Kamwelwe sets tall order for new ports authority board

Sunday December 22 2019

Works, Transport and Communications minister

Works, Transport and Communications minister Isack Kamwelwe 

By John Namkwahe @johnteck3 jnamkwahe@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Works, Transport and Communications minister Isack Kamwelwe has challenged the newly inaugurated Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) Board of Directors to ensure they push up organisation’s revenues.

The minister ordered the Board to ensure that the authority raises dividend paid to the government up to Sh1 trillion in the year 2019/20.

Failure to do so, he warned, TPA director general Deusdedit Kakoko, and others would be sacked.

During the financial year 2018/19, TPA paid Sh480 billion in dividend and received special acknowledgement from President John Magufuli for becoming the leading state-owned institution.

The new TPA board of directors, which consists of seven members led by Prof Ignas Rubaratuka (chairman). Other members are: Mr Malata Paschal, Mr Jabir Bakari, Mr Masanja Kadogosa, Mr Ephrem Kirenga, Mr Renatus Mkinga, Ms Jayne Nyimbo and Ms Dephine Magere.

The minister also tasked the new board to ensure the revenue management system and marketing strategies are improved to ensure that TPA brings in sufficient revenues.

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“I am not satisfied with the current revenue collections. I, therefore, urge the new board to effectively supervise the system and make sure sufficient revenues are collected,” said the minister.

The CEO and managing director of Kampala-based UniFreight, Ms Jennifer Mwijukye, was recently quoted saying: “Imports through Tanzania ports would pick up once ‘major improvements’ were made in clearing goods in the shortest time possible at Dar es Salaam Port.”

She added: “Tanzania Ports Authority still needs to do much more in order to win our market.”

Ugandan traders also recently said it was still cheaper to import goods through Mombasa port in Kenya and challenge authorities in Dar es Salaam to address the matter of high port charges if they were to woo them to do business there.

These setbacks are not new to Mr Kamwelwe as he yesterday admitted that despite the recent efforts by the government to improve performance at the ports, particularly Dar es Salaam Port, the port still faces challenges including shortage of handling equipment.

“Recently the government allowed the Tanzania Railways Corporation to purchase used equipment. I, therefore, encourage you also to purchase used handling equipment in order to increase efficiency and speed of operations at the ports,” he said.

The new board has been tasked to strengthen security at the ports including the dry ports across the country.

He said he was aware of the ongoing illegal importation of commodities through some dry ports.

“I also urge you to address the shortage of human resources as it also affect the efficiency and effectiveness of ports operations,” the minister directed the board.

The Board Chairman Prof Rubaratuka reassured the Minister of the board’s commitment to keep delivering for the betterment of the TPA and nation.

He further reiterated the board’s commitment to continue closely cooperating with the relevant government authorities with a view to improving performance at the ports including revenue collection exercise.

“I can assure you that within one year, the system will be improved and all the revenues collection will be effectively monitored to avoid tax evasion,” said the Chairman who has been appointed to serve the position for the second term.