INVESTORS and businesspeople have every reason to smile after the government decided to review 54 ‘nuisance’ fees and levies following the recent meeting between President John Magufuli and traders at State House.
Presenting the 2019/20 general budget, Minister for Finance and Planning Dr Philip Mpango said the government was proposing to review various fees and levies with a view to reduce and abolish some of them.
On Saturday President John Magufuli sacked Minister of Industry and Trade Joseph Kakunda and Commissioner General of Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Charles Kichere, a day after meeting prominent businessmen from across the country who complained about poor performance of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and TRA.
The Head of State replaced Mr Kakunda with Innocent Bashungwa and appointed Dr Edwin Mhede the new TRA Commissioner General. President Magufuli criticized TRA for creating unfavourable business climate.
He said the existence of excessively complicated administrative procedures in government was one of the factors that discouraged sustainable growth of business activities.
On Friday, President Magufuli told the business people from all districts and regions across the country that the current bureaucracy in the government made it difficult for businesses to flourish in the country.
Yesterday, DR Mpango said the move to reduce fees and levies aims at reducing the cost of doing business and investment costs in the country. “This is the first phase of implementation of the blueprint for regulatory reforms to improve the business environment,” he said.
The minister added that apart from the review of the fees and levies, the focus will also be on the elimination of the existing duplication of responsibilities among the ministries, regulatory authorities and institutions. According to Dr Mpango, the amendment of the fees and levies will be effected through the Finance Bill 2019 and Government Notices.
He mentioned the fees and levies that are proposed for amendments as seven under the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA), the amendments include abolishment of retention fee for domestic products on registration of vaccines and biological (150 US dollars), herbal medicines (150 US dollars), medical devices (100 US dollars), diagnostics (250 US dollars), food (10 US dollars), antiseptics and diagnostics (100,000/-).
He also proposed abolishment of fees for duplicate certificates on diagnostic (100 US dollars), inspection fees for new food selling outlets (50,000/-), registration fee for retails veterinary pharmacy (50,000/-to 100,000/-), inspection fees for fish industries (200,000/- to 250,000/-), inspection fees for new fish outlets (50,000/-) and annual business licence fees on fish outlets (50,000/- to 300,000/).
Dr Mpango said the measures are being taken to create friendly business and investment environment to stimulate compliance and increase customer base. “The measures are expected to reduce government revenues by 2.5bn/-,” said the minister.
He added that the government also proposes abolishment of six fees under Tanzania Bureau of Standards. These are application fees of 50,000/- for TBS mark, TBS mark guarantee fee of 15 percent of overhead and transport costs, TBS mark licence fee of 50 percent of cost of transport and testing of sample from the market.
Others are application form fee of 50,000/- for imported goods. Also calibration of equipment based on industrial metrology fees. The amount payable depends on the distance covered from the office to the place. Also application form on imported cosmetics and medical devices, including condoms, syringes, gloves, cotton wool and bandage which were 0.2 percent of transport costs.
According to Dr Mpango, the measures aim at reducing the cost of doing business to traders and producers. He said the measures are expected to reduce government revenues by 2.6bn/- The minister added that other fees to be abolished are those imposed under the office of government chemist laboratory authority.
He said a total of 14 fees and 10 levies in the government chemist laboratory authority will be affected. He said the measures will reduce the government revenues by 450m/-. On the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, the minister proposed abolishment of 15 levies, which are expected to reduce government revenues by 16.7bn/-.
In the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, the minister proposed the removal of trophy handling fee and TALA fee on professional hunting charged by the natural resources and tourism sector.
The measure is expected to reduce revenue by 80,000 US dollars. In the Ministry of Water, Dr Mpango proposed to remove fee imposed on borehole, which starts from 100,000/- depending on the water utilization.
The measure is expected to reduce revenues by 1.9bn/- The Minister requested the parliament to approve the 33.1tri/-budget for the 2019/20 fiscal year. MPS’ reaction PAULINE GEKUL (Babati MP-CCM) It is a special budget for Tanzanians, it has touched every mwananchi, poor, ordinary and big traders.
It is a win-win budget. We hope people are going to receive it well because it is friendly budget that will help people generate income. Julius Karanga (Monduli-CCM) The budget has answered people’s questions. The budget has touched farmers, herders, public servant and others.
It has reduced levies and fees for farmers, traders and herders. This means things are going to change. We expect changes in the agriculture and livestock sector. Richard Philip Mbogo (Nsimbo-CCM) The budget has not increased levies as it was expected.
We used to see increase of tax on cigarette and beverages, but this time around there is no such a thing. The government has also reduced fees and levies in various products.
Personally, I think this will help. CRDB managing Director, Abdulmajid Musa Nsekela It is a good budget, it has removed nonsense fees and levies, it has also touched agriculture sector, which is the backbone of the economy.
The budget has also insisted that traders should do their business freely and in case of any challenges, they should contact TRA officials for solution. The budget also opens up loans for farmers and traders.