USHETU Member of Parliament (MP) Elias Kwandikwa yesterday proposed the reinforcement of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) office to enable generation of credible data for the country’s decision making.
“Accurate and comprehensive data are inevitable in serious and sensitive decision making. The statistics office should be empowered in terms of human and financial resources to appropriately execute its duties,” said the legislator while debating the 2017/18 national budget proposals.
He said most of the data that NBS releases were inadequate, merely giving average figures, without measuring other critical parameters like dispersion levels.
“We have to reduce the use of averages because they deny us a lot of important information,” he said, citing the per capita income of about 2m/- as unrealistic figure, hardly reflecting the reality on the ground.
The MP on CCM ticket also argued for realistic and fair taxation, opposing the blanket charges on businesses or flat rate property taxes on unvalued buildings.
“It is not fair to charge similar amount on all houses irrespective of their values and uses,” said Mr Kwandikwa, noting that there are higher valued bungalows than storey buildings. In his national budget estimates unveiled here last Thursday, Finance and Planning Minister, Dr Philip Mpango, proposes to charge 10,000/- and 50,000/- property taxes on non-storey and storey buildings, respectively.
Peter Serukamba (Kigoma North - CCM) asked the government to pay all material and service suppliers whom it owes colossal amount of money to easy illiquidity in the market. He also proposed the establishment of the gold auction centre to boost gold trade and increase government revenues.
“Let us have the gold trading centre where traders will be selling their minerals tax free and tax only buyers …we will attract gold from even the neighbouring countries,” he argued. Joseph Kasheku (Geita Rural - CCM) spoke strongly against the proposed fee on small scale miners, saying the charge will only encourage mineral smuggling.
“If you insist on charging small miners, surely I tell you, you will get nothing because we know how we carry gold,” he said, cautioning that in the neighbouring countries, mineral sales are tax free.
He asked President John Magufuli to form another probe team to investigate the operations of Geita Gold Mine, which he accused of exploitation, claiming that in two years, the mining firm has paid only three million US dollars (over 6bn/-) as levies to the local government authorities. “After witnessing President Magufuli’s fire, they yesterday (Wednesday) called us for a meeting promising to supply us water, we have refused because we want what is rightfully ours …why water now,” the lawmaker told the House.
Pauline Gekul (Babati Urban - Chadema) decried what she termed the central government’s robbery of all the revenue sources in the local government authorities, saying the move will cripple the performance of the establishments.
“You are just killing the local governments, just how are they going to operate without resources …unless you want to get rid of these institutions,” Ms Gekul charged emotionally.