General Tyre set for bright future

General Tyre set for bright future
Published on Saturday, 22 August 2015 02:54
Written by BILHAM KIMATI
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THE government has acquired 100 per cent shares in the Arusha-based General Tyre East Africa (GTEA) with the aim of reviving commercial production of the factory, as part of national plans to guarantee development of industries.
Speaking at a brief ceremony in Dar es Salaam yesterday to exchange and sign documents for reimbursement of the 26 per cent shares initially owned by General Tyre Company (Continental AG), Chief Secretary, Mr Ombeni Sefue, said the government through the Ministry of Industries and Trade was determined to revive General Tyre, once the icon of Arusha and the country at large.
Mr Sefue witnessed the ceremony while Treasury Registrar, Mr Lawrence Mafuru and Continental AG representative, Mr Michael Strain, signed and exchanged the documents.
“This is a historical event as we witness the handing over of the essential documents from General Tyre International Company/Continental AG to signify repossession of 26 per cent shares by the government.
The noticeable achievement is an important stage that proves the resolve by the government to revive industries,” Mr Sefue explained.
As for preliminary preparations, Mr Sefue said plans for the improvement of investment climate was successfully carried out ahead of the desire to enhance extensive installation of modern machines to sustain production.
“Professionals from the National Development Corporation (NDC) under the auspices of the Ministry of Trade and Industries, prepared the concept note prior to an exhaustive assessment plan to ascertain the state of General Tyre.
Now production will be evident. We are all thankful to President Jakaya Kikwete who always pushed for implementation of the idea which has come true,” he stated.
The business plan, he added, entails all-inclusive survey of the market in the region, identification of vital employees who worked till suspension of production in 2009, identification of a credible investor to work closely with NDC for the production of high quality tyres and good care of rubber plantations in Muheza, Kilombero and Zanzibar.
Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Trade and Industries, Mr Uledi Mussa, said since its inception in the early 1970s, General Tyre sustained high-quality products still needed in the region despite the ongoing importation of tyres, some being of poor quality and perhaps contributing to road accidents.
“We (government) have in stock enough material for trial runs. Sustainable production of rubber latex is necessary to maintain production with home-produced raw materials.
General tyre will offer employment to many people and several others will benefit indirectly,” said Mr Mussa. The government offered one million US dollars to Continental AG of Germany to acquire all shares and therefore it is legally allowed to seek investment partnership to ‘resuscitate’ the once giant tyre manufacturer in East Africa.
Some years back General Tyre attained a peak production of 1,200 tires a day with 4,000 employees. It first began production in 1971 and changed ownership several times in the late 1990s and mid-2000s when General Tyre North America sold shares to the German-based Continental AG company.
The plant was closed in 2009 due to different factors. The plan is to hire 333 people to start with and produce approximately 320,000 tyres annually as operations start.