Tanzanian government supports reopening of General Tire factory

The Tanzanian government has reiterated its commitment to restarting production at the General Tyre East African Limited (GTEA) factory before the end of this year.

The state-owned venture was once a significant player in the East African tyre market, along with Kenya’s former Firestone operation. According to local news sources, it started manufacturing tyres in 1971 and at its peak produced up to 1,200 tyres a day and employed over 4,000 workers.

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.

Janeth Mbene, the Tanzanian deputy Minister for Industry and Trade said that before handing over the plant to a potential investor, assessment of the effectiveness of the plant’s machines would need to take place. Mbene is quoted as saying 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.

News reports in 2012 also suggested the plant would be operational again before the end of the year. In 2010 similar plans were mooted. However, more than four years after the initial reports, the factory is still mothballed and in talks with investors.

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