TANZANIA — Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa yesterday acknowledged sugar shortage in the country, but assured that the government is determined to handle the scarcity.

The premier however warned unscrupulous traders whom he accused of unnecessarily hiking sugar prices, especially during the fasting period, threatening stern legal measures against them.

He said the government is aware of the shortage, which he blamed on the country’s low capacity to produce the essential commodity.

Mr Majaliwa told the National Assembly during the question-answer session here that at least 130,000 tons of sugar will be imported in this year to curb the shortage.

The country has an annual deficit of 100,000 tonnes of sugar annually, with all the four sugar manufacturers producing only 320,000 tonnes against the national demand of 420,000 tons.

The sugar manufacturers in the country are Moshi-based Tanganyika Planting Company, Kagera Sugar Limited in Kagera, Mtibwa Sugar Ltd and Kilombero Sugar Company, both in Morogoro.

He said plans are underway to ensure that the sugar manufacturing companies in the country are increasing their production, adding that the government has already met all the manufacturers to strategise on increased production.

The premier explained that import permits were issued and so far 80,000 tonnes have been ordered, with 35,000 tonnes already distributed across the country.

He assured Muslims that there would be plenty of sugar during the Ramadhan fasting, noting that the government plans to import more sugar, especially in the Holy Month.

He said TPC plans to increase production to 120,000 tonnes this year from the previous year’s 100,000.

Plans are also underway to establish new sugar factories in Mbigiri and Mkulazi areas in Morogoro region, said Premier Majaliwa, hinting that the Mbigiri factory will be constructed under support from the National Service while Mkulazi factory is a joint project between the pension funds and investors.

May 15, 2017: Tanzania Daily News