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MPs oppose sale of Urafiki Textiles shares to foreigners

3rd November 2011
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Committee chairman Mahmoud Mgimwa

The Parliamentary Committee for Industries and Trade have advised the government to make sure that at least 30 percent of its shares in Tanzania-China Friendship Textile Company Limited ‘Urafiki’ are sold to its local employees.

Committee chairman Mahmoud Mgimwa said this in Dar es Salaam shortly after the MPs had visited the firm on Tuesday.

“We have come to learn that the management has plans to sell this factory…we want some of the shares to be sold to the workers because they deserve to own the firm as they have worked for it for several years,” Mgimwa said.

Explaining, he said Urafiki Textile factory was once the leading quality fabrics maker in the region but is now dying due to what he described as poor management.

He said the industry’s management is disorganised, calling for the Industry and Trade ministry to ensure it closely monitors the situation as the government still owns 49 percent of the shares after the remaining 51 were sold to a Chinese investor.

“We will soon meet with the minister and government officials, we want them to exactly declare their plans to revive the factory because it is as if everything has been left to the Chinese investor…we have our shares there and must be part and parcel of all the management decisions,” he said.

Mgimwa, who is also the MP for Mufindi North constituency said the committee had not concurred with the idea of selling the factory to another Chinese investor.

He advised the government to ensure that tenders are advertised and that locals are also allowed to buy the factory.

He said if the government would fail to resolve the matter within a given timeframe, the committee would take it to the Parliament.

He said the Chinese investor should also rehabilitate the textile mill before selling it so that it can be marketed at a reasonable price and not leave it in its current situation where it looks like a scrap.

According to him, it wasn’t necessary for the textile mill to continue operating from its current base at Ubungo industrial area in Dar es Salaam, suggesting that it could be relocated to Lake Zone where there are many cotton growers.

He said that relocating the factory to a cotton growing region would reduce the costs of transporting raw materials.

For his part, Urafiki General Manager Wu Bin, said high production costs have led the factory to produce below capacity.

Other textile mills in the country are A to Z of Arusha, Karibu and NIDA of Dar es Salaam.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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