THE Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA) has asked the government to extend the license period to three years instead of one, citing it as a necessary condition for them to grab other investment opportunities.
This was said by the President of TAFFA, Edward Urio at an Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday.
“We are asking for the consent of the Commissioner for Customs, because the law allows him to issue three years licenses as long as the conditions and criteria are met,” said Mr Urio adding that the East Africa Custom Management Act allows the commissioner to do so.
Mr Urio said currently the country is implementing huge projects and others are still in pipeline and thus with three years licence period, TAFFA members can take an active part in the project to benefit the economy.
“Major projects are still coming to the country of which 60 per cent of the budget for those projects is in logistics,” said Urio, emphasizing, with one year licences period, TAFFA members may miss the tender for lack of funds.
He said right now commercial lenders hesitate to provide loans to the owners of the companies because they of having a one-year business license.
He further added that the TASAC Act of 2016 which had good intentions by then ….but deprived customs companies of 45 per cent of the work they were doing, so they were asking for change so that they can be more productive.
For example, he said it was previously stated that the law would apply to no more than five live animal products that were in the public interest but it has now reached TASAC to take all live animals including chickens, goats and cattle sent to Comoro. However, he thanked the government for reaching an agreement with the Ministry of Transport to see how stakeholders and the government will work together with the government.
The Sprint Cargo Limited Director, Robert Mushi, said the existence of the TASAC law had robbed their confidence as it is now doing everything as a clearing and forwarding agent.
“Initially, TASAC was regulating clearing and forwarding procedures as well as transportation but now when he turns out to be a clearing and forwarding trader already in the market you lose confidence because you can’t share your business with your competitor because he does what you do.
What I am doing is that our regulator is going to defend as it is or is taking what we are talking about for his own benefit,” said Mushi adding sometimes you feel like giving data to a competitor but you have no way you have to give it because he is your boss.
However, Mushi advised the government to either remain as the government and TASAC enter into business otherwise justice will not be done.
He said they could use their information to get jobs from their clients. On her part Ikumo Clearing and Logistics, Ikupa Njela said within two years their business has collapsed due to the existence of Covid 19 along with their regulator to do similar business.
“Things have been different since most of the work that was being done by these companies has fallen into the hands of TASAC,” said Njela.
She said they now believe the business could be good after states open up opportunities and remove lockdown so cargo could begin to come to the port.
For his part, the President of Zanzibar Freight Forwarder Bureau (ZFB), Omar Hussein Mussa said the business situation in Zanzibar was going well, except for the challenge of covid19 which is global.