Current Trade News

Dodoma — The government is engaging stakeholders in the review of 22 laws under the Ministry of Industry and Trade with the view to improving Tanzania's business environment.
The review will also allow a smooth implementation of the blueprint for regulatory reforms to improve the business environment, according to Industry and Trade minister Kitila Mkumbo, who tabled his budget for the 2021/22 financial year yesterday.
"We amended two laws through the Finance Act of 2020 and we are preparing another law to protect the local industries and businesses," said Prof Mkumbo.
The proposed Trade Remedies Act of 2021 will also control importation of products, market distortion by subsidized products which get to the local market at lower prices.
Prof Mkumbo said the proposed law was already submitted to responsible government organs for further action.
Prof Mkumbo's remarks on review of the laws comes hardly a month since President Samia Suluhu Hassan directed ministers and other government officials to make sure that they improved the ease of doing business in Tanzania.
President Hassan said there was an unnecessary bureaucracy in government departments and agencies when it came to regulating businesses and investments.
She directed the ministers to review and amend laws that hindered investment in a bid to attract more investors. "We want traders and investors to enjoy our business environment instead of discouraging them," she said.
Prof Mkumbo tabled his Sh105.6 billion budget that had increased by nearly 30 percent from the current budget to finance the priority areas.
The ministry is responsible for stimulating the industrial development in the country as well as attracting investment through creating conducive policies.
According to the minister, the priority areas include promotion and protection of local processing and value-addition industries in agriculture, livestock, fishing, forestry and mining sectors.
The minister said the government will also mobilize development of industries for leather processing, textile and garments.
He named other priority areas as protection and supporting of steel manufacturing industries and steel products.
Friendly investment environment will be given the needed attention especially to investors setting up battery and vehicles assembling factories, he said.
Policies and laws, the minister said, will be harmonized to create a platform in which the business environment would be friendly to people from all walks of life to operate as the government would cooperate with businesses to ensure there was a market for the local products.
He also assured the private sector, which is an engine of economic development, of full engagement so that their contributions in national development would be felt.
He said as of current, the government has scrapped about 232 different taxes, levies and fees that have been hindering business prosperity and investment.
"These measures are aimed at reducing time and costs in securing licenses and other permits to carry business in the country especially for small sized entrepreneurs in the country," he said.
Debating the budget, Solwa lawmaker Ahmed Salim commended Prof Mkumbo, but advised him that endorsement of multiple policies wasn't the right road to success, instead he should implement the blueprint.
"The Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) should execute its responsibilities and leave other institutions to remain supportive in creating a conducive investment climate," he said.
Special Seats MP Subira Mgalu (CCM) said TRA and the National Environment Management Council (Nemc) should play their roles in improving the country's business climate.
She observed that the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) 2019/20 report says TRA spent 182 to 365 days to approve or reject investors' applications for tax incentives contrary to the Tanzania Investment Act of 1997 which instructed that such responses should be given within 14 days.
"Also, the law demands that Nemc should process and verify investor applications not later than 95 days instead of the present 133 to 200 days, she said, adding that according to the CAG, only 5,016 certificates were issued by Nemc during the year of review from 13,000 received applications.
Geita Rural lawmaker Joseph Musukuma said cooking oil processing firms including the Mopro Factories located in Morogoro depended on availability of sunflower as raw material.
However, he said the government has been closing factories that suspended production due to lack of raw materials, suggesting that an emphasis should be given in mobilizing increased production of sunflowers.
"There is nowhere they are going to get the raw materials. The sin of robbing other people's properties shouldn't fall on your hands, Mr Minister," he warned.
The vocal politician said after opening the earlier seized investors' bank accounts, the government should give them a grace period of six to one year in order to enable them to re-establish financially.
ZIMBABWE will save over US$300 million following the move by the Government to suspend maize imports on the back of a bumper harvest the country has achieved this year.
Owing to successive droughts in recent years, Zimbabwe has been importing an average of 100 000 tonnes of maize per month from the region and as far as South America.
The Government lifted the ban on private grain sales in October 2019 and granted the nod to individuals and corporates with free funds to import quantities of their choice to complement Treasury's efforts in ensuring adequate national grain reserves.
