By Felix Andrew
VWAWA legislator from Mbozi district, Songwe region in Tanzania Japhet Hasunga (Chadema) has asked the government to ban importation of some goods which are manufactured locally in order to save the value of ailing shilling and industries.
Speaking during question and answer session in Parliament today, the MP said Tanzania spend over 2.8trl/- in purchasing goods yearly, hence there is a need to ban importation in order to save local currency.
The MP asked: “Why don’t we ban importation of goods like sugar and cooking oil which is widely available in local market?”
Responding, the Deputy Minister for Finance, Ashatu Kijaji, said: “It is difficult to do so because Tanzania does not have capacity to satisfy local demands.”
“We urge MPs to support President John Magufuli in his industrial drive motive, there is a need to have our own industries, the move that will suit local demand, hence there would be no need to import from abroad,” she said.
She added: “I was optimistic that if things go well between five to ten years from now Tanzania will have enough industries hence enact a law that would ban import of some goods.”
In a move to protect local sugar factories, last year Tanzania’s President John Magufuli ordered authorities to control importation of sugar under special permits.
The president’s directive comes amid business wrangles between local sugar producers and importers of the commodity, mostly from Thailand, Brazil, India and Indonesia.
The President revoked local import permits, which are usually issued to traders to import sugar for domestic consumption.
He said that Tanzania had failed to protect local factories as sugar importers made a killing.