NFRA to be empowered to buy, reserve sugar

DODOMA: THE government has proposed legal amendments to empower National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to buy, stock and reserve sugar as a national food reserve and be supplied in the domestic market during shortages.

The Minister for Finance, Dr Mwigulu Nchemba said the measure is intended to ensure constant availability of sugar in the market and address hoardings by manufacturers without compromising protection of local industries.

The government would amend the NFRA regulations by including sugar as part of food security, he said.

The Minister also proposed to charge 50/- per kilogramme of sugar by-products originating from sugar production, noting that the measure is intended to increase revenue and empower the Sugar Board to perform its duties, including training and capacity building in the sugar industry as well as monitor sugar production through expansion of existing industries and fostering new investments.

ALSO READ: Shortage of seedlings hampers sugar production

Tanzania is a sugar deficit country, whose production reached 460,049 tonnes in 2022/23, while demand stood at about 800,000 tonnes for the 2023/2024 financial year. Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa said in Parliament last month that the government has launched initiatives to boost sugar production by 53.5 per cent over the next two years to ease shortage.

Presenting budget estimates of his office for the forthcoming financial year, Mr Majaliwa said government plans to ramp up production to 700,000 metric tonnes by the end of 2025/26 financial year.

Edible oil

The minister also proposed amendment of the Export Levy Act, CAP 196 by introducing export levy at the rate of 10 per cent on Crude Sunflower Oil, Sunflower Cake and Sunflower seeds.

Natural resources and tourism

The minister said the government plans to charge Tourist Business Licence fee in local currency, instead of using US Dollar from the next financial year.

These proposed measures go hand in hand with the requirement of the fees to be paid for a period of 12 months from the last day of the execution of the final payment for the business licence, he said.

The government plans also to reduce the fee of Tanzanian Tourist Business Licence which is paid by an agent of the mountain climbing from 2,000 US dollars per annum to 3m/- per annum, he said.

The Minister said the measures intend to simplify the payments of tourism fees, reducing operational costs, attracting investment in the tourist industry and to comply with the requirement of Section 26 of the law establishing the Central Bank of Tanzania, which requires payments within the country to be made in local currency.

ALSO READ: NFRA food reserves climb to ten-year high

Zero rate VAT on gold supply to BoT The Minister for Finance, proposed to exempt Value Added Tax on gold supplied to the Bank of Tanzania to add incentives on supply of gold to the central bank.

Incentives on gold supply to the central bank will increase the country’s foreign currency reserves and reducing the shortage of US dollars.

The Minister said VAT abolition on gold supply to the central bank is furthermore aimed at stimulating the growth of gold refining industries in the country as the Bank of Tanzania purchases gold only after it has been refined by domestic refineries. To zero rate Value Added Tax on gold supplied to domestic refineries.

The measure is intended to promote the growth of domestic refineries in the country by ensuring that they have enough feedstock. Furthermore, the measure is intended to fulfill the government’s intention of ensuring that raw gold minerals are refined in the country for value addition before being exported.

The minister said the government proposes to abolish Value Added Tax exemption on supply of precious metals, gemstones and other precious stones at refineries so as to boost the contribution of the mining sector to the economy.

VAT exemption on VAR The government is also proposing Value Added Tax (VAT) exemption on importation of Video Assistant Referee equipment and accessories.

The measure is intended to ensure that the country gets necessary sports equipment considering that Tanzania is one of the countries that have been chosen to host the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in 2027 and thus benefiting from an increase in foreign exchange reserves, enhance the country’s international image, and provide opportunities for local companies to advertise their businesses.

However the exemption will be granted upon approval by the Minister responsible for Sports.

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