Freight agents brace for 10,000 clearing jobs loss

15Jun 2019
Felister Peter
The Guardian
Freight agents brace for 10,000 clearing jobs loss

MORE than 10,000 people will lose their jobs if the government’s proposed procedure to allow individuals to clear their goods at the Dar es Salaam port without using agents will be endorsed, stakeholders say.

Presenting the 2019/2020 budget estimates to the National Assembly on Thursday, Finance and Planning Minister Dr Philip Mpango said that starting next month people will be allowed to clear their good at the port without the need to assign the work to clearing and forwarding agents.

 The Secretary General of the Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA) Tony Swai said in an interview that the decision is likely to make a good number of people employed in the profession jobless.

“I don’t think this will be possible. The parliamentary budget committee made a false step because we are legally recognized and operate in accordance with the law,” said Swai.

He said the East African Community (EAC) Customs Management Act of 2009 states clearly on the agents’ presence and their role in the industry. Their authorization and roles are stated in Section 145 (1), (2) and Section 146.

Section 145 (1) reads: “The Commissioner may license persons to act as agents for transacting business relating to the declaration or clearance of any goods or baggage other than accompanied non-manifested personal baggage of a person travelling by air, land or sea”.

While Section 145 (2) reads—“The Commissioner shall not license any person to act as agent under this Act unless the Commissioner is satisfied that, that person has the capability, office equipment, a registered office and documents to effectively transact business in accordance with the provisions of this Act and any other conditions as may be prescribed by regulations”.

In his remarks during the budget presentation, the minister said that cargo in transit will not be subject to the proposed procedure, where the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) will prepare guidelines and simple procedures for individuals to understand and facilitate smooth clearing of their cargoes.

On Thursday, the government presented in the National Assembly the 2019/2020 budget estimates amounting to 33.1trn/-, out of which 20.86trn/- is intended for recurrent expenditure, being 63.0 percent of the total budget.

Development expenditure is expected to take up 37.0 percent of total budget funds, of which 9.74trnn/- is from internal sources and 2.51trn/- from external sources.

The minister noted that in order to speed up implementation of infrastructure projects, the government plans to borrow 2.32trn/- from external non-concessional loan sources.

Development partners are expected to contribute 2.78 trillion/-, around eight percent of the total budget.

In the 2019/2020 financial year the government has set aside funds for local government elections in 2019 and preparations for next year’s general elections , the minister specified.