Tanzanian leather industries blame the government for not supporting the development of leather industry, despite abundant exports of raw materials.
The leather goods producers are, as of now, requesting the government to support the industry at least by providing financial guarantee to businesses, so that they can invest in leather firms, a sub-segment that needs higher investment capital.
However, leather businessmen who were interviewed last week at the 34th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF), which was organized from June 28 – July 10, were dejected at the manner in which the government was handling the leather industry.
A few years ago, Tanzania livestock census estimated that, there existed almost 20 million animals, but practically all the raw materials were being exported. Therefore, Tanzania was not permitted to avail of the profit of value-adding by processing and exporting finished leather goods.
Executive Director and proprietor of a leather goods manufacturing firm said that, despite producing leather goods since 1992, his firm was subjected to micro level as the government failed to assure him any bank loans from financial institutions.
This firm had also bagged once a huge order for leather goods export from China and Far East, but they failed to deliver the goods, despite involving other leather goods producers.
Firms such as one mentioned above and others are requesting the government to limit the imports of second-hand leather goods and cheap plastic duplicates of leather goods from China, so that Tanzania's lather industry can grow.
This is because cheap leather imports disturb the cost and prices, thereby destroying the demand for domestically crafted leather goods.
Leather industry owners want the government to direct schools to buy shoes from domestic industries for pupils, the police and defense forces, who mass orders could help reduce prices and thereby, improve the industry's production.
In addition, tanneries too need expensive capital investments, which can only be attained over bank loans, but the government has failed to support loan guarantees. Tanzania has still not woken up in terms of supporting its leather industries, as compared to other nations like Kenya, South Africa, India and Ethiopia.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India