Tanzania Plans to Liberalize Sugar Market

A customer picks a packet of sugar

DAR ES SALAAM: Minister of Agriculture, Mr Hussein Bashe, has announced that the government plans to submit a proposal to amend the Sugar Industry Act of 2001 in the forthcoming budget session of Parliament. This proposal aims to liberalize the sugar market, allowing local manufacturers to compete with foreign companies after decades of protection by the government.

Speaking at the State House in Dar es Salaam on Thursday, Minister Bashe briefed scribes on the measures taken by the government to address the current sugar deficit, including the importation of the commodity.

"We have protected them enough... they have grown up," he noted. "With the proposed amendments, sugar gaps will no longer be filled by local manufacturers... we cannot continue with an irresponsible private sector."

To ensure fair market practices, Minister Bashe stated that the government has issued a notice to local manufacturers to revise their distribution systems by establishing sugar depots in each region.

He highlighted one company that only has one authorized distributor responsible for distributing its sugar to eleven regions, leading to a lengthy bureaucratic chain and subsequent price hikes for customers.

Additionally, Minister Bashe emphasized that Tanzania is set to import over 300,000 tonnes of sugar this year to address the existing deficit. He revealed that a ship was currently unloading more than 25,000 tonnes of sugar at the Port of Dar es Salaam, with plans for further imports through the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to mitigate the crisis.

"We will continue importing sugar through NFRA. The sugar currently being unloaded, as I speak, has been brought by a company that has entered into an agreement with NFRA, not an industry, because this is a matter of food safety," he stated.

Minister Bashe reiterated that the problem stems from El Niño rains, which were predicted beforehand by the country's Meteorological Authority, TMA.

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