Friday, November 17, 2017

Minister: Public servants involved in Urafiki contract face action

Minister for Trade, Industries and Investment,

Minister for Trade, Industries and Investment, Mr Charles Mwijage 

By Louis Kolumbia @Collouis1999 lkolumbia@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. The Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Prof Mussa Assad has recommended that public servants who facilitated a contract between the government and a Chinese firm to operate the Friendship Textile Mill (FTM) ‘Urafiki' in partnership to be taken to task.

This was disclosed in the Parliament today, November 17, in Dodoma when the minister for Trade, Industries and Investment, Mr Charles Mwijage was responding to a question from Ubungo MP Mr Saed Kubenea.

In his main question, the outspoken Ubungo legislator wanted to know of efforts made by the government to ensure enough funds were injected for the company to operate efficiently.

In his supplementary question, Mr Kubenea demanded answers over measures taken against the public servants who facilitated the deal with Changzhou State Company, which had caused a loss of Sh18.04 billion by June 30, 2011.

Mr Kubenea added that the company had sought a Sh56.1 billion loan from EximBank China that had a Sh4.04 billion interest, thus causing the loss of billions of shillings of taxpayer’s money.

Responding to the questions, Mr Mwijage disclosed that the CAG has already made some recommendations and appropriate measures will be taken against them.

“The CAG has recommended that the public servants implicated in this issue should be taken to task, something which will surely be implemented,” he said.

Speaking on the government’s future plans, the minister said negotiation with a new Chinese investor through Trade and Industries committees were on track.

He said the new investor has expressed readiness to allow the country’s ownership of 75 per cent of shares.

 “They are ready to make us majority shareholders, owning 75 per cent. We are committed to ensuring the industry operates efficiently and employs up to 800 people,” he said.

According to him, by owning more Urafiki shares, the government will be in a better position to decide how the company would be operated to benefit the country.

Currently, the government owns 49 per cent of shares at Urafiki with Changzhou State Company owning 51 per cent.

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