Local shoes glory beckons as Karanga factory is tuned up

MINISTER in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliament, Labour, Employment, Youth and Disabled), Ms Jenista Mhagama, Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Philip Mpango (on her left), and the Deputy Home Affairs Minister, Eng Hamad Yussuf Masauni (on his left) watch one of the shoe making machines in action at the Karanga Leather Factory in Kilimanjaro Region over the weekend. Others are Kilimanjaro Regional Prisons Officer Mr Hassan Mkwiche, and the PPF Pensions Fund Director General William Erio (on his left). The factory’s rehabilitation project is being undertaken by the PPF Pension Fund and the Prisons. (Photo by correspondent)

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TANZANIA is on course to kissing bye-bye to virtual enslavement to shoe imports, as the rehabilitation of the 54.4bn/- Karanga Shoe Factory set for completion in December next year, will start churning out 1.2 million and 900,000 shoes and soles respectively, annually.

The project implemented jointly by the PPF Pensions Fund and the Prisons Department which will also be manufacturing other leather related products, is in line with the fifth phase government’s industrialisation vision.

Over the weekend, the Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Philip Mpango, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliament, Labour, Employment, Youth and Disabled), Ms Jenista Mhagama and Home Affairs Deputy Minister, Eng Hamad Yussuf Masauni, toured the factory.

They were full of praise for the two institutions for implementing the multi-billion shillings project. Minister Mpango hailed the PPF Pensions Fund and Prisons for responding positively to the government’s industrialisation clarion call, saying the factory will not only create employment for many citizens but also boost the country’s economy.

“It is a great privilege to visit the construction site of this leather factory, because we see on the ground, the government’s vision of becoming an industrialized country starting to take shape,” he said.

Dr Mpango said that on behalf of the government, he was commending the institutions for accepting the government’s call to invest in industries. He said the investment would go a long way towards ensuring the country exported value added goods instead of raw materials.

The minister called on the institutions to ensure the projects progressed according to the specified timeframe, and that work on rehabilitating Karanga factory should be completed by December next year.

He explained that the dream of Tanzanians wearing Tanzania made leather shoes would soon come true and be a huge milestone for the country. Dr Mpango said the government would continue to support both institutions in order to ensure that the projects were completed, and particularly in the event of any challenges that might arise in the form of taxes and government procurements.

He stressed that the government’s vision was to ensure that industrialization dawned sooner rather than later so that Tanzanians could start reaping its fruits. On her part, Minister Mhagama said the government was happy with what the institutions were doing, towards ensuring that the county produced its own leather shoes and other leather goods.

She added that they were happy to learn that the Karanga factory, which currently produced 150 pair of shoes a day, would raise the capacity to 400. The minister said that it was a move in the right direction, considering that Tanzania was the second largest animal rearing country in the region.

On his part, PPF Director General Mr William Erio, said they had invested a total of Sh. 54.4bn/- in the project. He explained that the factory would process leather to the tune of 3,750,000 ft and produce 1.2 million shoes, 900,000 soles, as well as other leather made products.

Meanwhile, Industry Development Research Institute Director General, Prof Madundo Mtambo, said the institute had been mandated to supervise the project, which would benefit the country tremendously.

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