We’ll drag you to court, sugar dealers warned

09Mar 2016
Getrude Mbago
The Guardian
We’ll drag you to court, sugar dealers warned

The Tanzania Sugar Board (TSB) has sent a strong warning to sugar dealers and traders in the country to never try to hike the price of the commodity as stern legal measures would be taken against them, even if it meant dragging them to court.

Sugar producers decry price hike

Speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday, TSB director general Henry Semwaza appealed for support from the public to succeed in the endeavour.

He said there had been a tendency by some unscrupulous businessmen to try to hide stock in their stores and others raising the price whenever they felt like doing so.

“This is against the Sugar Industry Act of 2001. If we find them violating the law we will deal with them,” he warned.

Semwaza urged the public to report to the TSB offices or government authorities whenever they notice a price hike. He also called on them to report such violations to police stations for further steps.

In addition, he directed all major sugar dealers to ensure that they released to the market all the stock they have to enhance availability of the product all the time.

He directed that the product should not exceed 2,000/- per kilogram in urban areas and 2,200 per kilo in rural areas, due to transportation costs.

The TSB boss commended sugar dealers who supply the northern zone for a job well done.

“These suppliers are implementing their job in a faithful way and putting all their efforts into ensuring that the products are available in all areas,” he said.

On February 26, this year, sugar producers allayed public fears over possible shortage of the commodity, saying there was enough stock to last until April when they would be required to import around 120 metric tonnes as a temporary measure to cover the deficit.

According to them, annual production of domestic sugar from the four local factories, namely Mtibwa, Kilombero, Kagera and Tanganyika Plantation Company (TPC), stands at around 300,000 metric tonnes while the annual demand is 420,000 metric tonnes; thus the deficit has been covered by imports.

Speaking to journalists in Dar es Salam on behalf of sugar producers, Ami Mpungwe, the Kilombero Sugar Company Ltd board chairman, said that the factories have a stock of 32,000 tonnes.

“The factories have a stock of 32,000 tonnes of sugar, which is being sold to wholesalers. Also, some factories are still producing the commodity until April, this year,” Mpungwe said.

He dismissed claims by some sugar dealers that local factories were facing a shortage of the commodity, and that was why they had hiked the price of sugar.

“We assure the public that we have enough stock and our factories have not increased the price of the commodity. Sugar prices from all the factories range between 1700/- and 1800/- per kilogram … there is no factory which has hiked the price after the government banned imports,” he said.