THE government has collected over 20bn/- from business identity cards (IDs) issued to about 1 million small-scale traders since last December, it has been said.
Speaking at a recent meeting with regional commissioners (RCs) and regional administrative secretaries (RAS), Minister of State in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Selemani Jafo said:
“As of April 30, least 942.47m/- was collected from business IDs introduced into TRA’s revenue collection system.” The meeting, which brought together RCs and RAS, was convened to assess business IDs issued to small-scale traders across the country.
Mr Jafo used the occasion to direct RCs and RAS, who had not yet introduced such a TRA system to immediately do so.
He noted that the regional leaders should educate smallscale traders about the importance of possessing business IDs to attain the government’s goal to identify them and address challenges they had experienced before. “President John Magufuli’s goal is to protect small-scale traders from the harassment they had experienced from city militias because their activities make significant contributions to economic growth,” noted the minister.
Mr Jafo said about 1.8 million business IDs worth 37bn/- were issued in phase I and II as of April 30, urging other regions to emulate Dar es Salaam and Tabora regions for great strides in the issuance of business IDs.
He said while Dar es Salaam had issued business IDs to small-traders by 95.2 per cent, Tabora had done it by 94.58 per cent, adding that Coast Region had followed by issuing business IDs by 79.05 per cent. Mr Jafo named the regions which performed poorly in the issuance of the business IDs as Katavi (5.96 per cent), Njombe (11.14 per cent) Rukwa (25.03 per cent) Iringa (30.74 per cent) and Lindi (33.58 per cent).
Tabora Regional Commissioner, Aggrey Mwanri noted that an exercise to issue business IDs to small-scale traders faced some challenges due to negative mindset among the small-scale traders that the IDs were issued as a means to force them to pay tax.
“The majority of petty traders believe paying 20,000/- for an ID, which is meant to cover business ID printing costs, is a way of taxing them,” said the Tabora RC. Mr Mwanri explained that the authorities in Tabora Region used traditional and religious leaders to mobilise petty traders to get business IDs, adding that at ward levels the authorities used local government leaders to advise petty traders to get business IDs.