Friday, May 20, 2016

TCCIA mourns over sugar predicament

AS sugar scarcity continues to take its toll on consumers in the country, Tanzania Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) in Kilimanjaro Region has called for patriotism among traders and agents as well as fair competition in the business. TCCIA Regional Chief Executive Officer, Mr Boniface Mariki said in Moshi on Thursday this week that the situation was alarming because consumers suffer and called for whoever is hoarding sugar to do away with that. They however said they doubted statistics presented to the government on sugar demand. Mr Mariki said it was possible that demand was higher than figures presented to the government and added it might also be possible that all the amount hoarded would not be enough to cover the demand. “It is true many of our members say they do not have sugar and are not ready to buy and sell at huge price because it would be detrimental to their clients. But it is possible some are hoarding it; if so they do not even deserve to be our members. Everyone should shy away from desire to get super profit and be considerate of their customers, be patriotic, think of the nation and its people,” said Mr Mariki. The CEO noted that a system that could monitor the situation all the year round should be put in place, establish how much sugar is needed, how much is produced and the distribution system be traceable and transparent, so as to avoid the situation the country is in as of now. “We need proper and correct data; we doubt if those presented to the government are correct, we feel the demand is much than what industries in the country produce. It is good to restrain importation of some goods, not only sugar, so as to protect our industries, but that should be done in accordance with fair competition, as some industries may become complacent and run business as usual,” said the CEO. He said they were concerned that the matter was turning political, because after the government restrained importation of sugar, unscrupulous businesspeople bought huge amount of sugar and hoarded it. He said there were no explanations why the price should go up to 3,000/- per kilogramme in Kilimanjaro Region. “This matter is very sensitive, we compare sugar needs to fuel, it has so many customers at different levels; if there was already in place a regulation system, it would not take so much time for regional and district security and defence committees to work on the matter,” he said. Mr Mariki warned that setting up a new authority to regulate sugar business could prove costly to consumers as it is the case with Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA), because there would be extra charges. He was of the opinion that the matter should be regulated by existing government machinery. Kilimanjaro region is experiencing scarcity of the commodity, and the price has shot up from around 1,800/- to more or less 3,000/- per kilogram. President John Magufuli has declared war on traders and agents who hoard sugar and state organs have since seized thousands of tonnes of sugar hoarded in different regions.

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