THE government has begun providing grants to smallholder fishing groups as it attempts to expand the contribution of the fishing sector on nationals and the country's industrial development.
The grants currently released to 34 fishing groups include 60 fishing engines in a shared arrangement, with the state footing 40 per cent of the total cost of each engine while cooperative societies pays for the remaining 60 per cent.
Abdallah Ulega, the Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Livestock Development, said the government support to the sector seeks to improve employment, nutrition and contribution of the sector to the nation's gross domestic product.
He was responding to Tutambile lawmaker, Masoud Salim's question in the National Assembly on part of the government's comprehensive strategy to boost the sector, which includes abolishing the value-added tax on out boat engine, twines and packaging.
"This by any means cuts down operation cost for fishing vessels," he said.
The East African common market external tariff published in 2007 provides a reduced tax arrangement to all engines and raw materials imported from the East African regional member states.
The deputy minister said in some occasion, the government tends to eliminate such taxation to allow the fishing sector in the region to grow.
Mr Ulega said the government will continue supporting fishermen to access modern fishing gears.
He said the strategy is to have in place a regular review of existing policies and programmes targeting to benefit fishers in cooperative unions.
"I urge the MP to consider advising fishermen in Tutambile to join unions so that they can benefit from the government grants," he said.
The deputy minister further called on the private sector to invest in various industries to locally manufacture quality fishing gears.
He said already there are two local fishnet factories in Dar es Salaam and Mwanza, which are both running at full capacity.
Other manufacturers are involved in the construction of fibre glass boats in Mwanza and the coastal zone.