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Foreign goods’ flow irks PM

THE Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has directed the Ministry of Industry and Trade to conduct a study on why the local market is still flooded by imports of goods that are locally produced.

He said at the President's Manufacturer of the Year Awards in Dar es Salaam on Thursday evening that it was incomprehensible; the domestic market was flooded by imported products instead of locally produced goods.

"The ministry should conduct an evaluation as to why imported goods are flooding the market while we continue producing the same products locally," said the premier who represented President John Magufuli in the event organised by Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) where Arusha based Hanspaul emerged the overall winner for 2018.

“We should work together to plug off illegal routes and strategy to control imports so as to promote local products,” he said.

 

The premier said the manufacturing sector should raise productivity to double its contribution to the economy and boost foreign exchange earnings for the country to reach industrial led middle income economy status.

He said the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the economy should rise to 15 per cent from 8.5 per cent reached last year and should contribute at least 25 per cent of foreign exchange earnings.

"To reach the criteria and growth of manufacturing sector, we must work hard and improve close relations between the public and private sector," he said.

The PM said Tanzania must meet several criteria, including annual economic growth of 12 per cent to break into the middle income status led by a semi-industrialised economy.

Other criteria include raising job creation from the manufacturing sector to reach 40 per cent of all employment opportunities and the sector should contribute at least 25 per cent of foreign exchange earnings, he said.

He said statistics showed that in 2018 the manufacturing sector created 306,180 formal jobs up from 280,899 in 2017 which is equivalent to nine per cent increase.

The government would continue taking appropriate measures to foster rapid growth of the sector and increase its contribution to the national income, economic growth and poverty reduction, he said.

"Everybody understands the importance of the manufacturing sector in driving economic growth of any country in the world. Industries have been the source of rapid economic growth and development and a great pillar in poverty reduction and creation of many job opportunities. Development in science and development depend on the manufacturing sector," he said.

Mr Majaliwa said 4,000 new industries were opened in various regions thanks to the government's efforts to promote industrialisation.

"The industries established produce construction materials such as cement, iron bars, ceramics, plastic pipelines and tiles as well as industries for processing agricultural products such as grains, fruits, cooking oil and leather products," he said.

He said it was encouraging to note that local investors were also opening new industries and increasing their investments, noting that the government was focused on promoting industries that create many job opportunities.

Construction of new industries during the tenure of the fifth-phase government has contributed to provision of 482,601 new jobs all over the country, he said.

"We promise to provide necessary cooperation...you continue to build industries. The government is with you," he said.

The prime minister said the government was keen to deal with the challenges facing investors in the country and improve the business environment and that was why it formed a special ministry for investment under the Prime Minister's Office and had adopted and was working on recommendations of the blueprint for regulatory reforms to improve the business environment.

The government scrapped 54 nuisance taxes and fees for businesses and had already worked on complaints of overlapping mandates and duplication of activities of some of regulatory bodies, he said.

The government has formed Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) to replace Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) following complaints of overlapping mandates and duplication of activities between TFDA and Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS.

"The President received your complaints of too much and unnecessary bureaucracy and he formed a ministry to deal with investments to be led by the Minister of State under Prime Minister's Office. All problems involving red tape should be directed to the minister," he said, adding: "We understand there are still some challenges. The government has begun taking appropriate measures to make sure that the challenges are solved. We will work with the private sector to ensure that the business environment continues to be improved," he said.

Earlier, the Minister for Industry and Trade, Innocent Bashungwa said the ministry, by working closely with the private sector, would continue to address problems that hamper efficiency and growth of the private sector.

He mentioned the problems as delays in payments of Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds and 15 per cent withhold tax on industrial sugar importers, an unlevelled playing field due to cheap imports such as iron bars, plastic pipelines, clothes, leather products and ceramic products.

"We will also review multiplicity of fees charged by various government regulatory institutions, increase on import duties for raw materials and delays in provision of working permits for expatriates employees," he said.

ACTING Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, ...

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Author: HENRY LYIMO

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