27 February 2013

Tanzania: Minister Lambasts Inefficient Firms in Search for Protection

THE government has reiterated that it will continue improving business environment for local and foreign investors, but warned that inefficient firms are not going to be protected.

"We (the government) are not going to entertain inefficient firms on the pretext of protecting local or domestic investors," the Minister for Industry and Trade, Dr Abdallah Kigoda, said in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday.

The minister commended cement manufacturers in the country for continued expansion and operating profitably despite the prevailing stiff competition in the market.

Dr Kigoda was addressing a news conference on Tanzania Portland Cement Company (TPCC) 50bn/- expansion project aimed to increase the mill's production by 700 tonnes to around 2.0 million tonnes annually. He said the cement industry was among the fastest growing sub-sectors in the country, noting that a decade ago there were only three manufacturers compared to 12 at present.

Dr Kigoda said after its expansion TPCC, which trades as Twiga at the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE), would become the biggest cement mill in East Africa. He said the country's annual demand for cement currently stands at 2.8 million tonnes annually, where TPCC supplies about 70 per cent to the market.

The minister said that several cement factories were in pipeline including the proposed 3.0 million-tonne capacity Dangote Cement Mills in Mtwara. "This firm is expected to supply cement to eastern and southern Africa after its completion," he stressed.

Dr Kigoda underlined the importance of cement production to the economy, saying that apart from direct employment to thousands at the factories, many people indirectly benefit. "You have those wholesale and retail traders of cement, building contractors and labourers at many construction sites as well as thousands of people who serve them," the minister explained.

The TPCC Board of Directors Chairman, Mr Jean-Marc Junon, said that construction of the mill would be completed in September 2014. "TPCC will continue investing in Tanzania," he stressed.

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