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Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives Mr. Godfrey ZambiThe Government has expressed dismay that some unscrupulous traders have been importing sugar into the country without the necessary permits thereby undermining local production and denying the government due income from taxation, TPJ has learnt.


Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Godfrey Zambi, told the TPJ in a telephone conversation recently that the problem of smuggled sugar was so serious and widespread that an intensive campaign by all stakeholders was needed to eradicate it.
"Since I was appointed to this post early last year, not a single permit has been issued to traders to import sugar for domestic use into the country, yet the market is flooded with the commodity from outside the country," said Mr Zambi.
He wondered whether permits issued for importation of sugar for industrial use only were solely used for that purpose and challenged TRA and other organs to verify such consignments, “Lest unscrupulous business people misuse the permits to import sugar for domestic use.”
The Deputy Minister also spoke of the country's long and porous coastline which could be prone to smuggling and called on TRA and other organs of the state to enhance their surveillance. “Sugar smuggling is a cross-cutting problem and needs joint efforts of several stakeholders including the Tanzania Revenue Authority, police, Tanzania Bureau of Standards as well as the general public,” he said.
He noted that illegally imported sugar is sold cheaper than locally produced sugar, hence local manufactures incur losses as their unsold commodity simply pile up in warehouses in different parts of the country.  
Earlier on, TPJ had sought the views of the Deputy Minister on the status of Government’s plans for bulk sugar procurement, which was scheduled to start in December last year for which he said the government had halted the move “owing to adequate stock in the local market.”
"Importation of sugar for domestic use would only be allowed once the government, after consultation with all stakeholders, is satisfied with the need to do so," explained the Deputy Minister, noting that a committee involving various stakeholders in the sugar sub sector was in place and that the government was closely working with it.

 

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