Tanzania plans to revive tyre maker

Posted on : Tuesday , 27th January 2015

The government has once again expressed its commitment to reviving the Arusha-based General Tyre East African Limited (GTEA) factory before the end of this year.

Janeth Mbene,  the  deputy Minister for Industry and Trade was last week here to brief on the government’s plans on reviving the tyre-making plant.
“As government, we are interested to see the factory resumes operation as soon as possible. But, I can confirm that the plant is to start operation before the end of this year,” she said.
The state owned venture was once the giant of East Africa, along with Kenya’s former Firestone, with a wide market for its production. It started manufacturing tyres in 1971 and at its peak produced up to 1,200 tyres a day and employed more than 4,000 workers.
But when liberalization set in, production lines steadily grew silent due to imports of cheap tyres from the various parts of the world, especially the Far East.
In the late 1990s and mid-2000s, it changed ownership several times in which General Tyre North America sold shares to a German-based Continental AG company. Soon after,  the government decided to close it down.
Mbene said currently the government through National Development Corporation (NDC) has started rehabilitating the plant’s buildings and surroundings as well as ensuring that factory machines are in good condition.
She said before handing over the plant to a potential investor, there are some issues that needs to be resolved include assessing the effectiveness of the plant’s machines.
Mbene said that soon after the start of operations, the giant tyre maker is to employ about 333 people and produce 320,000 tyres per year at full capacity.
“We are assured of the tyre market because of the quality of the tyres from the plant. There are many customers who have been asking for tyres from General Tyres,” she said.

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