Current Trade News

THE government said yesterday that it is finalizing some amendments in the Non Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act, 2015, purposely to open up doors for foreign investors to operate efficiently and boost investment in the country.
Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said in Parliament that the government has set priorities in various areas citing investment, developing skills, agriculture, environment and Population and Housing Census among others to boost economic growth in the country.
The list also included improving petty traders' sector and providing them with identification cards, ensuring constant supply of medicines and medical equipment, universal health insurance and many other That was when the leader of 'Government Business,' in the House was winding up the parliament session, adding that on investment, the government was working hard to address all challenges, which delay investment development in the country.
Elaborating, the Premier said wooing of investors was one of major issues that were raised during the budget session, and that the government has considered all contribution from Members of Parliament on the matter.
"I would like to inform the Parliament that the government is finalizing procedures for major changes to create friendly environments for investors to set up businesses easily in the country," he pointed out.
Equally, the Prime Minister noted that the government has already met and collected opinions from various stakeholders to be discussed and accommodated in the new document.
"We have involved Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (Tucta), Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE), the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) and Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), our aim is to ensure all challenges are addresses," he said.
Mr Majaliwa told the Parliament that the government has so far, managed to identify areas that were causing challenges and thus affecting investment activities in the country.
"We have identified all challenges areas and our focus now is to clear the situation," he said.
Apart from focusing on amending the Act, the Premier said the government has started applying the Online Work Permit Application and Issuance System (OWAIS) since April 23, this year, adding that during the pilot study; at least 500 applications have been attended in the new system.
"We are continuing to receive opinions from our clients on the effectiveness of the new system for improvements, which is set for official launch in August, this year," he said.
Elaborating, he said the new system has reduced the time for processing work permit from 14 days to three days. On health sector, Mr Majaliwa said the government has continued to maintain the availability of medicines in various health facilities countrywide.
He said the availability of 312 types of essential drugs has reached 75.6 percent and that the government has provided 191bn/- for purchasing them, estimated as 95.5 per cent of the funds being allocated to them.
He said the government through the 2021/22 budget has set strong strategies that will lead to the improvement of health sector, where so far only 8,224,271 of Tanzanians (14.7 per cent) have access to health services through Health Insurance.
In doing so, the government in its capacity has ensured that more Tanzanians acquire National Insurance Fund for reliable and quality health services.
On agriculture sector, the Premier said at least 4,616 Tanzanians are beneficiaries of skilled agriculture programme in five regions of Dar es Salaam, Singida, Tabora,Arusha and Coast. Hence, he ordered the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure availability of wheat and grapes seeds as well as others and fertilizers are availed to boost agriculture growth in the country.
Moreover, the Prime Minister said the government is focusing on making improvements on petty traders' identification cards, as well as improving and protecting environment so that all sectors benefit for the mutual development of the nation.
From March 30, 2021, the Parliament among other things received President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who addressed them especially in April 22, 2021. In her speech, the Head of State revealed her major focus, which included boosting the investment sector to raise economic growth in the next five years.
Moreover, the Parliament has passed the Financial Bill 2021, the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act, 2021.The Bill proposed amendment of three laws, namely the Interpretation of Laws Act, Cap.1, the Land Disputes Courts Act, Cap. 216 and the Magistrates' Courts Act, Cap. 11.
Also the Bill of amendments for the Road Traffic Bill 2021 was read in the House for the first time, as well as the house passing the third five year national development plan.
The country's power suppliers, Malawi Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has in the last 12 months lost an estimated K1 billion through vandalism of its property.
Escom Public Relations Manager, Innocent Chitosi has revealed that vandalism of the organisation's property, such as transformers, meters, towers and cables cost the utility company an estimated K1 billion from June 2020 to date.
Chitosi deplored such behaviour saying it derails the organisation to provide quality service delivery to the clientele.
"We appeal to all Malawians that should they see any one vandalising Escom's property they must report them to the police," said Chitosi.
Meanwhile, a man is battling for his life in Blantyre due to burn injuries he suffered while allegedly tampering with an Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) powerline tower in Machinjiri Township in the early hours of Wednesday.
Chitosi, said Chileka Police officers found Chrispin Kadzibwa, who is from Area 18 in Machinjiri, barely conscious underneath the tower.
"Police found him lying on his back. There was a hacksaw next to him. Kadzibwa had serious burn wounds all over his body.
"The police took him to Lunzu Clinic where he was in turn, referred him to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital," Chitosi said.
He urged members of the public to desist from tampering with Escom property and report those found doing such malpractices, saying such criminal acts affect electricity supply.
Last week, Police in Dedza District arrested four people for allegedly tampering with an Escom electricity meter box at Magomero Trading Centre, Traditional Authority Chilikumwendo, on June 22 2021, in the district.
The offences carry a custodial sentence.
According Chitosi, Escom has embarked on an anti-vandalism campaign in the Southern Region to sensitise members of the public to the dangers of tampering with the Corporation's property.
"We appeal to the general public to stay away from tampering or stealing ESCOM's electrical property, it is dangerous and life-threatening. The wages of stealing electrical property is death," warned Chitosi.
The Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA) has called for the creation of structured markets for cannabis growers in the country.
CRA board chairperson Boniface Kadzamira made the call in Lilongwe on Monday during Cannabis Licence-holder's Engagement meeting for the Central Region growers.
He said growing of medicinal and industrial hemp would be most effective if there are structured markets in place so that growers are able to sell their products.
Kadzamira pointed out that once growers have access to structured markets that lead to steady markets of their products, the industry stands a chance to grow.
"We need to find our own markets within or outside the country. We need to work with the government to develop such markets instead of depending on the promises by investors willing to buy our products. If we will not have structured markets, it will be no work done," he added.
The CRA board chairperson said universities and research institutes should start working on the local variety to see how effective it could be in the country since it would be in the same family of medicinal hemp.
Kadzamira said local varieties have proven to be marketable and fetch more money in European and overseas markets.
He said the country would have cannabis products in the next six months since the growers are going to plant in the coming rainy season.
"We are growing foreign varieties of cannabis but we need to move and develop our own varieties which should be accessible to all growers. We have huge potential with our own varieties which are marketable," Kadzamira said.
Acting Director General for CRA, Ketulo Salipira, said before awarding a licence to a cooperative, the latter needs to develop a clear business plan on how they would conduct their business.
He added that the cooperative leadership needs to be cleared by Police to ensure that they have no criminal record regarding dangerous drugs before.
A member of Monkey Bay Cooperative, Beatrice Mwale, said cannabis growing has provided an opportunity for small holders to work in groups.
She said the crop looks promising to the growers and that investors are keen to buy the products for sale on the local and international markets.
"We stand a very good chance of improving our economic status as farmers if we can handle it well to our advantage by using the available openings and opportunities at stake," Mwale added.
Source: Nyasatimes
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.