Imported edible oil to be tested at entry point

16Jan 2016
Felister Peter
The Guardian
Imported edible oil to be tested at entry point

The government has threatened to take stringent measures against dishonest business people involved with illegal importation of refined edible oil as crude product with the purposes of evading tax.

The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Prof Adolf Mkenda

The move follows complaints from local producers of sunflower edible oil over lack of fair competition in the market with the government saying verification of the product will now be done at the port.

Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment Charles Mwijage made the statement yesterday while responding to queries from traders during a breakfast meeting organized by the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) in Dar es Salaam.

“We are going to take stern measures to all directors and head of departments whose institution will facilitate importation of refined oil by approving it as a raw material” Mwijage said.

He said the government has resolved to ensure that the sampling of the products is conducted upon arrival of the consignment.

The minister said the move is expected to improve production of edible oil and boost farmers’ income and export which grew by only 9.1 percent last year which has a demand of 450,000 tonnes annually.

Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Prof Adolf Mkenda said the challenges for payment of Value Added Tax (VAT) for edible oil producers are caused by dishonest business people who import the product as a raw material, whereby affecting local producers.

In his response, the Permanent Secretary in the same ministry, Dr Adelhelm Meru underscored the need to protect local industries saying the government is working on how best to protect local industries.

Through the collaboration with the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA), the government is striving to establish various areas for construction of industries by inviting private sector develop the infrastructures in the said premises.

TCCIA President Peter Chisawillo called upon the government to look into the possibilities of changing the license issuance system to allow the license to for at least between five and ten years instead of applying for the same every year as it brings inconvenient to traders.

“It is wrong for the government to consider the issuance of license as part of its money collection strategy…we suggest for licenses to be valid for not less than five years” said Chisawillo.

Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) Director, Dr Gideon Kaunda insisted on the importance of protecting local industries and products saying it will ensure the growth of local industries and the country’s economy.

“We need to consume locally produced goods” he said insisting on local producers to make sure that their brands are labeled.

However the TCCIA members decried over prolonged procedures for business registration at the Business Registration and Licensing Agency (BRELA) proposing for the authority to set up specific number of days for the exercise.

They also suggested that laws and regulations governing the sector should be put in specific company’s website since it is difficult for one to access the document at offices with Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) exception.