Aug 08, 2008. /Lesprom.com/. Tanzania's Mufindi Paper Mills (MPM) is currently producing between 36,000 and 39,600 tonnes of paper annually, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Marketing, Dr Mary Nagu, told the National Assembly.
The minister said while presenting a statement in the House that the investor, Rai Group Limited of Kenya, has so far pumped into the firm $40 million, after paying the government $1 million.
Dr Nagu said after acquiring the factory in February 2004, the investor embarked on modernization and plans to increase production to reach 130,000 tonnes annually. She said MPM currently operates one of its two machines producing industrial grade paper.
She said rehabilitation of the second machine that would produce commercial grade paper was going on. She said production at MPM resumed in 2005 and by the end of June, a total of 76,679 tonnes of paper worth $46,120,596 was produced. The minister said the firm exported paper to Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Vietnam, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
MPM, which was formerly called Southern Paper Mills (SPM) and owned by the state started production in 1986, but failed to operate beyond 53% of its installed capacity. She said efficiency continued to fall reaching 10,000 annually between 1991 and 1995, further down to 5,189 tonnes in 1996 and dropped to 1,800 tonnes in 1997 which was a mere three per cent of the installed capacity. Dr Nagu said MPM currently employs 520 people and more would be hired after completion of rehabilitation of the second machine.