Clearance of edible oil imports awaits documents, says government

CLEARANCE of over 1,440 metric tonnes of edible oil at Dar es Salaam port remains subject to importers producing original export permits from the country of origin, the government has said.

Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) is holding the oil consignment pending production of the relevant documents.

On the other hand, the government assured lawmakers that it was reviewing numerous duties and levies imposed by different regulatory authorities to investors and businesspersons operating in the country.

Deputy Minister for Finance and Planning Dr Ashatu Kijaji stressed that all importers are obliged to produce original permits from the country of origin in accordance with the East African Community (EAC) Customs Act.

“The importers have failed to produce the documents and have also not declared a separate consignment of edible oil at the port. It has been a tendency by some traders to import semi or refined crude oil.

The same scenario happened last year; these traders always make advantage of the Holy Month of Ramadan to bring in the consignment. If it’s real crude, let them provide permits that show that they paid taxes in the countries of origin,”she asserted.

Reacting to contributions by legislators who debated the budget estimates for the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Investment, Ms Angella Kairuki, said some of the levies and duties will be scrapped and others reduced.

“Several recommendations have been made on the issue and the government through the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Industry and Trade are working on the recommendations,” Ms Kairuki explained.

She informed the House as well that the government intends to table the Investment Act of 1997 in the National Assembly for amendments to accommodate new changes that have swamped investments over the years.

According to Ms Kairuki, the charges for review are those by Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), Tanzania Diary Board (TDB) as well as Tanzania Meat Board (TMB) and Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA).

After the review, all changes on either scrapping or reducing the charges will be stipulated in the Finance Bill for the forthcoming fiscal year—2019/2 02 0, she explained, noting that TFDA has already revised the duties to attract investments in pharmaceutical industries.

“Teams from the PM office and Ministry of Industry and Trade met on April 17 and another meeting is planned on May 18 to deliberate on concerns by the business community and investors,” she explained.

Several MPs who debated the budget estimates raised concerns over various charges by regulatory authorities, which were literally frustrating investors and traders.

Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter in Dodoma

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