Tanzanian govt on a tight spot over hiked sugar prices

Tuesday May 8 2018



Industry minister Charles Mwijage

Industry minister Charles Mwijage 

By By Deogratius Kamagi @Deogratiuskamagi dkamagi@tz.nationmedia.com

Dodoma. National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai has directed the government through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments to come up with concrete answers concerning hiked sugar prices on Mainland Tanzania. 

Mr Ndugai issued the directive on Tuesday, May 8, after Industry minister Charles Mwijage failed to respond to the supplementary question asked by Mpendae MP Salim Hassan Turky who argued that the prices of the commodity have been raised in a bid to protect the manufacturers.

Mr Turky was complementing the question by Muyuni MP Jaku Hashim Ayoub who observed that a 50-kilo bag of sugar was being sold for Sh65,000 in Zanzibar while the price on the Mainland stood at Sh120,000.

This, according to the two lawmakers, has attributed to the scarcity of the commodity in the country.

In his response, Mr Mwijage said his ministry has instructed the four key sugar manufacturers in the country to expand cultivation of sugarcane in their plantations.

In a way, Mr Mwijage had not responded to the question, moreover, he attacked Mr Turky saying he was among traders who hiked the prices of sugar on the mainland.

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“Why didn’t you lower the prices given the fact that you are one of the traders,” he charged before leaving the podium for his seat.

His response caused murmurs from the lawmakers who apparently were left puzzled by it. 

It was at this point that Speaker Ndugai intervened noting that the question had not been answered, saying it will be brought again before Parliament next week. 

"Sugar prices have got a lot to do with the lives of Tanzanians. It doesn't make sense if the price of the commodity on the mainland is almost double that charged in Zanzibar," he said.

He added, "The government should respond to this question properly."