JPM: Expedite stalled large sugar investment

18Apr 2019
The Guardian Reporter
DAR ES SALAAM
The Guardian
JPM: Expedite stalled large sugar investment

PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday put on notice the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development as well as that of Industry and Trade for bureaucracy that impedes new investments.

President John Magufuli talks with Mauritius Ambassador to Tanzania Jean Pierre Jhumun (L) after their conversation held at State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Right is Deputy Permanent Secretary Ministry of Industries and Trade Dr Edwin Mhede (R ) and Jon Chiligati who accompanied with Ambassador Jean Pierre Jhumun. Photo: State House

This follows reports that a Mauritius company seeking to set up a sugarcane plantation as well as a sugar factory has been kept waiting since 2017 for no clear reasons.

The Directorate of Presidential Communications said in a statement yesterday that the Head of State gave the two ministries one week to process regulatory requirements for the firm, the Sugar Investment Trust (SIT).

As the largest shareholder based public company in Mauritius, SIT Group has grown into a rare model of economic empowerment with more than 55,000 shareholders comprising mainly of small cane planters, employees and pensioners of the sugar industry.

The directive to act swiftly came after the President’s meeting with the firm’s board chairman Gansam Boodram and Mauritius Ambassador Jean-Pierre Jhumun at the State House in Dar es Salaam.

During the conversation, Boodram told the President that his company had proposed to set up a 25,000 acre sugarcane plantation and factory to produce 125,000 tonnes of sugar per year but has been a victim of bureaucracy since 2017, the statement said.

The investment projected to offer 3,000 direct jobs as well as 5,000 temporary ones but the deal did not move the ministries and the TIC to swing into action in time.

What was the problem, then? Boodram told President Magufuli that the project had to wait for relevant authorities to give it the green light and allocate land that is suitable for sugar farming anywhere in the country.

“President Magufuli has directed urgent feasibility be carried out along the Rufiji valley in Coast region, Mkulazi farm in Morogoro region as well as Kibondo in Kigoma region. The land be handed to the company so that they start implementing the project as we need to plug the sugar deficit of more than 100,000 tonnes that we import annually,” the statement noted.

Dr Magufuli also directed the Deputy Permanent Secretary for Industry and Trade, Dr Edward Mhede to follow up on deep sea fishing cooperation protocol between Tanzania and Mauritius.

It has not been signed since 2017 despite investors from the Indian Ocean island nation expressing interest in investing in fishing and fish processing in Tanzania, the president intoned.

Ambassador Jhumun told President Magufuli to rest assured that investment in the sugar plantation and factory was bent to succeed given the company’s experience in the sector, the statement added.