Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment, Professor Adolf Mkenda said the government is backing the smallholder leather products makers to graduate into small leather industries so that they can dominate both the domestic and regional market.
“The government’s priority plan is to empower local producers start factories that will boost manufacturing of finished goods including the leather subsector hence you have an obligation to cease the opportunity,” Prof Mkenda said when he officiated a leather products stakeholders’ meeting and exhibition held in Dar es Salaam.
Organised by Tanzania Trade development Authority (TanTrade), the one day meeting held last weekend was aimed at addressing critical issues affecting growth of the country’s leather industry which is dominated by small scale makers using outdated technology.
Prof Mkenda said the government will soon ban importation of second hand clothes and leather products to protect domestic manufacturers hence challenging them to prepare to dominate the home market but also target EAC and SADC to which the country is a member.
“The government will continue supporting you technically and financially so that you can improve quality and quantity of leather products that you make,” the Industry, Trade and Investment Ministry’s highest civil servant noted.
TanTrade acting Director General, Edwin Rutageruka promised to continue working with the leather products makers to develop their capacity so that they can graduate to small size leather industries with capacity to supply bother local and regional markets.
“TanTrade will also help you access foreign markets with your products especially those within regional blocks where we have membership,” Rutageruka noted.
Tanzania Leather Producers Association Chairman, Dedan Munisi dared local consumers to love buying home made products other than preferring foreign imports. Munisi pointed out that consumers should do away with the notion that imported leather products are more superior and better than locally made products.
“We should start preferring to buy home made goods such as leather products which are more durable and of high quality compared to foreign imports,” Munisi said.
A researcher from Tanzania Industrial Research and Development Organisation (TIRDO), Cecilia China urged the leather products markers to consult scientific research institutions which have some of the solution to problems facing them.
China noted that there are many public institutions which have done a lot of research on small scale industries but the private sector including leather products makers do not use such results which can improve their productivity.