This was said on Thursday in Dar es Salaam by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Marketing Permanent Secretary Ms Joyce Mapunjo while opening stakeholders meeting in the leather sub-sector.
“Despite various efforts at both national and local government levels, leather products sold in foreign markets have remained of low quality thus becoming not only uncompetitive but tarnish the country’s name in international markets,” she remarked.
She said leather industry could have been the giant contributor of foreign earnings into the economy only if stakeholders were making real investments to promote the quality of the products for local and international markets.
Likewise, the sector's contribution to the economy has remained minimal. The poor animal husbandry including inadequate and poor quality feeds, inadequate parasite and disease control and branding with hot iron for identification purposes as causes for low quality of hides and skins.
Ms Mapunjo noted also that the government is losing a lot of revenues through tax evasion as some greedy business persons provide wrong export figures. “Such businesses quote low export prices and volume of the cargo to evade paying the right tax revenues to the government,” she stressed.
She said the government has intervened by forming a special team to probe the continued incidences of tax evasion and culprits will be penalised. PS Mapunjo warned those greedy businesses involved in smuggling of leather products amounting massive losses of government revenues.
Statistics show that a massive smuggling of raw hides and skins to neighbouring countries, has cost the government approximately 1bn/- annually. It was estimated that at least 50,000 hides per month are being smuggled out of the country, denying export levy of about 427m/-.
The Director of P.M.TITO'S (TWINS), a specialist in leather goods and garments, Mr Paul Michael, expressed worries on continual inflow of fake and cheap foot wear, referring them as factors that contribute to the killing of local industries.
"We are facing very stiff competitions from fake and sub-standard leather products sold at a very low price," he said. He said the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) should be more vigilant in checking fake foot wears imports in order to protect small scale local factories.