Dar es Salaam. Delay in clearing industrial sugar at Dar es Salaam Port is caused by verification aimed at ensuring that the commodity is not diverted to household use, President John Magufuli said yesterday.
Dr Magufuli made the clarification when chairing the 11th Tanzania National Business Council meeting at State House, Dar es Salaam.
“There needs to be intensive verification to identify unscrupulous traders, who purportedly import industrial sugar, but which is then diverted to the domestic retail market,” he said.
President Magufuli added that only eight out of 33 major importers of industrial sugar were found to be honest. They include SBC Tanzania, Nyanza Bottling, Bonite Bottlers, Bakhresa Group and Candy Tanzania.
The other importers swindled the government by bringing in quantities of industrial sugar that were way beyond their needs, he said.
“If all importers of industrial sugar were clean, there would be no need for the sugar board and thus there wouldn’t be delays in issuing import permits.”
The Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) said thousands of tonnes of industrial sugar had been held up at Dar es Salaam Port for about four months.
CTI chairman Samuel Nyantahe said that this had caused a shortage of the raw material that was threatening the survival of some key manufacturers.
“The shortage could affect future expansion plans and force some of them to stop production altogether, putting hundreds of jobs at risk,” he said.
Iringa Food and Logistics Company and Dar es Salaam- based Shelys Pharmaceuticals recently suspended production due to unavailability of industrial sugar.
More than 190 employees were likely to lose their jobs, according to senior executives of the two firms.