GM pushes for enactment of industrialisation policy

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By James Anyanzwa

General Motors East Africa Ltd has called upon members of the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) to quickly enact the region’s industrialisation policy.

Managing Director Bill Lay said the law would help partner states focus on ways of attracting investment in the region.

He said a policy is urgently required for partner states, parastatals and publicly funded agencies to give preference to locally manufactured motor vehicles.

” It is disheartening that there is lack of Government policy among partner states in favour of goods manufactured locally,” Lay told EALA members in Arusha Tanzania last week. He said despite various requests especially by the motor vehicle industry for Harmonisation of the Motor Vehicle Assembly regulations in the region, the regulations are yet to be developed and implemented.

Delayed action

“Similarly, there is delay in harmonisation of motor vehicle standards within East Africa with respect to safety standards, emission levels and testing procedures for used vehicles,” he said.

He said there was a need for strict enforcement of the 25 per cent Common External Tariff (CET) for finished products to enhance growth of local companies. Lay said GM could assist in reducing the cost of transportation in the East Africa by selling its Isuzu trucks and buses that are manufactured at the Nairobi plant.

“However, to enable us achieve this, we need a trade regime that enables us to access our market,” Lay said.

He said EAC has been arbitrarily suspending the CET rate for some countries and this has given importers advantage over local manufacturers.

He cited CET violations including Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit project where Import Duty on buses with a capacity of more than 25 seats reduced to 10 per cent from July 2007 to June this year (2,400 buses) and Import Duty Exemption on Refrigerated trucks, Insulated tankers and Garbage/Refuse Collection trucks.

There is also a challenge in EAC Rules of origin where Comesa rule on goods of economic importance was dropped under with no explanation.

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