13 July 2018

Tanzania: Sugar Supply Too Much, Local Millers Complain

SUGAR supply is said too much in the market that it disrupts local production being two months after the government announced to lift its import ban to curb its deficit and stabilize price. According to the Tanzania Sugar Producers Association (TSPA), sugar is abundant in the market, due to illegal imports, such that they cannot sell their stockpiles.

Commercial Director of Kilombero Sugar Company Limited, Mr Fimbo Butallah said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that there were over 80,000 tonnes of sugar in the warehouses of local producers that has failed to get market due to the excess amount of sugar imported illegally.

"There is large amount of sugar in the market compared with demand. This is due to huge amount of sugar in warehouses we have imported in the country to curb its deficit," he told reporters.

However, two months ago, the situation was just opposite public outcry on its deficit that had caused its prices to skyrocket. In May this year, the Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa announced in Parliament that the government had lifted the import ban to end the deficit of the commodity and stabilize its prices ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.

The Premier told Members of Parliament that there was sugar deficit of 100,000 tonnes annually as only 320,000 tonnes of sugar were being produced by four local manufacturers annually against the annual demand of 420,000 tonnes.

Majaliwa said sugar importation permits have been issued and 80,000 tonnes have already been ordered 35,000 tonnes of the commodity have been imported and distributed to markets across the country. But the local sugar producers complained that illegal sugar imports were disrupting domestic production and called on the government to help in plugging the gaps.

Mr Fimbo Butallah said they have requested the government to support local sugar producers by blocking all gaps used by illegal importers of sugar in the country. "There has been a large amount of sugar in the market compared with demand.

This is due to the huge amount of sugar in warehouses we have imported in the country as a deficit sugar, but has failed to get market due to the expected rate because of the abundance of sugar in the market even before production of local industries begin," said Butallah as he was reading the statement on behalf of the TSPA Chairman, Mr Ashwin Rana.

The statement mentioned methods of sugar that have been used in importing in the country illegally including industrial sugar, which imported in local market for domestic uses. Other methods are through prepacked food and other sugar imported in the country for domestic uses without following legal procedures including tax payment and licence of conducting sugar business.

According to the statement, so far local sugar industries have started to produce sugar for the phase of 2018/2019, where by a total of 348,986 tonnes of sugar expected to be produced by all industries in general.

The rate will be the highest ever produced in the country. This year they have produced 305,000 tonnes. Speaking on the same occasion, TSB Board Chairman, Mr Seif Ali Seif said, recognizes efforts of the government in protecting and improving local sugar industries as well as improving local sugar market by making sure the business is under control according to prescribed procedures.

He said, despite of the government's effort to handle the situation, still there are few unfaithful people who use the gaps to import sugar illegally and affects local sugar production.

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