Authorities vow to address loopholes leading to tax evasion

ZANZIBAR: THE authorities here have vowed to leave-no-stone unturned in ensuring people pay tax as per existing laws and regulations, without evasion which leads to loss of public funds.

Unguja North Regional Commissioner Mr Ayoub Mohamed Mahmoud said this at the workshop to discuss taxation systems at local level.

“The government needs more efficiency in revenue collection and that any identified gap should be sealed, Mr Mahmoud said.

The workshop was organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) alumni- Tanzania.

Speaking on behalf of the Zanzibar Minister of State in the President’s Office (Regional Administration, Local Governance and Special Department), Mr Mahmoud said the government, in strengthening the rule of law, has come up with strategies to ensure that all sources of income are identified, promote the use of electronic payment and maintain transparency in tax collection.

“This eighth-phase Zanzibar Government has set special strategies to ensure that the sources of local government revenue are well classified, and that the workable procedure for the financial relationship between the Central Government and Local Governments is legally set,” he said.

Mr Mahmoud noted that the government had improved business and investment environment by reviewing and harmonizing fees and taxes to reduce inconveniences.

The government also identifies and registers small businesses and established Government Finance Statistics (GFS)-code, which contains detailed data on revenue, expenses, transactions in assets and liabilities, and stocks positions in assets and liabilities of general government and its subsectors.

He also said entrepreneurs and small businessmen face various challenges including numerous taxes, fines and fees.

He said the government would continue to collaborate with various institutions including civil society organizations and Development Partners in building the capacity of Local Governments to provide better services, strengthen participation, democracy and good governance.

The gathering was organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) alumni led by Ara Hitoshi, and aimed at raising awareness among citizens at the local level in paying tax.

He also said the JICA in Zanzibar has helped various things including the Clean and Safe Water Project that was being implemented by the Zanzibar Water Authorities (ZAWA).

Ms Pili Ali, one of the entrepreneurs who attended the awareness gathering, said it was an opportunity to ask the government to pay attention to small entrepreneurs by putting in place more friendly system for paying taxes and fees.

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