Stakeholders at Dar es Salaam port are seeking Bank of Tanzania and Treasury intervention to stop attempts by Tanzania International Container Terminal Services to demand payment for its services in United States dollars effective next Monday.

Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA) President, Steven Ngatunga and Container Depots Association of Tanzania Vice Chairman, Lucas Neghesti told reporters in Dar es Salaam  that the move by TICTS was illegal and showed disrespect for the country’s sovereignty.

Who is this investor to undermine our local currency and sovereignty? A vividly disturbed Mr Ngatunga said noting the stakeholders had unanimously agreed they would not pay for TICTS services in foreign currency.

He said they had already written to the  Treasury and the Central Bank to seek for their intervention.

He said TICTS has for a long time had been exploiting local importers with impunity by forcing them to pay fees in local currency but at a rate pegged on bureau de change commercial exchange rate instead of the central bank official rates.

“We have complained against that for a long time but nothing was done and now this…., we will not allow them (TICTS) to sabotage our economy and hopefully the regulators will quickly intervene,” Ngatunga said emotionally while warning that if the Dar es Salaam port container terminal operator proceeds with introduction of US dollars demands next Monday, they will boycott the company’s terminal.

On his part Mr Neghesti said TICTS’ move was not only illegal but showed that the company was exaggerating its powers in relation to the country’s laws.

“Only the Tanzanian shilling is legal tender here,” he noted saying it was now time that the government reigned in such unilateral decisions by foreign investors.

“The company has not even consulted Sumatra as regulators on this matter which is against our laws,” he charged saying CIDAT will make sure that it stands in solidarity with other stakeholders at the country’s prime port.

In a notice posted on its website and served to port stakeholders, TICTS said it will not accept payment in the local currency starting January 27, 2014.

“Customers are encouraged to continue paying their invoices directly to our bank account No. 87-060-212922-01 maintained at Standard Chartered bank International House Branch,” the notice by TICTS management said.

Ngatunga questioned TICTS’ choice of the bank and branch where such fees should be paid and wondered whether there is something special with the choice.

“Even if it were legal, why specifically mention the bank and branch? Authorities need to safeguard this matter as a matter of urgency because it borders on undermining our sovereignty,” the TAFFA president pointed out.

TICTS charges its clients container handling fees, wharfage on behalf of Tanzania Ports Authority and storage penalty if the cargo overstays at its terminal.

The Hong Kong based company which is part of Hutchison Port Holdings took over operations at Dar port’s container terminal in a 2001 and has a lease agreement to operate the terminal for the next 11 years.
Source: Daily News, reported by Finningan Wa Simbeye from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Share on Google Plus

About Abduel Elinaza

This is a short description in the author block about the author. You edit it by entering text in the "Biographical Info" field in the user admin panel.