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The East African : November 18th 2013
16 The EastAfrican NEWS NOVEMBER 16-22,2013 CRACKS IN THE EAC? Namanga border post between Kenya and Tanzania. Kenyans wanting to work in Tanzania have to pay high work permit fees. Picture: File Tanzania’s labour laws slow economic growth High cost of wo≥k pe≥mits and complicated p≥ocedu≥es fo≥ app≥oval a≥e impediments By RAY NALUYAGA The EastAfrican T he Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE) has disagreed with President Jakaya Kikwete’s position on closing the labour market to other East African nationals. ATE executive director Ag- grey Mlimuka said freely allowing skills to flow in will expand the economy, which in turn will create more jobs. Delivering a speech to the National Assembly recently, President Kikwete said Tanzania’s stand against opening up its labour market in accordance to the East African Common Market Protocol is among the reasons why the country is being sidelined by other member states. The EAC Common Mar- ket Protocol was adopted and signed on November 20, 2009, by member heads of state, and entered into force on July 1, 2010, officially allowing for free movement of labour. Recent World Bank find- ings show that East Africa would benefit greatly from free trans-border flows of labour, as they would allow for a more efficient allocation of skills that are relatively scarce in some partner states as well as provide employment to idle skill resources in others. Mr Mlimuka said it was wrong for Tanzania to close the labour market wholesale. He suggested that Tanzania review its laws to allow foreigners to work in the country and complement the weak local labour force. He said Tanzania could stipulate that the foreign worker have a local person understudying them during the contractual period. That way, the local labour force would become competitive across the region. The cost of a work permit in Tanzania is $2,000, Zanzibar $150, Burundi charges 30 per cent of the salary; in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda the permits are issued free of charge to East African nationals. According to a study ti- tled An Assessment of the Implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol MOVEMENT In Zanzibar, between 2009 and 2012, only five Rwandans got work permits. During the same period ,the number of Kenyans who received work permits increased from 137 in 2009/2010 to 153 in 2010/2011, but dropped to 111 in 2011/ 2012. Only 12 Ugandans worked in Zanzibar during the same period. Between 2011 and 2012, 2,755 work permits from EAC nationals were approved in Kenya, while in Rwanda, 4,655 work permits were issued to workers from other EAC partner states between July 2010 and December 2012. Commitments on the Free Movement of Workers commissioned by the East African Business Council (EABC) and the East African Employers’ Organisation, Tanzania’s work permit regulations emphasise immigration control measures instead of work related requirements. According to ATE, the cost of work permits and the complicated procedure for their approval are the biggest impediments to free movement of workers into Tanzania. The EABC study reveals that East Africa is facing a middle-level skills vacuum. In Tanzania, for example, middle-level professionals account for only 12 per cent of the total number of professionals in engineering and just six per cent in accounting. “The figures for accounting seem particularly low if compared with Kenya, where accounting technicians exceed the number of qualified accountants by a factor of four. In Tanzania, qualified accountants exceed accounting technicians by a factor of 16,” the research reveals. This means that in Tanza- nia, for every 16 qualified accountants there is only one accounting technician, the opposite of the normal pyramidal labour structure in a modern economy. There is a shortage of mid- level skills in most of the EAC, says the study. Last month, the Tanzanian government said it would not waive work permit fees for East Africans seeking jobs in the country until some of the laws to do with immigration, capital flows and security have been assessed and revised.
November 10th 2013
November 25th 2013