Clearing agents in bid to stop govt move

Sunday June 16 2019

 

By Gadiosa Lamtey @TheCitizenTZ news@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. The association of clearing and forwarding agents has dispatched an eight-member lobby team to Dodoma as it seeks to reverse a government plan that will see importers clearing their own goods at the port.

Clearing and forwarding agents are set to lose some business as the government presented a new process that would allow people to clear their goods at the Dar es Salaam Port without the need for agents.

At an emergency meeting in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (Taffa) picked a team representing 800 companies that will seek audience with Members of Parliament

Taffa warned on Friday that if the government digs in on the plan, at least 10,000 jobs will be on the line.

Finance and Planning minister Philip Mpango made the shock announcement on Thursday while tabling the 2019/20 national budget proposals in Parliament.

Speaking in Parliament on Thursday as he presented the 2019/2020 Budget, Finance Minister Philip Mpango said cargo in transit will not have the same exemption.

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“The Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) will develop a comprehensive system to enable citizens to free their cargos at a more cost-effective way and without delay,” the minister said.

Freight forwarders opposed the plan saying it will not only be disastrous for jobs, but also reduce efficiency considering that the clearing of goods at the port cannot be carried out by just any member of the public.

“We have met to take members’ views on defending this industry; that is in accordance with the law,” said Taffa acting President Edward Urio. “Clearing of goods requires a person who understands the systems, and also registered.”

Mr Urio said there are about 800 customs firms, which are agents of the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) .

“These 800 companies on average each employs not less than five people,” he said.