Govt agrees to halt new charges at Malindi seaport

ZANZIBAR: IN response to members of the business community complaints over abrupt changes in tariffs and regulations after the Zanzibar’s mainland seaport of Malindi management of cargo being taken over by the French firm ‘African Global Logistics (AGL)’, Zanzibar government yesterday decided to reverse to old charges until further notice.

“The government has listened to the complaints from members of the business community, particularly importers of foods from Tanzania mainland that the new charges were a surprise and they were not prepared,” said the Zanzibar Ports Corporation (ZPC) Board Chairperson Mr Joseph Abdalla Meza.

Being flanked by ZPC Director General (DG) Mr Nahaat Mohamed Mahfoudh at a press conference on Thursday, Mr Meza said that they have discussed the emerging disputes with the new management of AGL through its local company, the Zanzibar Multipurpose Terminal (ZMT) running ZPC cargo operations and agreed to halt the new charges immediately and continue with the old payments.

DG Mahfoudh said the halt is temporary to ease tension, because the tariffs were approved in 2018, but were not applied.

“Charges are based on volume and weight, but this was not applied until September 18th this year when AGL took over and decided to implement the new tariffs. We needed to educate people before the changes,” he said.

Last Monday, when ZPC handed over the port operations of cargo terminal to AGL, a group of business people complained against new charges, prompting the government to intervene because it posed a threat to price increase of essential commodities- mainly food.

Both Meza and Nahaat explained at the press conference that the government is moving forward in strengthening relations or partnership with the private sector with the aim of improving efficiency and that the government is determined to bring changes in all public institutions by abandoning ‘business as usual’ way of doing things and adopt digitalisation.

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