21 June 2014

Tanzania Restricts Sugar Imports

Dar es Salaam — Tanzania is expected to release a policy on sugar importation this July that will be aimed at protecting sugar companies in the country as well as ensuring that local sugar companies have access to domestic market.

Speaking recently in Dar es Salaam, the Agro Eco-energy Executive Chairman Mr. Per Carstedt said that Tanzania has seen the need for having the policy that will give way to procuring sugar using the bulk procurement system.

Mr. Carstedt said for years, Tanzania has lacked an instrument to regulate illegal sugar importation in order to give advantage to the locally produced sugar which lacks the market and therefore causing the government to lose million of shillings in tax.

"We need to have one entity which is controlling sugar imports, this will involve all sugar associations in the region, including all producers, sugar boards as well as farmers for the benefit of the region industry and economic development at large."

According to Sugar Board of Tanzania Director General Mr. Henry Semwanza, the introduction of bulk procurement in sugar importation is expected to spur sugar companies' development and also encourage investment.

Local sugar industries have often raised their complaints to the government for failing to protect the local sugar cane interest and ensure that the country benefits through both job creation and tax revenues.

According to Mr. Agro Eco-energy the sugar industry in the East Africa region was very diverse and needed to have a voice that would ensure the issues of sugar importation in the region is addressed.

He said there was a wide home market for the sugar industries in the region that is yet to be exhausted and that the 2.5 million tonnes imports of sugar into the EA region meant exporting jobs overseas.

"We are giving jobs to farmers in India, Brazil and other countries which are growing sugarcane due to cheap sugar imports flocking in our domestic countries, Mr. Carstedt said, adding that we need to create jobs in our respective countries by ensuring that sugar imports are regulated.

According to TSB, Tanzania consumes some 590,000 tonnes of sugar annually while the local industry production stands only at 291,000 tonnes a year.

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