Mwijage vows to crackdown on cheap cable, wire imports

20Apr 2016
Victor Karega
The Guardian
Mwijage vows to crackdown on cheap cable, wire imports

INFLUX of cheap imports is taking its toll on a local power cables and wire manufacturer whose production has fallen by between 20 and 40 percent prompting Trade, Industry and Investment Minister, Charles Mwijage to intervene.

Charles Mwijage

“The government through my ministry will make sure these factories increase their production capacity. We have cable and wire manufacturers whose production is very low because of imports which lead to layoffs, I will not accept this,” Mwijage said.

He decried that many local consumers have been using cheap imported wires and cables which are flooding the local market driving local manufacturers out of the market unfairly.

The Minister who visited Dar es Salaam based East African Cables Limited which manufactures power cables and wires with 10 percent of its shares owned by Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco), produces at less its capacity due to unfair competition.

Several local cable manufacturers, including Multi Cable Limited, are experiencing the same problem with the domestic market.

General Manager at EA Cables, Joseph Hunja told Mwijage that the biggest threat facing local manufacturers is the influx of imported substandard electrical wires and cables. Local manufacturers also face multiple taxation.

“We have the capacity to produce up to 200 metric tonnes per annum but many of our plants have closed down because we do not have orders from state utilities. Large companies like Tanesco and REA do not buy our local products,” Hunja stressed.

MCL Executive Director, Murtaza Bai also complained against failure by the government to protect local manufacturers saying local content regulations have not been applied effectively.

Bai accused some manufacturers of imitating his company’s brands and selling them locally as counterfeit products.

He told Minister Mwijage that fake and sub-standard goods are rampant in the domestic market driven by unscrupulous traders who travel to China and India to import such fake products.

“We urge the government to explore the possibility of allowing domestic and foreign companies with the ability to conduct research that would help the availability of raw materials for cables manufacturing,” Bai noted.

Experts said a major factor encouraging the importation of fake and sub-standard products into the domestic market include high prices of locally manufactured goods which face several challenges such as unreliable power supply, numerous taxes and corruption.

They urge law enforcement agencies to crackdown on smuggling while the government imposes stiff penalty for defaulters when convicted by courts of law.