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PCCB: Graft holding Dar port down

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Corruption at the Dar es Salaam port has been cited as one of the causes of inefficiencies that are in turn hindering smooth delivery of services.

The Director General of Prevention and Combating Corruption Bureau (PCCB), Dr Edward Hosea said corruption loopholes at the port should be identified so that the vice can be tamed. But the General Secretary of the Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA), Salifius Mligo differed with Dr Hosea’s observation, saying what was being defined as corruption at the port “was mere cost of doing business.”

Mligo said importers were forced to use money to process their goods to avoid unnecessary delays.

However, the chief of the anti-corruption watchdog said the private sector was a key stakeholder in addressing the problem because they were the ones using the port for import and export of goods.

Dr Hosea was talking to reporters shortly after officiating at a meeting on port efficiency for national competitiveness in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

The meeting was jointly organized by Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) and the anti-corruption watchdog.

The PCCB chief’s statement comes hardly three months after a task force report on port operations was released. The report compiled by a stakeholders' committee mandated to find lasting solutions to the port's poor performance two years ago reveals that operations have improved during the past year by between 35 and 45 per cent.

“We can’t ignore the situation, when some imported goods or items are being stolen before they are cleared. This is clearly one of the corruption loopholes,” said Dr Hosea.

He further said that vehicle parts such as mirrors and radios were being stolen, but it was not clear how these items could be stolen if there was no corruption involved.

Dr Hosea further said that although the port is an important source of government revenue, which would in turn help in poverty reduction strategies, there were still complaints related to corruption at the port.

However reports of the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) for November last year show that taxes accrued through custom duties rose by eight per cent to reach 775.53bn/-compared to 719.36bn/- during a similar period of the preceding year.

He called on society and other stakeholders to assist his office to fight against corruption because his office cannot do it alone.

“It is not true that PCCB alone can fight corrupt practices without the support of other stakeholders,” said Dr Hosea.

He said people who are saying PCCB is not working efficiently should revisit the number of grand corruption cases the watchdog has dealt with in recent years.

PCCB has so far investigated and filed in court 18 grand corruption cases, the highest to have been filed by the institution since independence, according to Dr Hosea.

The World Bank's global Logistics Performance Index (LPI) ranks Tanzania second in East Africa, but 95th globally while Kenya takes 99th position and is third in the region on the LPI.