AS the government stresses on drastic reforms on government enterprises, the contribution of Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation (TASAC) to the government coffers has grown almost five times in the last four years.
According to TASAC Director of Shipping Business, Mr Nelson Mlali, the contribution of the corporation to the government has gone up reaching 43.4bn/- in 2021/2022 financial year compared to 9.1 bn/- in 2018/2019.
This is the period when the corporation was established under the Tanzania Shipping Agencies Act Chapter 415 and began to carry out its official duties from February 2018.
Mr Mlali revealed this on behalf of the corporation’s Director General Kaimu Mkeyenge recently in Dar es Salaam during a meeting with editors and journalists that was coordinated by the Office of Treasury Registrar (OTR).
Mr Mlali attributes the strides to the advice from experts as well as proper guidance from the Ministry of Transport.
In particular, he highlights other successes attained by the agencies, including the increase of shipping declarations handled by TASAC from 6,000 in 2019/20 to more than 10,000 declarations in 2021/22.
Another achievement was an increase in the number of service providers regulated by the agencies based on the number of licenses and registration certificates issued.
“In 2018/19, TASAC issued a total of 796 registration certificates compared to 1,038 certificates issued in 2021/22 while the licences issued in 2018/2019 were 145 compared to 240 licences in 2021/22,” he adds.
Again, the number of certificates for qualified seafarers has increased to 17,689 in 2021/22 up from 5,699 in 2018/2019.
The corporation also succeeded in strengthening the control on port services after the formalization of 20 unofficial ports on the sea and lakes’ coastal areas.
“TASAC has managed to prevent and control oil spills that damage aquatic environments as part of the National Maritimes Oil Spill Response Contingency Plan (NMOSRCP),” he says.
Moreover, he says they currently implement the Multi-National Lake Victoria Maritime Communication and Transport- (MLVMCT) project that is expected to be completed in December next year, including building five rescue boats, two for the Lake Victoria, two others for Tanganyika and the remaining one for lake Nyasa.
However, he outlines some challenges, including rapid technological changes in the sector and high demand for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) systems.
He says another challenge is shortage of local experts in some professional fields, especially safety inspectors for water transport vessels.
Addressing the challenges, Mr Mnali says the corporation is currently finalising installation of ICT systems (Tanzania Electronic Single Window System) that will enable marine transport stakeholders to communicate with the main system.
“TASAC is now collaborating with various colleges and institutions that provide seafaring training, such as Dar es Salaam Maritime Institute – (DMI) in building capacity and scope to provide training and produce needed experts,” he added.
Recently, the corporation also continued with its efforts of opening up opportunities for Tanzanian seafarers internationally after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Barbados, so that the two countries can recognise the certificates of seafarers from each side.
Speaking recently in London, England after signing of the MoU, Mr Mkeyenge, who is also the Registrar of Seafarers and Ships in the country, said that so far Tanzania has initiated communication and discussions with 34 countries for entering into an agreement on recognition of certificates of the seafarers in those countries.
Mr Mkeyenge says the move will not only create opportunities for international jobs for Tanzanian seafarers, but will also help to remove inconvenience of disembarking Tanzanian seafarers in various ships that are registered in countries that Tanzania does not have an agreement with.
According to him, Barbados is an island country in the Caribbean, located approximately 430 kilometres North-East of Venezuela. Until now it has an open registry with favourable conditions (open registry) of 400 ships.
To the west, most of Barbados’ maritime boundaries consist of median lines with neighbours. The neighbours include Martinique and Saint Lucia to the northwest, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the west, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela to the southwest and Guyana to the southeast.
“Barbados is one of the countries with which we had initiated negotiations regarding the mutual recognition of certificates, and we are grateful that we have succeeded in signing the MoU for the mutual recognition of seafarers’ certificates. Therefore, it is obvious that we recognize the Barbadian seafarers and they recognise ours,” Mr Mkeyenge underlines.
The TASAC boss further mentioned other countries with which Tanzania has initiated communication and discussions with as including Bahamas, Algeria, South Korea, China, Comoros, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Ghana, India, Iran, Kenya, Liberia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Oman, Palau, Panama, Peru, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Seychelles, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu, Vietnam and European Union countries.