yesterday asked the ministry responsible for industrial development to submit to the government a full report with concrete proposals on the way forward on the establishment of the pioneer comprehensive special economic zone associated with TAZARA.
The prime minister toured EPZA headquarters, popularly known as Benjamin Mkapa Special Economic Zone, where he visited the Tooku Garments Company Limited, owned by Chinese Investors in Tanzania.
He was flanked by the Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania, Dr Lu Youqing, the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Adelhelm Meru and EPZA Director General, Colonel (retired) Joseph Simbakalia, among others.
Addressing EPZA officials, Tooku management and staff, Mr Majaliwa called on more Chinese business enterprises to invest in Tanzania, to help in creating wealth for the mutual benefit of the two brotherly countries.
"I am very pleased to learn that Tooku in Tanzania is currently producing and exporting to the AGOA markets of USA top brand garments such as LEVIS, WRANGLER and PRIMARK... this is a highly commendable achievement to be able to develop a workforce that can produce garments that meet the high standard of international quality and cost benchmarks," he remarked.
He added that currently, there was a joint training programme sponsored by the government of Tanzania and the private sector from China.
In the end, he insisted, Tooku would employ a total of 6,000 workers, an increase from the current 1,500 workers.
"Over the next 30 months, 400 new workers will be joining the ranks of industrial workers in the textile sector every three months after graduating from this training programme," he added.