The government is considering imposing a total ban on exportation of raw skins and hides, a strategy that will enable local tanneries obtain sufficient raw materials.
The likelihood of such a decision was announced on Thursday evening in Parliament by Trade and Industries Minister Dr Abdallah Kigoda when winding up debate for his ministry’s estimates delivered earlier in the House.
He said that of all countries in East and Central Africa Tanzania was the only state that allows exportation of raw skins and hides, a factor that has contributed to bringing about shortage of raw material for local tanneries.
However, the minister said deciding to impose a total ban stakeholders in the industry must meet and discuss the issue.
According to Dr Kigoda, Tanzania has 13 tanneries with the capacity to process 73,977,000 cubic feet of skins and hides per annum but only five are operational, namely Himo Tanneries and Moshi Leather Industries (Kilimanjaro) Afro Leather Industries (Dar es Salaam), Lake Trading Co. Ltd (Coast) and ACE Leather Industries (Morogoro).
Five other tanneries had been set up but failed to start operations due to shortage of raw materials owing to unfair competition in the business of unprocessed skins and hides.
These are Open Enterprises (footwear manufacturing -Dar es Salaam), Morogoro Super Leather Ltd, Mbagala Leather Products (Dar es Salaam), Petrocity Tannery (leather processing) of Mwanza and Morogoro Leather Company (leather products manufacturing).
The minister said six tanneries were in different stages of construction, namely Tanmbuzi Co. (leather processing) of Kilimanjaro, Arusha City Complex Co. Ltd (leather processing), Bhat Bangla Agritech (T) Ltd (leather products manufacturing) of Dodoma, JAET Tannery Co. Ltd of Mwanza and Zhung Fu International Co. Ltd (leather production and plastic footwear) at Mkuranga.
Dr Kigoda said the ministry in collaboration with stakeholders in the sector in the 2011/12 financial year met and agreed that from mid this year 90 per cent of excise duty should be imposed on each kilo of raw skins and hides exported to discourage the business.
However, some MPs including Said Zuberi (CCM- Fuoni) and Selemani Nchambi (CCM-Kishapu) cautioned the government against imposing a total ban on exportation of raw skins and hides.
The MPs said the government should always assist cattle herders and dealers in skins and hides get a market for their products instead of imposing a ban.
They said it sometimes happened that raw skins and hides sellers take their products to tanneries for selling but were turned away on grounds that the tanneries had enough stocks.