Live animal exporters grapple with lawsuits for breach of contract

14Jan 2018
Henry Mwangonde
Guardian On Sunday
Live animal exporters grapple with lawsuits for breach of contract

DESPITE hopes that the ban on the export of live wild animals may be lifted soon, traders in the sector still have to battle lawsuits in foreign courts from their clients who decided to go the legal way after an agreement between the two sides to deliver the animals in time was not honoured.

Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Japhet Hasunga

This comes amid reports that the government lost Sh2.5trl in revenue over the past two years following its decision to ban the export of live wild animals.

In a meeting with Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Japhet Hasunga on Tuesday in Dodoma, members of the Tanzania Wildlife Exporters Association (TWEA) expressed their concerns over the ban, saying a lot had happened since the ban came into effect.

Yesterday, TWEA Secretary General Adam Warioba told The Guardian in an interview that despite the chance to have an audience with the government since the ban was imposed, there were many issues that ought to be discussed including how those who were given advance payments by their clients will be compensated because some of them had gone to court demanding their money back.

“Some of the clients came all the way to Tanzania to question why we are not delivering as agreed, and there are some of our members who decided to sell their houses to pay back loans that they owed banks,” he said.

According to him, Tanzania had painted a bad image in a business that is full of competition and involves various countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia and many others, saying it would take time to restore trust from customers.

Deputy Minister Hasunga, when contacted by The Guardian yesterday, said the government was aware of the concerns by the stakeholders and that they had directed them to put their grievances in writing before a decision on whether or not to lift the ban is taken.

“Upon receiving their concerns we will review them together with the main reasons for the ban because it came to the government notice that some of them were not registered and took advantage of the chance to export other animals such as giraffes,” he said.

The government banned the export of all live animals in March 2016 until proper procedures were put in place to ensure only approved animals were exported.

In the announcement the government cited irregularities in the way the business was conducted.

The decision sparked anger from exporters who complained that the ban was a surprise decision to them as it was made a month or so after they were handed licenses to operate.

The exporters said they were given a one-year licence to export live wild animals on January 1, 2016.

Tanzania has some of the world's biggest game parks, including Serengeti and Selous, which are popular with tourists.

The animals are sold to zoos in the US, Europe and Asia.

 

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