EAC Manufacturers Network meet to discuss regional challenges

By Christine Muchira/Release

The East African Community Manufacturers Network meet today to discuss among other things, the review of the EAC Common External Tariff (CET), standards harmonization and tax harmonization.

The EAC network aims to realize the potential of the manufacturing sector in the EAC region through a systematic approach to regional issues affecting the sector and to serve the interests of manufacturers in the region.

Last year’s EAC Network meeting held in Uganda noted that EAC CET review is an opportunity to address cross cutting challenges in EAC such as massive youth unemployment and the decline of the industry due to increasing imports.

KAM Chair stated that the contribution of the Manufacturing Sector in EAC to GDP and employment is rather low and needs boosting to enhancing productivity and competitiveness of the sector towards economic transformation.

“EAC Common Market has a market potential of 150 million people, attracting investments in all sectors like telecoms, banks, and insurances and manufacturing sector investments.

The manufacturing sector in EAC is fairly small with Kenya having the largest number of manufacturing entities. Creating strategic alliance for value addition to enhance local content through partnership with each other rather than competition will provide great opportunities for industries in EAC,” added Ms. Flora Mutahi.

The EAC network has also advocated for a stand alone law on the following; Counterfeits at the EAC level separate from competition matters; the development of harmonized standards in EAC for all partner states; mainstream local content policy and procurement in the region and, the acknowledgement of the local content clause in the Industrialization Bill

The Network signed a memorandum of understanding with East Africa Business Council (EABC) on 28th September 2015 to facilitate the network to be channeling regional manufacturing issues through EABC to the EAC Secretariat.

The EAC Manufacturers Network comprises of Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Confederation of Tanzania Industries, Uganda Manufacturers Association, Rwanda Manufacturers Association and Industrial Association of Burundi.