Zimbabwe requires about 1,8 million tonnes of maize annually and last year, because of poor rains received in the 2019 summer cropping season, only produced 907 628 tonnes.
According to the Second Round of Crop and Livestock Assessment Report for 2021 released recently, the estimated maize production stands at 2 717 171 tonnes, which is 199 percent of last year's output.
In an interview, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya confirmed the suspension of grain imports saying the bumper harvest meant the country would now save foreign currency and channel these resources to the productive sectors.
"We are now able to save US$300 million from the 100 000 tonnes of maize that we have been importing monthly," he said.
"Therefore, what this means is that we now have to produce more as our productive sectors of the economy such as the manufacturing and agriculture will receive more foreign currency allocation through the auction system."
The monetary authorities introduced the weekly Foreign Currency Auction Trading System last year in June, which has been highly successful in terms of its objectives to improve forex allocation to the productive sectors as well as stabilizing the exchange rate.
At last week's auction, a total of US$41,6 million was allotted to the productive sectors of the economy. Already, the Treasury has set aside ZWL$60 billion to enable the GMB to procure maize from farmers this marketing season and an initial ZWL$5 billion that is required in the first week of the season has been disbursed.
"This ZWL$60 billion required to pay the farmers is not going to be paid at once but over four to five months period of the entire selling season," said Dr Mangudya.
"We sell the maize to the millers, and the millers also pay the money to the Government or GMB and, therefore, money circulates."
He said the Apex bank was not going to print more money to finance maize purchases as money will be circulating.
"What the millers have done (mobilizing $20 billion under a pre-payment arrangement with the Government to support maize procurement by GMB) is also commendable," he said.
"They have to buy maize from GMB so that GMB is also able to use that money to pay the farmers who are delivering to GMB."
During a Press conference in Bulawayo last week, the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chairman, Mr Tafadzwa Musarara, said millers have mobilised $20 billion under a pre-payment arrangement with the Government to support maize procurement by the GMB from farmers this selling season.
The resource from GMAZ under a pre-payment initiative is part of the $60 billion the Government has earmarked for grain procurement by the marketing board.
Mr Musarara said they have been informed that maize import permits have already stopped and all permits subsisting were expiring automatically on May 31.
"So, first of June there won't be maize or maize meal imports into the country. They have been given a grace period just in case others would have paid and goods are in transit but the Government has already stopped issuing new permits," he said.
"All import permits that were issued in the month of April are automatically expiring May 31, so we support the Government on that side."
From June going forward, Mr Musarara said they hope the country would have more local maize inflows at GMB as moisture content starts to reduce to less than 13 percent and also mobile depots would have been put in place.
"On the price of a mealie-meal l think in June or July the retail price of a mealie meal will start going down.
"It's just a normal standard economic practice that when supply is high, prices come down, some households especially in the urban areas have got maize so the demand for mealie-meal is going to be depressed," he said.
GMAZ has also welcomed the new producer price of $32 000 per tonne, which the GMB was buying the maize at.
"If you convert it by either official or black-market exchange rate, the price there will come up to US$360 per tonne (official rate) and at black market rate over US$300 per tonne, making our farmers receive the highest price ever and not only in the region or in Africa, but in the world," said Mr Musarara.
Over 60 000 tonnes of maize have been delivered to GMB since the start of the 2021 marketing season on April 1.
The selling season has opened with nearly 1 400 buying points established countrywide, and authorities are working on setting up an additional 400 selling points as the season progresses.
All 84 GMB depots have begun operating daily, including on weekends to facilitate uninterrupted grain deliveries with supplies expected to start picking up next month.
Source: The Herald.
Zimbabwe's pork industry has fallen on hard times, with producers shutting down after facing viability challenges, a new report has revealed.
Official statistics released by the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (Lmac) last week illustrate the depth of the crisis at hand, with cumulative pig slaughters falling by 5% in 2020 to 183 888 after producers confronted obstacles ranging from inferior breeds to lack of capital and high feed and drug costs.
The report said monthly pig slaughters fell to 15 324 last year, compared to 16 152 in 2019.
"Dislocations in the supply of raw materials, along with the rising cost of stockfeed and lack of accessibility, have been compounded by reduced spending of consumers," said the report, which covered the fourth quarter of 2020.
