Small scale food processors have urged the Tanzania Food and Drug Authority (TFDA) to reduce the fees charged before one gets a permit to start operating business.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam on Thursday during a buyer, seller meeting, they said the current fees deter most of them from going to the authority for certification.
The one-day meeting was organized by the Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO) aimed at enabling entrepreneurs to know the various procedures before engaging in any business activity.
“Most entrepreneurs particularly start ups hesitate to go to the authority because they cannot afford to pay the fees,” said Mariam Majid.
According to her, the authority charges upwards of 120,000/- for every product they requested to certify.
She said the authority should also start removing all nuisance fees imposed on various procedures.
She cited these as registration of building, inspection and certification of the products fees.
“They should come up with a single affordable fee which would attract more people particularly food vendors to go for certification,” she noted.
She said there are so many people in the streets engaging in the food business but do not have a license.
For his part, the TFDA senior inspection official Festo Ronald urged SMEs to adhere to the rules and regulations of food processing.
He said failure to do so would attract a penalty fee of 2m/- and imprisonment of two years or both.
However he noted the fees were set to enable the authority implement its activities smoothly.
“The fees are not high as many people think. They are reasonable to enable them access the services and conduct their businesses without any problem,” he added.
He said the authority planned to support small scale entrepreneurs to enable them grow.
“We will establish a special programme aimed at supporting SMEs to nurture their activities, “he said.
Speaking earlier, the SIDO Marketing Manager, Hendricks Mdede urged the government to implement an act that would protect local industries.
He said once implemented the act would help the industries to grow and face competition from outside.
He urged Tanzanians to increase production of various goods and process them instead of selling in raw form.