In an interview with the ‘Daily News’ on Tuesday, the Acting Director General of the Sugar Board of Tanzania (SBT), Mr Henry Semwaza said there were indications that the country would face sugar shortage.
With a national monthly consumption of 32,000 metric tons, importation of 50,000 metric tons of sugar means locally produced sugar to be consumed in the two months would be 14,000 metric tons.
Normally the demand gap is covered by licensed imported sugar that has to arrive in the country at the time when all factories close down for maintenance or have less stock for sale.During the off season, sugar factories close for maintenance or the wet season occasions, a situation of less sucrose in the canes and thus less sugar production.
But, Mr Semwaza warned that this time around, the board would not tolerate untimed importation of the commodity.It’s understood that there was untimed importation in November, leading to the flooding of imported sugar in the local market, with domestic producers like Kilombero Sugar Company and Kagera Sugar Company, having some of their sugar stranded at their warehouses.
But subsequently, the government allowed the two firms among the country’s sugar manufacturers, to export 19,500 tonnes of sugar to the European Union (EU), Uganda and Southern Sudan markets.Yesterday, Mr Semwaza said they had sat down for discussions with stakeholders, including private sector and made calculations that enabled them to decide, in an announcement in the ‘Daily News’ that they would import 50,000 metric tons in the two months.
He said the companies which had been affected then had stabilized the situation and that all those factors had been considered before coming up with the amount required for importation.The country’s sugar consumption stands at 480,000 tonnes per year but the four factories - Tanganyika Plantation Company, Kilombero, Kagera and Mtibwa Sugar - produce only 320,000 tonnes, translating into a deficit of 160,000 tonnes of sugar that is filled by imports.
Mr Semwaza said importers would be given importation licences ahead of March to bring in sugar to bridge the gap at the time and warned that there should be no delay in bringing in the sugar.In the board’s announcement yesterday, the Sugar Board noted that it intends to allow importation of 50,000 metric tons of sugar in the country between March 1 and April 30, this year.
“The board invites interested and financially capable registered importers to apply for licences to import sugar under conditions,” noted the statement.The conditions included maximum allocation of sugar for any importer being 5,000 metric tons, subject to volume and quality of applications.
It noted that no consignment would be accepted for clearance if it arrives later than April 30.It would also be a requirement for the importer to submit to the board on monthly basis, information regarding quantities and quality of sugar imported, the manner in which the sugar has been, is being or will be disposed of, stocks held and the places where such stocks are held.