"A costing model developed by the Pig Industry Board, in December 2020 (showed) a kilogramme of pork cost US$2,55 to produce and, as a result, some producers are facing viability challenges and are either downscaling or closing operations."
About 80% of pig producers are small-scale farmers, a section of the economy that has been struggling to access capital.
The report said production was concentrated in Mashonaland West and Harare provinces.
Pig producer and wholesale prices for the year to December 2020 rose by 600% and 570%, respectively.
In 2019, producer and wholesale prices had risen by 648% and 762%, respectively.
Wholesale prices, when compared to producer prices, carried margins varying between 15-51%, reflecting an improvement in profit for wholesalers that ranged between 13-40% in 2019.
"However, using the parallel market rate, pork producer and wholesale prices declined from January through to May 2020 before recovering over the rest of the year," it said.
Producer prices for 2020 ranged between US$0,95 and US$2,43 per kg while wholesale prices traded between US$1,49 and US$3,09/kg.
Lmac said the good rains received during the last quarter of 2020 brought hope for the domestic economy and offered the best economic stimulus package to lift the pig sector out of the deep recession experienced over the last two years.
The organization said disease outbreaks, mainly African swine fever (ASF), foot-and-mouth disease and anthrax, were reported at the beginning of the year but then subsided during the year.
Regionally, South Africa experienced disease outbreaks that resulted in import embargoes and caused production glitches, largely in the commercial pig sector.
Globally, the spread of ASF continued to have an adverse effect on pig populations in Asia and Eastern Europe and production in China was seriously affected.
China, the European Union, the United States, Brazil and Russia are the biggest producers of pork and cumulatively supplying 86% of total production.
In Africa, Nigeria and South Africa are the key pork producing countries.
Source: The Zimbabwe Standard.
Maputo — Maputo 13 May (AIM) - The Mozambican government has guaranteed that it is carefully following the entire process of the withdrawal from the country of the Brazilian mining giant, Vale.
Vale says it intends to sell off its coal mining operations in the western province of Tete. In preparation for this, Vale reached an agreement in April with its main partner, the Japanese company Mitsui, on the transfer of interests, from the Japanese company to the Brazilian miner, which in turn will sell the entire coal extraction and export project to a new entity.
The transaction with Mitsui was made for the symbolic price of one dollar, but all associated expenses and charges - including an outstanding balance of 2.5 billion dollars - pass to Vale.
Vale announced in January that following the acquisition of Mitsui's stakes and, consequently, following the simplification of the business and asset management, it will begin the process of divestment of its stake in the coal business.
This, it said, will be guided by the preservation of the operational continuity of the Moatize open cast coal mine and the railway line from Moatize through southern Malawi to the northern port of Nacala-a-Velha, through the search for a third party interested in these assets.
Vale employs around 8,000 people, close to 3,000 direct workers and the remainder sub-contracted. Before selling off its assets, Vale is making investments which it hopes will help it resume production, reaching 15 million tonnes of coal in 2021 - after 5.1 million tonnes in 2020.
The Mozambican Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Max Tonela, on leaving a round-table on Thursday between Mozambique and the European Union, which shared experiences on questions of regional economic integration, said the government wanted to ensure that there is no break in continuity in coal operations.
"The government has been following this process to ensure that there is no risk to the continuity of coal mining operations in Moatize, or of the Nacala-a-Velha rail corridor", he said.
The negotiations between Vale and Mitsui on transferring the Japanese interests to Vale were now reaching their conclusion, explained Tonela. This would allow Vale to take 100 per cent of the mine and of the railway. "This step should be over in the next few weeks", he said.
Vale has hired some investment banks to advise the company in identifying potential buyers with the technical and financial competence to replace Vale at the head of the two projects.
Asked whether Mozambique will benefit from capital gains tax on Vale's sale of the mine and railway, Tonela said that was a question for the Mozambican Tax Authority (AT). But he thought the possibility of a capital gains tax windfall was remote, since the Moatize mine has fallen sharply in value, due to the decline of coal prices on the world market.
Vale has been operating the mine for the past decade, usually at a heavy loss. Only in two years, 2017 and 2018, did the mine run at a profit.
