TANZANIANS have been asked to join forces with the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) in the fight against smuggling incidents to increase the country's revenue.
The advice was given on Tuesday by TRA Kilimanjaro Regional Manager, Gabriel Mwangosi during the opening of a tax education seminar for journalists in Kilimanjaro Region held in Moshi.
"Government revenue is used in building the nation. There are many traders who do not want to pay tax at all. Therefore, we must work together to identify them so that they can pay tax for the development of the nation," he said.
"There are some traders who tell you openly that they can't stop smuggling because they have been doing it since they were still small. This is clear evidence that tax education is important for traders," he added.
Mr Mwangosi noted that even when TRA seized and confiscated motorcycles used by smugglers, the culprits continued buying the new ones so that they could continue smuggling to the detriment of the country. "In just one month, TRA seized and confiscated more than 20 motorcycles in Kilimanjaro Region, which were been used to smuggle goods.
This shows how TRA needs good cooperation to curb tax evasion and enable the government to get its revenue for the development of the nation," added Mr Mwangosi.
For his part, TRA training facilitator in Kilimanjaro Region Odupoi Papaa said lack of education on tax issues among many traders was a challenge that needed to be addressed.
"Journalists have a great role to play in assisting TRA to provide education on the importance of paying tax and its benefits to the nation. I am optimistic that this seminar is a starting point in this regard," he said.
Mr Papaa noted that tax education was vital among traders and Tanzanians in general given the importance it had on tax compliance. He said smuggling was a criminal offence and the culprits were subjected to heavy penalties that included fines and interest charged for tax payment delays.
"Traders need to be educated that the fines and interest they pay due to delays in paying their dues on time will prevent their businesses from prospering because they have to spend extra money on fines and interests," he said.