Tanzania retracts its sugar importation ban ahead of Ramadan celebration

Tanzania retracts its sugar importation ban in a bid to end the sugar scarcity ahead of the Ramadan celebration.

According to Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, the government aims at stabilising the commodity’s price and it is working towards reducing the price of sugar in the country, which has been elusive in the East African nation. The reason for lifting the ban according to Majaliwa is aimed at ensuring sugar accessibility throughout the country, given that there will be a high demand of sugar in the near future.

Last month, while looking promote local productions and ensure better operations, Tanzanian President John Magufuli banned the importation of sugar. The President noted that the ban was to encourage more businesses in the country and enhance local production by individual companies because he believed sugar plants in the country had what it takes to sustain the demand of the market by itself.

With the lifting of the ban, however, and the re-issuance of sugar imports permits, it appears the government has lost faith in its local industries.

Previously, only valid imported sugar gets clearance from Magufuli’s office or that of the Prime Minister but “right now, the Ministry of Agriculture through the Sugar Board of Tanzania (SBT) are working closely to ensure importations are done in a proper manner,” Majaliwa was quoted to have said on Friday while assuring Tanzanian’s that there will be no sugar scarcity in the country.

In January, the East African country was plagued by a deepening sugar crisis that had the country’s Trade and Environment Committee issue a directive to the government to fast-track clearance of stalled industrial sugar at the Dar es Salaam Port, to avert the looming crisis of shutting down factories.

Currently, sugar demand in the East African country stands at 450,000 tonnes per year with local production annual production estimated at about 320,000 metric tonnes against the domestic consumption of about 420,000 metric tonnes, leaving a deficit of about 100,000 tonnes a year to be made up by imports.