Bureaucratic bungling should not be allowed

Friday November 24 2017

The hurdles that some of the country’s major beverage companies revealed Wednesday that they faced in clearing their sugar consignments at the Dar es Salaam Port do not augur well for business. It’s issues such as this that force companies to slow down, or halt production.

It should not be let to get to that level – not when all it takes is for concerned authorities to put their heads together and iron out whatever problems there were, that caused the costly delays.

What’s worrying in this particular case is the fact that the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) had already conducted the verification process to determine whether the imported sugar was for industrial or domestic use. In other words, the taxman had probably given the imported sugar the greenlight for clearing.

If the sugar importers had complied with all the procedures (as they said), why then was it taking longer than usual for clearing? This partly points to bureaucratic bungling, which should not be allowed because it disrupts operations, hampers production and leaves a huge cost burden on business.

While TRA’s taxpayer services and education director Richard Kayombo said he was not aware of the clearing problems the beverage companies were facing, the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) noted that delays by the Sugar Board of Tanzania (SBT) to issue permits had caused the snag. Going forward, it would be important to ensure that every department and agency work at the same speed in ensuring smooth flow in their roles to facilitate business operations. The Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) has over past few months been tirelessly working on improving the image of the Dar es Salaam Port as an efficient harbour – it can’t be in the news for all the wrong reasons, especially those caused by the lack of a sense of urgency by those whose duty is facilitation.