13 December 2017

Tanzania: No Plans to Curb Imports - Minister

LOCAL manufacturers should strive to improve quality of their products so as to compete in the market as the government will not curb imports to protect them, the Deputy Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ms Stella Manyanya, has cautioned.

Speaking during official closing of the second industrial exhibitions at Mwalimu Nyerere grounds along Kilwa road on Monday, she said the government does not plan trade restrictions to protect local manufacturers but will improve business environment and enabling conditions for them to thrive.

"I want everyone to understand that the government will not protect local industries by stopping importation of products, local producers must come out, participate in exhibitions like this one, promote their products and face the reality in the market," she noted.

Local manufacturers should forget about prospects of the government to come up with policies to stop imports, she said adding they must compete with imports by improving on quality.

However, the Deputy Minister said she was not satisfied with the participation of local producers in the just ended industrial exhibitions. She said starting next year, all local manufacturers must participate in the exhibitions so as to gain skills, promote their products and create a network for business.

"It is not an option for local industries to attend these exhibitions, it is a must, the government is fighting an economic war. Establishment and developing of industries is one of our priorities in fighting this war, therefore whoever owns an industry in this country must participate in the exhibition," she said.

She directed the Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TanTrade) Director General, Mr Edwin Rutageruka, to write letters and issue advertisements in the media to all stakeholders to participate in the coming industrial exhibitions.

She added that local producers must understand that they cannot compete while hiding. "They must come out, when it happens the government is in position to give incentives, we will consider those who participate in exhibitions like this one."

Ms Manyanya said the government is doing everything in its powers to create good environment that will enable local producers to compete and produce quality products. She said Tanzanians should be confident and participate fully in industrial related activities.

"We are talking about small and medium industries, these are very important for the development of big industries in future," she said. "... and I can assure you that we have high quality products here, I do consume local products and they are very good," she said. The Deputy Minister added that in two years at least 3,000 industries have been established across the country.

According to the industrial census of 2013 of which results were released in 2016, the number of industries reached 49,243. According to Ms Manyanya, by 2020, the industrial sector is expected to produce 40 per cent of employment in the country. "We expect industrialization to bring major changes in the agriculture, livestock sectors and many other areas," she noted.

Meanwhile, the Director of Industrial development in the Ministry of Industries, Trade and Investment, Mr Obadia Nyagiro, said Tanzanians must come up with ideas and strategies that will enable production of quality products which will compete in local and international markets.

He said that during commemoration of African Industrial Day (AID) which went along with the closing up of the second industrial exhibitions at Mwalimu Nyerere grounds along Kilwa road. He said Tanzanians have a great role to play in the establishment and development of industries and that the government will always support any efforts that aim at bringing changes in the sector.

He said there is need to set strategies that will result to the production of quality products that will be sold within and outside the country. He said the government is continuing to create good environment that will enable producers to engage in various industrial activities.

"We are looking forward to submit the proposal that will set a map for protecting local industries, this will help all people who have invested in small, medium and big industries to enjoy the market and fair competition in doing business," he said.

Last week, the Minister for Industries, Trade and Investment, Mr Charles Mwijage, said the government is setting strategies to protect local industries. He said starting February, next year, the government will conduct a special operation to crack down on all substandard products as a means to protect local producers.

On Monday, Mr Nyagiro also urged local producers to produce quality products at affordable prices so as to meet international standards.

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