High returns value expected in Cannabis production can be greatly affected if proper seed is not used in production of the crop, an expert have warned.
Multinational Cannabis Ikaros Africa official Chauncy Mopho Jere in an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times says the Smart CBD Seeds Choice for growing Medical Cannabis in Malawi is so important for improved returns.
However, Jere said there is no need to panic as there is a solution on the same.
"If you are growing medical cannabis in Malawi, buying high-CBD seeds from Ikaros Africa is the smart and easy choice.
"In fact, if you want to legally grow a high-value medicinal cannabis product, it's the only choice."
Jere has cited three choices on why it is important to buy good seeds.
He said buying the wrong seeds will directly affect the quality and value of the end product and, as consequence, the value of entire business.
"Cannabis sativa or "hemp" plants contain hundreds of medicinal compounds, mostly cannabinoids and terpenes. The two most common and beneficial ones are THC and CBD.
"Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) offers great value for treating certain medical conditions like pain and chemotherapy side-effects."
Jere added: "THC is most famous for its psychoactive effect. In other words, THC gets you "high" - like local "chamba" does," he said.
Jere said CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn't cause a person to get "high".
"In fact, in the right ratio, it can limit or even prevent the psychoactivity caused by THC. CBD also has outstanding medical potential, more than any other cannabis compound. It has even been called the miracle molecule."
He said CBD seed or cannabidiol, to give it its scientific name, is world-famous for being a natural alternative to many conventional drugs and that it has shown potential to combat conditions like epilepsy, inflammation, anxiety, cancer, pain, depression, arthritis, diabetes, viruses and the list goes on.
Jere said: "High-CBD seed brings High Profitability. For cannabis growers, here's the secret: not all hemp seeds are equal. In Malawian law, hemp plants must have less than 1% THC, but the CBD limit is not specified.
"Low-CBD plants, commonly referred to as "industrial hemp," are usually grown for purposes like making textiles, protein powders and animal feed."
If your goal is to make effective medicine, you must buy high-CBD and not low-CBD seeds. Ikaros Africa sells high-CBD seeds from award-winning, international breeders."
Jere has since encouraged Cannabis farmers to go for Quality seeds since its the only secret for quality and improved production.
Cannabis, generally is prohibited for recreational use, but remains a popular drug and is produced for domestic use in Malawi and international export.
Malawi, through Cannabis Regulatory Authority recently announced that it is now ready to start commercial production and processing of cannabis for medicinal and industrial use.
Malawi's parliament passed a bill in February that makes it legal to cultivate and process cannabis for medicines and hemp fiber used in industry, but stops short of decriminalizing recreational use.
A growing number of countries around the world are either legalizing or relaxing laws on cannabis as attitudes towards the drug change.
They include several in southern Africa, including Zambia, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara says the cereal processing group has successfully pleaded with government to ban maize imports and related products in a move tailored to ring-fence this year's good harvest.
Addressing journalists in Bulawayo Thursday, Musarara said the move was also meant to ensure the local market was protected for the benefit of local millers.
"In order to safeguard everything, we then agreed with government that they are going to ban the importation of maize into the country.
"Importation of maize meal and any other maize processed products is going to be banned.
"This is meant to ring-fence our harvest and make sure that the market is protected for the local."
Musarara said his association was also working with government to stop side marketing in what should see farmers supply the staple to government through the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
Under the arrangement, millers will buy from GMB while contracted farmers will be able to recover on their investment.
The GMAZ boss said his association has also engaged government to ensure police roadblocks were set up on all major roads from feeder borders.
"We are aware of imports that might come from Zambia, South Africa, Mozambique and Malawi," he said.
"The whole region has received a bumper crop, so we are fully behind government in the setting up of roadblocks from the main feeder boarders and we will partly contribute financially to that programme as in funding the entire policing so that side marketing is killed.
"Side marketing for the past decade has been affecting the successful implementation of contract farming in this country.
"I am happy that government this time is coming very strongly so that our bumper harvest, our local agriculture is protected.
"Internationally, imports come to fill a deficit but in Zimbabwe, it has substituted the local products. We are really thrilled that the government is correcting this in a big way."