18 October 2016

Tanzania: Cheap Imports On Receiving End

Photo: Daily News
Charles Mwijage, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investments pledged government support for local industries and at the same time warned of tough actions against cheap and substandard imports.

The government made a guarantee yesterday to protect local industries against cheap and sub-standard imports as the Census of Industrial Production (CIP) 2013 showed that there were 49,243 industries in the country, most of which are small-scale establishments.

Findings of the census showed further that among the existing factories, 47,921 were small-scale industries (representing 97.3 per cent) whilst 1,322 were large-scale factories (2.7 per cent). It states further the number of industries surged to 50,656 by the year 2014.

At the unveiling of the census in Dar es Salam yesterday, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investments, Mr Charles Mwijage, pledged government support for local industries and at the same time warned of tough actions against cheap and substandard imports.

"These imports (low-priced and inferior) are hurting our industries and thus the government will see into it that there is a level playing field for local industries and imported goods," Mr Mwijage affirmed.

He cited a recent incident where over 100 containers were cleared at the Dar es Salaam Port without undergoing inspections by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS).

"I will continue making inspections at the Dar es Salaam Port and other entry points to ensure that fake products do not make their way in Tanzania at the expense of our local factories," Mr Mwijage stated.

The minister went on to instruct the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to conduct a survey on the number of industries, which have been established since the Fifth Phase Government came to power late last year.

Presenting findings of the survey earlier, Principal Statistician at the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Mr Fadhili Khalfani, said the industrial production was averaged at 63.0 per cent against their installed capacities. "Much as large-scale factories are a drop in the ocean as compared to small-scale ones, they employ 53 per cent of the labour force in the industrial sector and 65 per cent of their produce were sold in the domestic market," Mr Khalfani explained.

The manufacturing sector, according to findings of the survey, was the leading segment for employing a large chunk of employees in the industrial sector with a record 231,099 work force. Many of these are food processing plants.

Among the 1,322 largescale factories, 988 were engaged in manufacturing whereas 210 were engaged in mining and quarrying. Water supply and waste management (87), electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning constituted of 27 establishments. The objective of the census was to generate relevant and updated industrial information to be used to assess the contribution of the industrial sector in the economy.

On the other hand, a principal economist from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Valency Mutakyamirwa, cited poor technology, shortage of raw materials and high operation costs as among challenges facing the industrial sector in Tanzania.

Mr Mutakyamirwa noted as well that only 30 per cent of micro and small-scale factories were registered, urging the owners to seek operating licences from the Business Registration and Licensing Agency (BRELA). Speaking at the occasion, the Director General of NBS, Dr Albina Chuwa, said the 2013 census was the fourth to be conducted since the country attained her independence in 1961.

"Previous census were conducted in 1963, 1978 and in 1989. However, we have been conducting annual industrial production survey since the last census in 1989," Dr Chuwa explained.

The country's top statistician on the other hand, warned of legal actions against people who will mislead the public by misinterpreting the data, contrary to the Statistics Act of 2015.

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