THE government has expressed its firm commitment to revive General Tyre, one of the largest tyre factory in the East African Region.
The commitment was given before the National Assembly here on Thursday by Deputy Minister for Agriculture Hussein Bashe on behalf of Minister for Industries and Trade when responding to a question from Mrisho Gambo (Arusha Urban-CCM).
In his question, the MP wanted to know the government’s plan to revive General Tyre and Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd to increase employment opportunities and access to medicine in the country.
In his response, the Deputy Minister explained that the government recognizes the importance of having various industries in the country including the tire and pharmaceutical industries to stimulate the country’s economy by producing goods and jobs.
According to Mr Bashe, the tire factory known as General Tire Arusha (currently the Arusha Tyre Factory) is one of the largest tyre factories in the East African region.
He explained that production at the factory came to a standstill in August 2007 after running out of funds, especially for the purchase of raw materials.
The deputy minister said the ministry has been taking various steps to revive the factory to achieve the government’s objectives of self-sufficiency in tyres supply in the country, saving a lot of foreign currency used to import tyres and create jobs.
“The ministry, through the National Development Corporation (NDC), formed a team of experts to evaluate the best way to operate the factory,” he said.
He explained that the results of the study showed that the existing machinery and technology are outdated and therefore it was recommended that modern machinery and equipment be installed to improve production and efficiency upon its revival.
“Currently the government, through NDC, is looking for an investor capable of investing in new technologies to match the needs of tyre products available in the market. Already the process of announcing the tender has been done to find a partner to revive the Arusha Tyre Factory,”he said.
He also informed the House that in the Third Development Plan and Sustainable Industrial Development Policy and its Strategy, the pharmaceutical industry is one of the priority industries.
According to him, the government included pharmaceutical industry in its priorities due to the large sums of money spent on importing medicines abroad per year.
The Deputy Minister said that the ministry sees the need to expedite the decision on the case pending in court involving the Tanzania Pharmaceutical Industries (TPI) to allow immediate taking off of production of medicines, considering that the government owns 30 percent stake in the factory.
However, the MP pointed out that the investor in the TPI Factory sold five hectares for 1.5bn/- to another person. He also mentioned that the government had provided 10 million US dollars to the General Tyre Factory.
The MP, thus, wanted to know how the money was spent and which developments were made so that the factory could provide employment opportunities for people in Arusha and Tanzanians in general.
He also wanted to know the government’s plan to revive the TPI factory to increase access to medicines and employment for Arusha residents and Tanzania in general.
Responding, the deputy minister acknowledged that the government owns 30 percent shares in the TPI factory and that the government is in the process of looking for an investor who would invest in a joint venture with the government so that the factory is revived.
Regarding the General Tyre factory, Mr Bashe also admitted that the investor who had invested at the factory and given ownership to run the same was given the money, but preliminary assessments showed that the funds did not meet the expected targets.
Therefore, he said, steps taken by the government was to reclaim back the ownership of the factory before placing it in the hands of NDC to find another investor.
The deputy minister said that it was the government’s commitment to ensure that the General Tyre factory operates and achieves the government’s goal of investing at the area.