Dodoma — The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has doubled development budget in the 2017/18 financial year, pushing the country's industrialisation drive further.
The ministry, yesterday, asked Parliament to endorse a proposed budget of 122 billion/- for the next financial year, out of which 80bn/- will be set for development projects and the remaining 42bn/- for recurrent budget. In the current financial year, the development budget stands at 40bn/- and 41.8bn/- was for recurrent budget.
Comparatively, the recurrent budget for 2016/17 and that of 2017/18 has remained almost the same with a slight increase of 0.2bn/- , but there was a significant increase of 40bn/- in development funding.
When tabling the budget, the Minister for the docket, Mr Charles Mwijage, pointed out that the budget allocation indicates the government's commitment to realise industrialisation vision come 2025.
Some of the development projects to be undertaken during the coming year as endeavours to build an industrial-economy base, establishment of special economic zones, developing the industrial area in Kibaha (TAMCO), developing researches for the development of industries, and to increase capital in the National Entrepreneurship Development Fund (NEDF).
He said that 200m/- from the development budget will be spent for developing flagship projects, such as in coordinating and monitoring works for the Liganga and Mchuchuma coal projects in Njombe Region.
Furthermore, about 2bn/-, equivalent to 2.8 per cent, of the development budget, will be used for financing building of a base of industrial economy, including Soda Ash project at Engaruka Valley and revival of General Tyres industry in Arusha.
Giving statistics of the industries established so far, Mr Mwijage said the country has 49,243 factories whereby 85 per cent of them are very small industries, small industries account for 14 per cent, middle industries (0.35 per cent) and big factories (0.5 percent).
"These figures give a picture that industrial development in Tanzania, like it is the case in other countries, comes as a result of putting more strength on small and very small industries as well as middle -level factories," he argued.
Since the Fifth Phase Government took power, over 390 big industries worth 5tri/- were registered by last March and are expected to provide at least 38,862 job opportunities to Tanzanians.
These industries are at different stages of implementation, while some of them are at the final stages, ready for production. The Parliamentary Committee on Industries, Trade and Environment asked for timely disbursement of funds to the ministry so that it could undertake development projects within the planned timeframe.
Meanwhile, the Committee appealed to the government to lift the ban on coal importation into the country.
The Committee Chairperson, Mr Stanslaus Nyongo (Maswa East-CCM), told Parliament that the current local production of coal does not meet the required demand, especially that of cement manufacturers.
According to Mr Nyongo, as the government gears up to boost local production of coal by attracting major investments in the area, it should allow manufacturers to import the commodity. "Apart from low production of coal, manufacturers are facing a major challenge in transporting the commodity from Ruvuma to their plants.
The roads around the coal mine areas are in bad state and are impassable during rainy season. The nearby railway line can't handle heavy load. Currently, coal amounts to 70 per cent of entire production cost of cement," he said.
When contributing to the proposed budget, some MPs expressed anger over privatised industries whose owners have failed to develop them and as a result they collapsed.
The Mtama lawmaker, Mr Nape Nnauye (CCM), and Special Seats MP Mwanne Mchemba (CCM) unanimously proposed that the government should immediately repossess those collapsed industries from investors and give them to others.