Minister Zungu said in Dar es Salaam on Monday that the government was aware of the illegal trade of banned plastic bags between local and foreign traders, adding that harsh punishment awaits the dishonest traders who he described as crude saboteurs of government revenue.
“Our investigations have revealed that deceitful traders in neighbouring countries are colluding with local counterparts bringing banned plastic bags in our country. They are sabotaging crudely government revenue in this illegal trade because we know what they are doing. We are putting our things right. We shall punish these sabotouers of the national economy,” he warned.
To make matters worse, the minister said, the traders were importing sub-standard carriers that were littering the environment and were promoting illegal and unfair competition with local industries. He also said some of the bags in circulation were locally and illegally produced.
Zungu called on Tanzanians to be wary of bags, saying that carriers that have not been cleared by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) could endanger health of users. “These carries do not have TBS logo and do not meet the GSM 70 benchmark. We shall be forced to take stern measures to protect local industries and environment.”
The minister said personally he would not accept to be part of a group that undermines the government of President John Magufuli because, he said, unfit plastic bags were banned since June last year. “The ban created opportunity for making alternative bags. This opportunity is being abused. Culprits will be punished severely.”