By ZBC Reporter
THE new Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board Chief Executive Officer, Mr Meanwell Gudu has pledged to deal with foreign currency leakages in the production and marketing of the golden leaf as the country is being prejudiced huge sums in forex.
Although the country’s tobacco industry rakes in billions of dollars in foreign currency, it is the foreign funders of tobacco production who seem to be getting the largest chunk of the revenue.
This has come with serious challenges to the sector and the recently appointed Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board -TIMB boss has promised to change the funding dynamics when it comes to tobacco farming.
You have a situation whereby merchants are the ones who use foreign money to finance tobacco production and in the end, the economy does not benefit in full because export proceeds will be used to repay those loans. We are excited by the coming in of the Land Bank which we are hopeful will increase local funding of tobacco to 70 per cent, he said.
Players in the Industry are clamouring for the transformation of the sector including reviving the auction system and rooting out illegal tobacco buyers.
The TIMB has been instrumental in the increase in tobacco coming through our floors because the illegal tobacco buyers were suffocating our industry, added Gudu.
As of this Thursday, over 44 million kilogrammes of tobacco valued at 116 million United States dollars was sold in a season expected to shatter past records.