A LOCAL firm is finalizing a deal to purchase 15,000 tonnes of cashew nuts from the government. Bi-Southern Trade Limited, a company based in Dar es Salaam, is set to seal an agreement with the government, after both parties agreed on the consignment's purchase, according to the Industry and Trade Minister, Mr Joseph Kakunda.
"The company is likely to finalize the deal after it was thoroughly reviewed by the office of the Attorney General," revealed the Minister yesterday, while briefing reporters in Arusha.
Should the deal get sealed, the firm will become the second company that has shown interest to buy the product since the government directed the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank(TADB) to buy the country's entire cashew nut output.
Late last month, the government entered into an agreement with a Kenyanregistered firm, Indo Power Solutions Ltd, for the purchase of 100,000 tonnes of the product. Tanzania is set to earn a whopping 418bn/- from the deal with the company from the neighbouring country.
The government has since defended the deal following with the Kenyan company credibility was questioned by a section of media from a neighbouring country.
Speaking here yesterday, Mr Kakunda said the deal with the Kenyan firm was going according to plan, adding that Indo Power Solutions Limited was now finalizing legal issues to seal the deal through. "Everything is going according to the plan. We will hand the company its consignment without any delay," insisted the Minister.
Meanwhile, Mr Kakunda said government has successfully collected 221,060 tonnes of raw cashew nuts from local farmers. The consignment of the nuts is valued at 718bn/-.
According to Joseph Kakunda the government was able to collect the raw nuts through the Cereals and Other Produce Board of Tanzania (CPB) with a view of prioritizing the revival of local industries.
He further urged businessmen who wished to purchase the nuts from the government, to submit their applications to the office of the permanent secretary of Trade and Industries ministry. "The sale of the cashew nuts is open to everyone provided there is an agreement on the selling price," explained the Minister.
In the same vein, the Minister reiterated the government's resolve of reviving the state-owned General Tyre East Africa Company. He disclosed that the government was exploring on ways of breathing life back to the former giant manufacturer of tires in East Africa that has remained non-operational since 2009.
"We are currently reviewing the firm's nature of investment and once done with the exercise we will invite local and foreign investors to run it," he added. The company is currently under the receivership of the National Development Corporation (NDC).
In August last year, NDC received a Government Notice for the transfer of assets of the company to the development corporation for the promotion of the plant to investors.
Three years ago, the government acquired 100 per cent shares of the Arusha based company after buying back 26 per cent shares initially owned by General Tyre (Continental AG) to revive commercial operations of the factory, once the icon of Arusha in particular and the country at large.
The company once billed as the largest industrial plant in the region, started production of tires in 1971. At that time, the company was able to produce 1,200 tires a day. Production at the company, however, nosedived towards the end of 1990s when imported and second-hand tires flooded the domestic market.