Dodoma — THE government was yesterday asked to rescue the Tanzania Fertiliser Company (TFC) from collapse due to heavy debts.
The Parliamentary Public Investment Committee (PIC) went on to direct the Ministries of Agriculture and Industries, Trade and Investment to jointly work on the serious challenges that are impeding the operations of the fertiliser firm.
PIC Chairman Raphael Chegeni, briefing reporters after a committee meeting with agriculture, industries and finance ministries here, said the committee has directed the government to work out modalities that will open doors to potential partners to inject capital in TFC.
“The goal should be to domestically produce fertilisers and other agricultural inputs,” said Mr Chegeni, adding that the committee had issued a 14-day ultimatum to the government to present a detailed strategy on TFC revival.
He described it as unfortunate to see at times the army recalled to intervene in the distribution of fertilisers in the country, in the presence of TFC whose key responsibility is to import, distribute and sell fertilisers and other inputs.
The fertiliser firm is embroiled in heavy debts amounting to 22bn/-, which the committee has asked the government to repay to allow the company a new start.
The committee has as well directed the firm’s relocation from the industries to agriculture ministry to improve efficiency.
“Currently, TFC is under the Ministry of Industries although it performs mostly duties related to the agriculture…the committee has ordered immediate shift to the relevant portfolio,” said the PIC Chairman.
The committee further ordered the management audit of the company to gauge its managerial capacity to serve wananchi, especially peasants in rural areas.
“We have observed that TFC’s operational costs are extremely high, the committee has directed the management to work out concrete strategies to reduce operational expenses,” he said.
He commended the bulk fertiliser procurement system, which he said if well utilised will help in addressing the problem of ad-hoc supply of the agricultural inputs in the country.
“Fertilisers should be readily available to farmers all the time,” said Mr Chegeni, arguing that the government spearheaded industrial economy is heavily dependent on vibrant agricultural sector, which will supply raw materials.
“In the next farming season, we must ensure timely distribution of all essential inputs, including fertilisers,” he said.
TFC was established in 1968 to among others operate the Tanga-based fertiliser factory. However, after the factory closure in 1992, the company remained with the roles of importing, distributing and selling chemical fertilisers in the country.
The public firm’s performance has, however, deteriorated over the years due to a myriad of problems, the key difficult being capital deficiency.
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Publish date : 2018-11-01 12:56:18