Kagera hails govt measures to rescue TANICA

KAGERA: KAGERA residents have commended President Samia Suluhu Hassan for taking quick steps to save the Tanganyika Instant Coffee Public Limited Company (TANICA PLC) from the ongoing financial crisis.

Salum Tibandebage (63), a resident of Bukoba Municipal’s Kashai Ward said the public-owned institution was cash strapped and needed quick interventions to solve some of the challenges facing it.

“We are delighted to learn that the government is in the process to revive operations at the company,” he said.

Deputy Minister for Industry and Trade, Exaud Kigahe told the National Assembly in Dodoma recently that the government was aware of all the challenges and that through the Treasury Registrar, it has conducted feasibility study to establish the needed financial requirements to run the company.

“The government has established that at least 1.31m US dollars (3.5bn/-) is needed to boost operations of the company. Currently the government is in talks with shareholders of the company to inject the said amount to revive operations,” he said.

He mentioned some of the challenges as lack of capital, dilapidated machineries, poor and outdated technology and overwhelming debts adding that the government is determined to see TANICA working productively to increase and sustain production of coffee in Kagera region.

A few weeks ago, former Commissioner of Police (CP) Alfred Tibaigana, who has been the board Chairman of the Tanganyika Instant Coffee Public Limited Company (TANICA PLC) resigned.

“I have taken this decision to resign as Chairman of TANICA board on personal grounds.The details are contained in my confidential letter of resignation,” he said.

TANICA General Manager, Ms Rodness Milton, on the other hand, when reached for comment said she was on maternity leave, but was quick to say that she had also left the office.

The former Kagera Regional Commissioner (RC), Major Gen Marco Gaguti dissolved the TANICA board on January 23, 2020 and directed the Assistant Registrar of Cooperatives to supervise immediate replacement of new board members.

“I have received reports indicating that TANICA was operating below the required standards, while incurring big losses in the process. Also, directives made by the government were not properly followed,” Major Gen Gaguti was quoted saying.

Following the government directives, the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) on February 11th, 2020 arraigned four senior officials under TANICA in Court to answer a case against Economic Case No 1/2020.

Also Read: Relief as Kagera coffee farmers get attractive prices

The accused before the Bukoba District Magistrate’s court were identified as the Acting TANICA General Manager, Livinus Leopold (32), Didace Burchard (35) the Chief Accountant, Athuman Kazinja (51) and Abdul Said (47), both Bukoba businessmen.

Prosecuting State Attorney Juma Mahona who was assisted by Haruna Shomari and Naila Chamaba alleged before Bukoba District Magistrate-in-charge Neema Gasabira that on diverse dates between January 2018 to December 2019 the first accused (Leopold) and second accused (Burchard), being employed by TANICA jointly led an organised crime and occasioned a loss to the tune of 3,089,348/-.

Other offences include misuse of office, buying coffee of poor quality and selling it to TANICA exceeding the market price and buying several vehicles with registration numbers T 475 DMJ, T 759 CTM, T350 AYW, T 821 DSA and T 754 DRN while knowing that the money was proceeds of a predicate offence.

Kazinja (3rd accused) and Said (4th accused) were accused of conducting business without a business licence, money laundering, selling 981 tonnes of poorquality coffee to TANICA and evading tax, contrary to the Tax Administration Act, Cap 438- Revised 2002.

Tanganyika Instant Coffee Public Limited Company (TANICA PLC) was established as Tanganyika Instant Coffee Company Limited (TANICA Ltd) under the Companies Ordinance (Cap 212) on September 30th, 1963 as a limited liability company.

The factory started production of instant coffee powder in 1967.

Initially, the factory was managed by Lyons, until 1972 and then by Nestle until 1982 when it started being managed locally.

A few machinery changes were made by Nestle, but fundamentally the factory remains as it was designed.

It produces pure spray dried instant coffee powder by roasting green coffee beans, grinding them, extracting coffee soluble and hydrolysed coffee soluble.

It remains to date the oldest instant coffee factory in East and Central Africa and among four in Africa. TANICA shareholders have a total of 18,094,568 paid up shares worth 1,447,565,440/-.

They include Kagera Cooperative Union (KCU 1990) with 9,656,391 shares worth 772.5m/- and Karagwe District Cooperative Union (KDCU) with 5,758,740 shares worth 460.7m/-.

Others are Treasurer Registrar with 1,388,000 shares worth 111.0m/-, Tanzania Federation of Cooperatives with 1,125,000 shares worth 90m/- and TANICA workers with 166,437 shares worth 13.3m/-.

The company changed its name from Tanganyika Instant Coffee Company to Tanganyika Instant Coffee Public Limited Company (TANICA PLC) with effect from August 19, 2015.

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