Tanzania: White elephants under spotlight

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  • JPM orders repossession of undeveloped privatised industries

PRESIDENT John Magufuli has expressed anger towards individuals who rushed to purchase industries and other parastatal firms, promising to develop them but ended up abandoning them.

Now, the President wants all of them repossessed before giving to other individuals who are willing and ready to develop them.

Laying a foundation stone for the construction of Sayona Fruits Limited, a food processing industry at Mboga Village in Bagamoyo District on Thursday, Dr Magufuli ordered the Minister for Industries, Trade and Investment, Mr Charles Mwijage to repossess all redundant industries.

The Head of State issued the order in his third and final day of the working tour of Coast Region where he opened and laid foundation stones for a number of projects.

According to the President, there were 197 industries sold to individuals for the purpose of developing them. But, survey and investigations conducted revealed that some of them were rendered redundant or had their original purposes changed.

The President intoned that all individuals who either abandoned the industries they bought or changed their original purposes were curtailing his government’s industrialisation drive.

“Honourable minister, there are people to whom we sold our industries at throw away prices, expecting to develop but very unfortunately they abandoned them. I order you, don’t look at their faces …. and don’t hesitate to repossess and give them to those who are willing and ready to develop,” he said.

Dr Magufuli added: “An industry is not like a bride who is supposed to stay indoors. It is required to operate, create employment opportunities and generate revenue for the government.”

President Magufuli’s order will likely awaken the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment into taking an affirmative action towards all redundant and non-performing industries. Official figures from sources have indicated that by 2012 the government had privatised over 270 state firms.

However, in its 2013 report, the Consolidated Holdings Corporation (CHC) stated that it had audited a total of 170 privatised firms. According to the report, only 42 privatised firms were making profit while 70 were making losses.

A total of 58 privatised companies were not operating at all. The CHC was charged with the responsibility of overseeing privatisation matters after the dissolution of Parastatal Sector Reform Commission in 1997.

The plant whose foundation stone was laid by Dr Magufuli on Thursday in Bagamoyo District will be able to process 300 tonnes of fruits every day. The industry is expected to cost a total of 120 billion/- upon its completion and will employ 800 workers.

Over 30,000 farmers stand to benefit from the industry by supplying fruits for processing. While at Kibaha, President Magufuli toured a pesticide production firm constructed jointly by the governments of Tanzania and Cuba at a cost of 22.3 million US dollars for the major objective of fighting malaria.

Dr Magufuli ordered the Ministry of Finance and Planning to disburse 1.3bn/- to purchase 100,000 litres of pesticide after district, municipal and district councils failed to buy it.

He ordered the council to have collected the pesticide by the end of next month.

©Daily News

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