Tanzania self-sufficient in steel, says Prof Mkumbo

COAST REGION: THE Minister for Planning and Investment Prof Kitila Mkumbo said on Friday that Tanzania is self-sufficient in steel thus there is no need for the government and its institutions to import the product from abroad.

Prof Mkumbo also instructed institutions which buy construction materials from local producers to ensure that they make payments on time to allow the producers to invest more and increase employment opportunities in the country.

He made the remark in Kisemvule, Mkuranga District, Coast Region, during his tour of Lodhia Industries Limited.
The company has invested 120 million US dollars in the production of steel, roofing sheet and plastic products and produces 18,000 tonnes of steel per month and the target is to produce 1,000,000 tonnes of steel per year.

“We are not only self-sufficient in steel but also with international standards. I have visited the Lodhia Industries today, the company is making steel with national and international quality, let us buy our own products and stop relying on imports,” said Prof Mkumbo.

He directed institutions that get tenders for execution of various government projects, to start using the products produced within the country because they are of high quality.

The minister further said that one of the major goals of the government is to ensure that it reduces the importation of goods from abroad to protect the foreign exchange reserves adding that Lodhia company has been a saviour in the production of steel which is being used in various government projects.

He added that the company has also expanded production by starting to make raw materials for making nails, a step which he said is commendable as it will reduce the dependence on importing the raw materials from abroad.

“For a long time, we have been importing raw materials for making nails and galvanised steel, but our colleagues have started making these raw materials, this is a very big step to be proud of for industrial development,” he said.

He said one of the challenges he identified during his tour was the importation of steel from abroad despite the fact that the factory and others produce sufficient and quality products.

“We have taken this challenge and we are going to look at the tax issue to make sure our local industries are protected.

“There is no need for importing products that are produced in the country, this will help to boost our local industries and thus create more employment opportunities for Tanzanians, “said Prof Mkumbo.

He said that if major projects such as the construction of the SGR and the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Hydro Power Project (JNHPP) used local products including steel there would be no reason to continue importing them.

“In fact, the Lodhia company has helped the government in executing various major projects because without them we would have spent a lot of foreign currencies in importing construction materials, that’s why I continue to insist that we must value and use our own products,” he said.

Mkuranga District Commissioner, Khadija Nasri said the investment made by the factory has been of great beneficial to the residents economically and in terms of employment.

She said Lodhia started with one factory to produce steel and that now the company has expanded production to plastic products.

She said the company is now building a factory to produce galvanised steel which is expected to start production in May this year.

“When the Lodhia steel factory starts working soon, 600 of our youth will find employment here,” she said.

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