Friendly tax collection system pushes revenues up

Pundits predict brighter future

By DEOGRATIUS KAMAGI

POLITICAL pundits are considering President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s first two years in office as a testimony to her capacity to steer the country to greater heights in all aspects of development.

The analysts equally commended Dr Samia’s continued efforts to uplift the country through various development programmes, as well as creating a conducive environment for business and investments.

Speaking to the ‘Daily News’ separately, the pundits describe the Zanzibar-born leader as a person, who exemplifies true leadership traits, having learnt the ropes from her predecessors.

The pundits called upon Tanzanians to support the Head of State’s vision of opening up the country in all aspects as well as fueling development at individual and national level.

Chairperson of the political party’s council, Juma Ali Khatibu said President Samia’s move needs to be supported by all Tanzanians regardless of their political affiliations.

Mr Khatibu who is the Chairperson of ADA-TADEA party, also called for political parties to conduct civilised rallies and adhere to the laws of the land.

“I’m optimistic that President Samia will continue to register remarkable achievements and will always set an undeniable leadership mark,” he explained.

For her part, the Coordinator of the Counseling Unit at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Dr Bernadetha Rushahu, commented that as President Samia marks two years in office, women have been proud to have her in a high leadership role in the country.

“We are also proud of her decision to enhance democracy in the country. Despite the differences in ideologies, we were delighted to see her attending the Internation Women’s Day commemoration organised by Chadema women’s wing (BAWACHA).

This demonstrates her tenacity and political maturity over the past two years,” said Dr Rushahu, adding that Dr Samia’s second year at State House has already proved that she is an exemplary leader with combined experience in various governance cycles.

President Samia who was sworn in as Tanzania’s Sixth Head of State on March 19th, 2021 has also played a vital role in opening up the country in the international arenas as a result of the current influx of tourists and foreign investors.

Apart from her efforts on opening up the country, President Samia has also been praised for the initiatives of creating national peace, unity and consensus with commentators hailing the Head of State has setting a living legacy within a short time of her service.

Speaking at the State House in Dar es Salaam, some spiritual leaders described President Samia as an attentive, visionary and development-driven leader.

“We pray that she continues to do it the same way. We call her mother and the mother is always right regardless of what,” the Head of the Hindu Community in Tanzania, Mr Sanjay Hoza, remarked, adding; “The most exemplary thing she has done is to reach out, listen and implement things the right way. She has indeed lifted the country.”

The Bishop of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), Karagwe Diocese, Dr Benson Bagonza, commented that the list of achievements recorded by the government under President Samia is far longer than the year of her presidency.

Tanzania’s Chief Sheikh, Mufti Abubakar Zubeiry bin Ally, pointed on how the Head of State has managed to demonstrate her patriotism and brilliance within a short period of time of her presidency.

“We pray that she carries on with serving Tanzanians for the interests of the country. She has set out a new vision and direction of where the country is heading to,” the Mufti declared.

For his part, an economist-cum-banker Dr Hilderbrand Shayo   said President Samia’s integrity and tenacity in serving Tanzanians and continuing to uphold national firmness, traditions, and customs is crystal clear that Tanzania and its people are in safe hands to someone who truly know the task ahead.

“Her resilience, strength and toughness although in a motherly look  on critical matters and determination to serve Tanzanians as chairperson of the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), no doubt, the success of one year as sitting president is a sign that not only many good things are coming but continued support, each playing his or her part,” he said.

He also acknowledged the achievements that have been realized both locally and internationally.

Dr Samia took oath of office on March 19th, 2021 following the death of her predecessor, the late Dr John Magufuli, who passed while receiving treatment at the Emilio Mzena Memorial Hospital in Dar es Salaam.

During her first national address shortly after she was sworn-in, President Samia pledged to carry on development programmes and open up the country by promoting economic diplomacy through multilateralism.

Indeed, President Samia hit the ground running and opened up the country, which is currently seeing a flurry of investments in the country.

Ends

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SINCE President Samia Suluhu Hassan ascended into power two years ago, she has created a friendly tax collection environment that led to an increase in tax collection.

Her concern was that she wanted to see voluntary tax compliance by the business community as well as any ordinary Tanzanian.

The taxman set a target in the first half of the 2022/2023 fiscal year that ended in December 2022, after collecting 12.46tri/- which is 99 per cent of its 12.48tri/- target.

This is an outstanding performance of revenue collection is attributed to the respectable tax administration systems which contributed to a growth of 12.2 percent as well as scale up of electronic revenue collection systems that have reduced leakage.

According to a statement released, January this year by the Commissioner of Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Mr Alphayo Kidata, the December collection was 106.5 per cent above the target of 2.6tri/-.

The December collections imply a good performance for the taxman in the first half of the fiscal year 2022/2023 according to the authority.

“The performance was attributed to the rising willingness among the public to pay taxes, improved relations between the authority and taxpayers, timely resolution of issues and the current growth of business and economic activities in the country,” said Mr Kidata

He said no matter how successful they have been, TRA is obliged to increase tax collections by improving the willingness and compliance of taxpayers pay taxes.

In addition, Mr Kidata says that it will enable the government’s capacity to provide services to its citizens, including security, infrastructure, and social services.

The ex- Board Chairperson and member of the TRA, Prof Marcellina Chijoriga says tax reforms made by President Samia’s led administration have attracted investors in all sectors.

Prof Chijoriga sees the business environment as much more friendly for local and foreign investors.

Indeed, under the leadership of Mama Samia, the government has signaled the implementation of good fiscal policy and instruments.

“If you want every businessperson to pay tax, you should create a good environment for them to do business, which is the trend we are currently witnessing…people are trading freely and the tax collecting is visible,” says Prof Chijoriga.

The Finance and Planning Minister Dr Mwigulu Nchemba said there is a very close link between favourable tax policies on one hand and growth of businesses and development of the country on the other.

Speaking at a meeting which drew participants from across the business community in the country during the national tax dialogue in January this year, Dr Mwigulu noted that the President Samia has on several occasions directed them to continue improving tax policies by incorporating views from stakeholders through the tax dialogues.

The first directive of the Head of State after assuming the highest office, two years ago was to the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) to change their mode of collecting tax.

President Samia further directed TRA to take urgent measures in resolving tax wrangles with foreign investors, adding that oppressive tax regimes are not healthy for development.

Showing a lot of concern on how taxes should be collected in a friendly way, President Samia further ordered TRA’s Commissioner General Mr Kidata to ensure fairness in discharging tax laws.

She said tax collection must be conducted effectively and not allow anyone to feel burdened or punished, adding that once taxes are collected forcefully the system will scare taxpayers.

Elaborating, President Samia noted that the country was in great need of money to implement major public projects and run state affairs including paying salaries.

Reacting to this trend, the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) Acting Executive Director Raphael Laizer praised the efforts of President Samia in tax collection.

He says the president’s initiative has enhanced confidence in the business community and significantly helped expand the tax base.

He said the best treatment of taxpayers allowed both parties (taxpayer and the TRA) to have dialogues and agree amicably, instead of business closure leave alone reduction of the tax rate.

A Taxation Analyst, Mr Sinda Mwita, disclosed that when President Samia entered into power ordered that authorities should adopt an interest based collection approach whereby a mutual agreement is reached between tax collectors and taxpayers.

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