- Improvement of operational environment
CONTRARY to claims that traders are closing businesses due to unfavourable environment, available data show that 147,818 new ventures were registered between July 2018 and April, this year, against only 16,252 that were closed.
Deputy Minister for Finance and Planning Dr Ashatu Kijaji has refuted claims by several legislators and members of the public that businesspersons are closing down shops, stressing that the contrary is true.
“As a matter of fact, available statistics show that many businesses were established between July last year and April, this year. It should be noted that all legal ventures are being undertaken as usual,” Dr Kijaji stated.
She added, “To prove that business environment is flourishing in the country, revenue collections by TRA (Tanzania Revenue Authority) remain at over one trillion monthly since the fifth phase government came to power…how could the government continue to collect increased revenues if businesses were closing down?”
Dr Kijaji made the explanation while reacting to some contributions by the lawmakers who debated the budget estimates for the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The ministry had asked the House to approve 100.4bn/- for development and recurrent votes. The deputy minister was clear that all businesses operating legally and paying requisite taxes will continue to thrive given the conducive business and investment climate in the country.
Several MPs who contributed in the budget estimates, including Busega MP Raphael Chegeni (CCM) accused the government of telling lies in regard to the number of new and closed business ventures across the country.
Shadow Minister for Industry and Trader Anthony Komu (Moshi Rural- CHADEMA) described the business environment in the country as unpredictable and was chasing away potential investors and businesspersons.
The opposition MP claimed further that the cost of doing business in Tanzania is high compared to other East African Community (EAC) countries. “Numerous levies and charges imposed by regulatory and public institutions are unhealthy for the economy.
For instance, one wishing to set up a dairy processing plant is required to pay 28 separate levies and charges and a starting capital of 33m/-,” he claimed.
Mr Komu also charged that the government through TRA owes 45bn/- in Value Added Tax (V AT) to companies operating in the country, a situation he claimed paints a negative picture for potential investors and businesspersons.
Arumeru West MP Gibson Ole Meiseyeki (CCM) proposed a meeting between President John Magufuli and business community to iron out issues affecting investment and trade in the country.
The MP claimed further that TRA is harassing traders and investors and urged the tax collector to foot the costs associated with electronic tax stamps rather than imposing them on manufacturers.
“We are discouraging investments through these added costs to investors and businesspersons.
TRA should bear the costs for the electronic tax stamps,” he emphasised Renowned industrialist- cum-politician Salim Hassan Turky (Mpendae- CCM) accused some government institutions of frustrating local investors and traders.
Mr Turky claimed that even as local business community and industrialists respond positively in setting up new factories, they are being held back by the government institutions.