Kagera RC saves 1bn/- from dubious contractors

KAGERA: KAGERA Regional Commissioner (RC), Ms Fatma Mwassa has appealed to Tanzanians to pay taxes as required by the law, to enhance economic development and avoid unnecessary inconveniences that may occur due to non-compliance.

“All business people must ensure that they pay their taxes on time. This will enable the government to render the necessary social services in various sectors, including health, education, infrastructure development and water sectors,” she said.

Equally, she strongly warned unfaithful public officials who collude with contractors to swindle millions of shillings set for development projects.

She issued the warning yesterday while addressing Bukoba Municipal residents, including small scale traders (Machinga) who attended the launching of “Tuwajibike” programme and the closing of the Customer Service Week.

Customer Service Week (CSW) is celebrated annually during the first full week of October and the occasion is used to push service providers to improve service delivery.

“We need to maintain and attract more traders to pay taxes using Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) machines. Let us be innovative through better service delivery,” she said.

Ms Mwassa expressed her disappointment by unnamed public officials who recently colluded with a contractor to swindle 1bn/- disbursed by the government for the construction of a modern bus stand in Bukoba Municipal Council.

“I was forced to intervene and save the public funds from being swindled. The unnamed contractor has since been suspended while thorough investigations are ongoing to find the culprits and arraign them before the court,” she said.

Elaborating, she said three projects under the Bukoba Municipal Council would be implemented through the Tanzania Cities Transforming Infrastructure and Competitiveness Project (TCICP) with funding from the World Bank (WB). The projects include a modern bus stand, a market complex and construction of the Kanoni river bank.

The project development objective (PDO) was to improve the quality of and access to basic urban services in participating Local Government.

She explained that petty traders were key persons who should be assisted to enable them earn a decent living and also pay tax to the government.

She directed the Bukoba Municipal Director to find suitable places where the Machinga would be undertaking their daily business pending the implementation of constructing a modern market complex which was slated to start next financial year (2024/25).

Kagera Regional Manager of the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Mr Ayoub Mwita informed her that the region has about 23,450 registered traders with TIN, while those who possess EFD machines were 4,261 (approx 18.1 per cent).

“We are also targeting to register 1,200 new traders during 2023/24 financial year to expand the tax base,” he said.

Mr Mwita said during 2023/2024 financial year, TRA had targeted to collect about 118.3bn/- while during the first quarter (July 2022-September 2023) the authority had already collected 28.3bn/- (approx.  99.3 per cent) of the target.

He noted that tax evasion is a criminal offense whereby a person convicted of the offence was liable to a maximum fine of 20m/-.  A person who discloses such acts could also pocket a reward equivalent to 3 per cent of the amount, he said.

He advised business persons to contact TRA offices to get Tax Clearance Certificates and Trade Officers to get business licences. “I urge you to support the government initiatives by educating people on the importance of paying tax to speed up the nation’s development. This will be realised through tax compliance,” he said.

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