Some small-scale traders still use informal entries to have their goods in the East African Community (EAC) partner states’ markets due to ignorance on the free move-ment of people and goods in the region.
In separate occasions, the three organisations that edu-cate entrepreneurs in the coun-try told the ‘Daily News’ that many small businesspeople whom they had talked with confirmed to have used il-legal routes, admitting being unaware of the benefits that come with the EAC common market, particularly on the free movement of goods and people.
Reached for comment yes-terday, the Minister for For-eign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga, promised to explain in details soon on the ways
Tanzanians could benefit from the common market as well as the government’s strategies to raise public awareness on the matter.
The Treasurer with Vib-indo Society, Mr Jumbe Ng-utto, said traders were missing the opportunity to exploit the potentials of customs duty free trading of goods not exceeding 2,000 US dollars (about 4.3m/) within the EAC partner states due to lack of awareness.
“Awareness is a seri-ous challenge ... traders pass through illegal borders, risk-ing arrests, even if they have goods whose value is within the allowable amount,” Mr Ngutto told the ‘Daily News’ during a recent interview.
He said the society has for the past one year engaged in awareness campaign to edu-cate the business groups about the immense opportunities that the EAC avails to them, but financial constraints have impeded efforts to reach out to many traders and entrepre-neurs across the country.
The Vibindo Society is one of the beneficiaries of a programme under the Founda-tion for Civil Society (FCS) that seeks to build capacity of organisations to educate the public about EAC issues.
Assistant National Coordi-nator for CARITAS-Tanzania, a faith-based organisation that supports entrepreneurs, Ms Anna Sifa, said since major-ity small entrepreneurs re-main unaware of the EAC free movement of people, some of them tend to use their friends in other partner states to smug-gle their goods.