Magufuli issues tough orders on privatised industries

Saturday February 13 2021
Magu pic

President John Magufuli admires rice products processed by MW Rice Millers Limited after he inaugurated the factory in Morogoro Region. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE

By Josephine Christopher
By Louis Kalumbia

Dar es Salaam. President John Magufuli yesterday directed the ministry of Industry and Trade to raise tax imposed on export hides and skins possibly to 100 percent from the present 80 percent in order to discourage exportation.

Dr Magufuli also instructed the ministry to repossess undeveloped factories despite of being privatized many years ago.

The Head of State issued the directives in Morogoro Region during the launching of the Morogoro National Tannery factory and Murzah Wilmar Rice Millers Ltd.

The president arrived in Morogoro Region on Thursday where he commissioned the modern Chief Kingalu Market worth Sh17.696 billion.

Earlier, Morogoro National Tannery factory owner Rostam Aziz requested the government to exempt tax imposed on imported chemicals used for processing of hides and skin as well as address the challenges of excessive export of raw products. Speaking during the live broadcast event, Dr Magufuli said he would provide solutions to the two issues in order for the company to buy all hides and skin from herders countrywide.

“Regarding permits for hides and skin exports, you are now charging 80 percent. Make it 100 percent in order to stop and discourage the exports,” he directed the ministry of Industry and Trade.

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He said his government had no problem if all hides and skin would be purchased and processed by a capable local firm.

“He has spoken of the chemicals used for processing hides and skin in order to get pure leather. This will be addressed by the ministry through tax exemption in order for the products to be processed,” he said.

He commended Mr Aziz for investment made, promising that his government will protect him despite of delaying development since 1996.

“Finally you have reached to an end, I congratulate you. This is contrary to Mr Abood (the Morogoro Urban lawmaker-CCM) who has failed to develop the Canvas and Moproco factories he has owned in the last 24 years,” he said.

According to him, Canvas and Moproco factories were now possessed by CRDB Bank and Treasury ownership respectively. The President instructed CRDB Bank and the Treasury to either give the factories to prospective investors who could make them operational and create jobs to Tanzanians or turn them operational by themselves.

“The ministry should repossess other factors that haven’t been developed. The minister shouldn’t feel shy to take action. There could be CCM leaders who silently possessed the factories, retake them,” insisted the President.

He added, “This is the right time to repossess such firms because of my presence. Once I’m gone things could return as they are used to be. My intention is to create many billionaires in the country.”

Dr Magufuli criticised Mr Abood that despite commending him during the Chief Kingalu inaugural, the CCM MP in the Morogoro Constituency hasn’t performed well in the area of industries.

During the event, Mr Aziz told President Magufuli that Sh50 billion was the total factory’s investment, can employ over 1,000 people and can process 65 percent of cattle skin, 100 percent of sheep and goat hides and skin produced in the country.

“A factory in Ethiopia was the largest factory in the continent, but investment made in terms of machinery and technology makes this the largest in the continent,” he said.

The permanent secretary for the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Prof Elisante Ole Gabriel, said Tanzania was second after Ethiopia for the number of livestock in Africa.

According to him, Tanzania has estimated 33.9 million cattle, 21.29 million goats, 5.65 million sheep as well as 657,380 donkeys which provide huge potentials in the leather, meat and dairy processing industries.

He said value addition to their products remained a challenge, saying Tanzania can supply 1.2 million pairs of shoes out of 38 million demand expressing hopes that the factory would address the challenge.

Commissioning the Murzah Wilmar Rice Millers Ltd, President Magufuli said company could process and mill 288 tons of rice per day and 105,000 tonnes. He said $20 million which is equivalent to over Sh40 billion have been invested in the factory that has created 75 direct jobs and can employ over 250 indirectly.

According to him, the last year, the miller bought 65, 000 tonnes of rice from different regions in the country worth Sh45 billion, providing new hope to rice farmers.