Cuban firms invited to invest in sugar, drugs

PRESIDENT John Magufuli has told Cuban business people to invest in the country’s sugar industry as well as medicine and diagnostic tools production.

Dr Magufuli extended the business invitation when he held talks with the Cuban Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Jorge Lopez Tormo, at the State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday, further assuring him of his government’s commitment to cooperate with Cuban investors.

According to the president, Tanzania welcomed any entrepreneur from Cuba – state, corporate and individuals - to come and invest in the two sectors, highly demanded both in Tanzania and in neighbouring countries. “Mr Ambassador, if you bring even one investor tomorrow, I will immediately offer land for sugarcane plantation.

We want to end sugar shortages in Tanzania and in neighbouring countries,” he said, pointing out that there were huge chunks suitable for sugarcane farming, including a 10,000-hectare land piece in Bagamoyo.

Tanzania had repeatedly been grappling with shortage of sugar, with the latest one being in May, which lasted for over two months. Local producers immediately rushed to apportion blame on imports of the sweeteners, pushing them into cash flow problems.

The country’s annual domestic sugar consumption is about 420,000 tonnes, while local production stands at 320,000 tonnes.

This leaves a deficit of about 100,000 tonnes a year to be made up by imports. President Magufuli said his government is also ready to offer land portions to Cuban investors interested in the production of human drugs in the country.

Mr Tormo lauded the president’s initiatives and efforts to effectively run the government, assuring Cuban government’s commitment to strengthen bilateral ties between the two states.

In another development, President Magufuli met with the Indian High Commissioner to Tanzania, Mr Sandeep Arya, to receive updates following last month’s state visit by Indian Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi.

The envoy told the president that Indian investors were still discussing with the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) regarding natural gas distribution project for domestic purposes.

“Indian officials and businessmen are also discussing with Tanzania officials in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries regarding increasing annual yield for pulse to feed India’s growing demands,” the envoy said.

On the construction of Tata vehicle manufacturing facility, Mr Arya said the process towards the project has already started and already the investor has been shown land for the undertaking at Kibaha where construction is projected to be completed next year.

Dr Magufuli expressed gratitude for the projects that will benefit both countries. He called for speedy discussions on the implementation of the projects.

“We also invited Indian businessmen ready to build up large hospital ... I have enough land for the purpose,” he told the high commissioner.

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