Fresh 24/7 operations order issued at ports

 
This follows reports that most of the dry ports in Dar es Salaam were closed while some had no officials to facilitate clearance of cargo during the Maulid and Christmas holidays, inconveniencing local agents and traders who had come as far as Zimbabwe to get their vehicles. One of them, Mr James Murambiza, spoke to the ‘Daily News’ from the Tunduma border on his way to Zimbabwe.
He had planned to leave for Zimbabwe on December 24 after he was assured by a local agent that he would get his vehicle on December 23. However, he received it on Monday, December 28.
“I had taken a couple of days off from work because of the assurance that I would get my vehicle on December 23, but on arrival in Dar es Salaam I was told that it was a public holiday when all ICDs would be closed,” Mr Murambiza said.
Mr Murambiza reported that his vehicle had been stored at Silver ICD in Vingunguti, which according to his local clearing agent, would remain closed until after the festive season.
“The government of Tanzania should never allow this to happen again because it is an inconvenience to people who travel all the way from Zimbabwe, DRC, Zambia or any other landlocked country only to be told that it is a public holiday when they arrive in the country,” Mr Murambiza appealed.
An employee of a local agent, who declined to be named fearing “reprisals’’, said she was unable to facilitate release of a client’s vehicle at Farion ICD in Chang’ombe because there were no officials from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).
“I had an assignment to help clear a client’s vehicle from the Farion ICD but was unable to do so because there were not TRA officers. This was very inconveniencing to my clients.
It was also strange because the government had issued an order for the ICDs to work 24 hours, seven days a week,” the source added. Other ICDs that were closed during the festive season include Chicasa ICD in Mbagala and Tall ICD in Chang’ombe area.
The Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Philip Mpango, has promised to look into the issue, expressing his disbelief that TRA officials were not available at some of the ICDs. “I have not received this report. Maybe because of the job changes; and maybe the acting commissioner general has received these reports.
But I am also taking it up and will follow it up. I do not want to believe that TRA does not have officers to supervise these ICDs,” he explained.
On his part, the newlyappointed Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Professor Makame Mbarawa, reiterated the government’s directive that the country’s major ports should work 24 hours, seven days a week, including public holidays, to increase efficiency and fast-tracking clearance of cargo at the Dar es Salaam Port.
The minister reiterated the directive when he made his maiden tour at the Dar es Salaam Port. He said the directive that was issued by the then Transport minister, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, earlier this year, was still intact, asking TPA Acting Director General, Engineer Alois Matei, and his top management to ensure that it was fully implemented.
Dr Mwakyembe and the then minister for Trade and Industry, the late Dr Abdallah Kigoda, had asked TRA, TBS, TPA and owners of the Inland Container Depots (ICDs) to work 24 hours a day to avoid unnecessary delays of cargo and costs to customers using TPA services.
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