Dar loses 15bn/- annually on cement tax evasion

The Tanga Cement Company Limited Managing Director, Mr Erik Westerberg.
Mr Westerberg
The government suffers over 15bn/- loss annually in revenue due to smuggling and improperly taxed cement imports through Zanzibar, an industry source said in Dar es Salaam over the weekend.

The Tanga Cement Company Limited (TCCL) Managing Director, Mr Erik Westerberg, made the revelation while presenting a report at the firm’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) and urged for intervention of relevant authorities.

Mr Westerberg told TCCL shareholders that the company was doing well, but its prospects were undermined by importers of cement who evade or avoid payment of adequate tax.

“We need a level playing ground, otherwise local cement producers may suffer heavy losses or driven out of the market,” said the TCCL chief. He said an investigation by cement producers established that there was a lot of cement entering the country through Zanzibar, although construction activities in the Isles were not that much high.

Mr Westerberg described the TCCL’s performance in 2012 as superb despite various odds, including poor infrastructure, erratic power supply and fiscal challenges. He said sales volumes rose 12 per cent, compared to 2011, a growth well above that of the total Tanzanian cement market.

“This is remarkable performance considering the turbulent market environment, with a number of external factors negatively impacting our operations.

“In addition to increased competition from new manufacturers ...we experienced increasing quantities of cement being imported from countries offering their manufacturers generous export incentives,” he explained.

TCCL reported 26 per cent rise in gross profit and an operating profit was up by 34 per cent, resulting in increased net profit by 52 per cent compared to the previous year. 

TCCL is listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE), where it trades as SIMBA. The firm’s shares traded at 2,420/- on Friday.
Source: The Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam
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