Govt talks up 15 industries for paper shopping bags

15May 2019
Polycarp Machira
The Guardian
Govt talks up 15 industries for paper shopping bags

TOWARDS next month’s deadline for the use of plastic bags in the country, the government is in talks with 15 industries that manufacture alternative bags to increase production.

The Minister for Industry and Trade, Joseph Kakunda said in his 2019/2020 ministerial estimates speech that the government welcomes new investors to help raise available alternative shopping and wrapping material.

Environment friendly bags can be made from easily available raw materials like cotton and sisal, among others, in like manner as baskets and straw bags of various sorts.

Mufindi Paper Mills is one among industries instructed to produce substantial amounts of paper bags to meet the demand, he said.

The minister asked the legislature to approve Sh 100,384,738,648 for the financial year whereby Sh 48,884,738,648 meets recurrent needs while Sh 51,500,000,000 is used for development purposes.

The government has taken various strategic steps for industrialization, he said, citing Liganga and Mchuchuma  industrial zone where all the basic requirements to kick start the project including the mining licence, environment certifications and permit to use water, among others, have been cleared.

The project is to be implemented by the National Development Company (NDC) and Sichuan Hongda Group which has obtained the strategic investors status that has several packages, he said, elaborating that in July 2017 the investor asked for more waivers.

On the small industries sub-sector, the minister said the ministry collected data on areas set aside for small industries in Mbeya, Morogoro, Rukwa and Mara regions. Records show that Mbeya region has set aside 464.17 hectares, Morogoro, 16,022 hectares, Rukwa 1,154.48 hectares while Mara has 10,054.67 hectares for purposes of leasing out to investors, he said.

The focus in the new financial year is to continue working to improve the private sector as the engine of building an industrial economy, the minister declared.

Another area of focus is to continue improving the doing business environment and enhanced registration of small and middle businesses and industries.

Others include implementation of the blueprint to improve research and technology on industry and trade sectors, improve control and competition in the market to protect local industries from counterfeit goods and improve trade.

Tabling the opposition camp observations on the ministerial budget estimates, Ndanda MP Cecil Mwambe (CHADEMA) said it is wrong for the government in continuously failing to refund VAT to those whose applications have no residual queries.

The opposition camp also decried multiple taxes in the timber industry, noting that this is a big setback to infant timber industries.