AS the government is championing to promote inter-regional trade and industrialisation within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), region, Tanzania Cigarette Public Limited Company (TCC Plc), is committed to walking the talk, with its export volume to this region standing at 2.5 billion cigarette sticks in 2018 and continues to grow steadily.
The future looks bright for the leading manufacturer of tobacco products in the country, which was highlighted by the Bank of Tanzania (BoT), economic and operations report for the year 2017/18 ending June 2018, which indicates that Tanzania continues to be a net exporter to SADC countries.
It means Tanzania will in future become the main source of finished goods, including locally produced cigarettes which have high demand within the bloc.
TCC Plc was recently among the firms which participated at the just-ended fourth SADC Industrialisation Week exhibition held at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam from August 5-9.
The event took place ahead of the 39th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government which is slated for August 17 and 18. The Industrialization Week was hosted under the theme
"A Conducive Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, increased Intra-Regional trade, and job creation." According to TCC Plc Advanced Planning and Optimization (APO), Manager, Mannento John, the company exports cigarettes to five countries in SADC region, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia and Zambia.
"The volume of export to SADC countries as compared to other countries outside SADC is 2.5 billion cigarettes, with DRC leading by 2.10 billion cigarette sticks followed by South Africa 0.20 billion and 0.10 billion for Mozambique.
"Others include Namibia with 0.07 billion cigarette sticks and Zambia 0.03 billion cigarette sticks," said John. He said TCC Plc plans to extend to new markets in SADC countries, depending on the business environment.
Hinting on the significance of TCC Plc's participation at the SADC Industrial Week, Mannento pointed out that as one of the leading taxpayers and manufacturers, it is crucial to share best practices in manufacturing, farming, export, quality, Environment Health & Safety (EHS), Community Investment (CI) and employment.
According to the APO Manager, the company is one of the few formerly state-owned companies privatized in the 1990s that continue to be a major revenue source and significant exporter to SADC member states, earning the government much-needed tax and forex respectively.
"As a local manufacturer, TCC Plc prides itself on the use of tobacco sourced locally from farmers in tobacco growing areas in the country".
More recently, the government made a decision to maintain the status quo on excise tax structure for cigarettes, which at the end will ensure and guarantee a sustainable and competitive business environment that protects tobacco farmers and local manufacturers".
He added that efforts undertaken by the government to promote intra-regional trade should strongly receive the support it deserves, for this helps to create and strengthen the sustainable value chains in both the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
He stated during the exhibition that the company got an opportunity to showcase its best practices as a leading manufacturer in the country, and this was also witnessed by the Zanzibar President, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein, who visited the TCC pavilion.
Mannento expressed TCC's commitment in ensuring that environment, health and safety (EHS), are paramount in the business, noting that for the past seven years in a row, the company has recorded zero accidents in Lost Time Injuries (LTI).
"This is among areas that TCC Plc is performing exceptionally well, therefore we wanted to share this with others," he said.
TCC Plc as a major cigarette manufacturer in the country is enjoying the benefits created by the SADC Free Trade Area, which is an integrated market of the 16 countries with a combined population of 327million and a combined GDP of about US599 billion.