Moshi — Kilimanjaro Industrial Development Trust (KIDT) is in great need of funds to purchase new machines, as it fails to meet demands of its customers due to outdated equipment.
KIDT General Manager, Engineer Frank Elisa said over the weekend that their machines that were installed in the 1970s cannot match the pace of modern technology.
Mr Elisa was speaking during the visit by Japan International Cooperation Agency Alumni of Tanzania (JATA) and mentioned some commodities in high demand as being power transmission insulators.
"KIDT is the sole producer of low voltage electric insulators used in power transmission, there is a huge market for these but unfortunately we are unable to meet market demands," noted the manager.
The insulators are produced at a factory in Same town and are in high demand by Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO). Dr Omary Kassim, a JATA member from Zanzibar enquired whether the Zanzibar Electric Company (ZECO) was being supplied with the same.
Mr Elisa responded that they cannot meet TANESCO's demand so they do not have guts to seek isles market for the few but high quality products. KIDT was incorporated in 2001 to manage assets and operations of the former Kilimanjaro Industrial Development Centre (KIDC), but they are not creditworthy.
"Much as we would like to get funds from the banks, we do not have assets to use as collaterals because everything here - from land to machines - is owned by the government.
"We are negotiating with the government to use part of the assets as collateral so that we get loans to rehabilitate our facilities and expand production. We are also trying to woo some local and international organisations in order to work together," said the Engineer.
KIDT could partner with other institutions and companies but since it owns nothing in assets, it is difficult for any commercial entity to be interested in its partnership. Japan established KIDC (now KIDT) through its technical cooperation programme in 1978, the objective being to support industrial development in the fields of metalworking, ceramics and briquette production.
JICA has continued to extend its cooperation by dispatching Japanese volunteers in the field of ITC to transfer knowledge and technology to Tanzanian staff.
Engineer Elisa showed the alumni the basic machines and some of the products being insulators, blanks for gears and pulleys, manhole covers, hammers, solid shafts, charcoal stoves, weighing scale bodies, train brake blocks (demanded by Tanzania Rail Limited) and table wares. Through JICA, more than 3,684 Tanzanians have attended different training programmes conducted in Japan and in other countries.
The ex-participants of JICA training programmes established JATA in 1986. "One of JATA's objectives is to share experiences and skills gained and disseminate their knowledge to the community. In this regard JATA decided to conduct a visit to JICA projects in Kilimanjaro Region," said JATA's Chairperson, Dr Zakaria Mganilwa. He was thankful to JICA for what they have been offering to Tanzanians and country as a whole, and also was of the view that continued cooperation was needed in tough times ahead.