TRA decries exemptions


Former Zanzibar Chief Minister Shamsi Vuai Nahodha (right) hands over a trophy of the best taxpayer to Mr Michael Brown of Tanzania Distilleries Limited in Dar es Salaam yesterday
Former Zanzibar Chief Minister Shamsi Vuai Nahodha (right) hands over a trophy of the best taxpayer to Mr Michael Brown of Tanzania Distilleries Limited in Dar es Salaam yesterday    

Dar es Salaam. Chairman of the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Board, Mr Benard Mchomvu, has said tax exemptions are still stumbling block for efficient tax collection in the country.

He said, despite the shown intent and good words from the leaders to reduce tax relief in the country the situation was still bad.

“By October this year, the amount this country is losing to exemptions jumped to Sh100 billion monthly… this isn’t good,” he said.

Giving a statement before a gathering of the taxman’s stakeholders to mark the 8th Tax Payer Day yesterday, Mr Mchomvu said, TRA was only concerned with tax exemptions in commercial goods.

“We don’t have any problem with exemptions granted to development projects, religious institutions, NGOs, MPs and some government officials,” he said.

He said, it’s certain that with the ongoing trend, the exemptions would certainly keep on hurting TRA and the country. However, he said, the government could change the situation.

In June, the minister for Finance Ms Saada Mkuya, when presenting the country’s budget, said that the government had decided to reduce tax exemptions in a bid to tap in more revenues.

TRA commissioner general Rished Bade told the gathering that the culture of paying tax is still a problem for many Tanzanians and that makes it difficult to improve the tax collection base.

“It is a major challenge yes but we doing our best to educate people on importance of paying tax and we believe the situation will improve,” he said.

For his part the guest of honour, former Chief Minister of Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar Mr Shamsi Vuai Nahodha said that it people having not a culture of not paying tax should be an excuse of not expanding the revenue width.

“What we need is strong mechanism to make sure all those who are supposed to pay tax are doing so. Our problem in Tanzania and many other African countries is that we do hesitate in taking stern actions against those who evade from paying tax,”

He said it is not a good thing to continue on depending from developed countries to support our budget while those countries are very strict and systematic in collecting tax from their people.