Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Minister Charles Tizeba has suspended the Cashewnut Industry Trust Development Fund (CIDTF) effective yesterday over allegations of mismanagement and sabotage of the cash crop’s development.
Dr Tizeba told reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the suspension was an outcome of extensive consultations amid growing concerns on the fund’s performance.
“The fund’s inefficiency has subjected the government and the entire cashewnut sector to substantial losses … it has also been defying government’s directives and regulations on various issues.
Effective today, the Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT) assumes all the functions of the fund,” said Dr Tizeba, accusing CIDTF of failure to execute government directives on fixed deposits as per President John Magufuli’s directive to all public entities to transfer their accounts to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT).
“We are informed that the fund has 5bn/- matured fixed deposit in one of the commercial banks … yet, it defied the government’s directive to transfer the money to BoT,” fumed the minister. He said for a long time now, CIDTF has been mismanaging public funds, refusing even to submit its financial statements for audit, despite several demand notes.Dr Tizeba, therefore, directed the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), upon submission of funds collected as export levy, to communicate with CBT Director General on the way forward.
“CIDTF management is hereby ordered not to conduct any transaction, pending further directives on their fate … I direct CBT to take over the roles of the fund, including pressing orders for farm inputs and pesticides for the next season, with immediate effects,” he stressed.
“We have proof of the fund engaging itself in unlawful acts to sabotage the cashewnut growers, especially during the farm input procurement … many operations of the fund like purchase of pesticides, sulfur, were irresponsibly handled,” he said.
Dr Tizeba said that CIDTF at times failed to claim and run cases of loss upon receiving incomplete orders of procured farm inputs and pesticides, subjecting the government to losses related to losing court case.
He said the price of the cash crop has increased from 2,900/- last year to 4,000/- this year. Currently, the crop trades at 3,700/- per kilogramme, with the minister citing increased supply by other countries like Thailand and West Africa as the reason behind a slight drop in price.
At least, 118 companies were registered to purchase cashewnuts, but with time few companies have remained in the market, leading to the slight price drop.
Credit: All Africa