EXPERTS yesterday welcomed the 2019/20 national budget with mixed reactions, mainly commending tax amnesties on products meant to promote agriculture and local industries. They also commended the government for increasing tax on imported goods like edible oil and wigs.
On the latter, he said 10 per cent tax had been imposed on wigs produced locally and 25 per cent on imported ones. In a telephone interview with the ‘Daily News’ after tabling the national budget in Parliament, the experts said the budget reflected the government agenda of having an industrial economy by 2025.
Their comments added weight to National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai’s remarks. Mr Ndugai had said the budget really built up on the foundation laid down by the fifth phase government. “We have seen that this budget has removed or reduced some taxes,” he said.
Dr Kanty Feksi Mtey, a senior lecturer at Mzumbe University, Dar es Salaam Campus, said the tax amnesties would relieve consumers of digging deeper into their pockets and would also attract more investments. However, Dr Mtey raised concern over increased charges on driving licences from 40,000/- to 70,000/-, saying the increase was too much although the expiry time had been extended from three to five years.
“Driving has been an employment opportunity for many ordinary people and some of them may not afford paying 70,000/-,” he said. On the other hand, he said increasing tax on imported goods was a good thing as it encouraged local industries.
However, he said the government should facilitate the availability of raw materials. “I was also expecting that this budget will touch high tax on employees’ salaries.
The employees are not happy with current deductions,” he said. Dr Charles Lugomela from the Department of Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) commented that it was good that the government expressed the intention of constructing a port specifically for fisheries.
He said this would help the country raise more revenue from big fishing vessels that currently fished in Tanzania’s waters, but did not dock at Dar es Salaam Port.
For his part, Executive Director of the Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF), Mr Audax Rukonge, commended the government for its decision to remove taxes on imported packaging materials for horticultural products, saying this would help famers get better prices.