THOUGH there may be several factors attracting an investor to a country including wage rates, labour skills, tax rates, transport and infrastructure among others, political stability that Tanzania enjoys in the Great Lakes Region should not be taken for granted and Tanzanians should be proud of this.
More than anything, investors want to see a return on their investment. Investors are in the business of putting money into growing businesses so they can make money.
If you can demonstrate that your business will make them money, then you’re 90 per cent there and this is what Tanzania wants from the word go.
In the long term, investment is important for improving productivity and increasing the competitiveness of an economy. Without investment, an economy could enjoy high levels of consumption, but this creates an unbalanced economy and no one would long for this.
To put this in perspective, by 2015 the country had lost to the tune of at least 400bn/- from the national budget (read taxpayers money) to corruption and mismanagement, which could have addressed mostly the three enemies of the nation namely-poverty, ignorance, and diseases.
From this angle, tax irrespective of its name, is another life source for the government’s sustenance and no government can sustain itself without tax.
Remember this is a government of the people and by the people, installed in power democratically, hence must be also guarded and funded by the same people.
Looked at keenly, the citizens or simply the business community want to have a regime and environment that is friendly to their businesses in such a way that taxes are not seen as a fleecing, but a responsibility and civic obligation to run the government’s projects, which are also implemented in the community.
The citizens want to see several local billionaires like a small-scale miner Saniniu Laizer, who now owns $3.4 million after the government purchased his first tanzanite, precious stones weighing 20 pounds (9 kg) and 11 pounds (5 kg) at 7.7bn/- springing up.
(Remember the late President Magufuli once said that he wants to leave behind a legacy of a nation of hundred billionaires.) That put slightly aside, we must hail President Samia Suluhu Hassan for recognising the presence and weight of the private sector in the country’s development and more so on taxes review.
This is a sector and engine of growth and globally, successful businesses through them drive growth, create jobs and pay the taxes that finance services and investment.
In developing countries, the private sector generates 90 per cent of jobs, funds 60 per cent of all investments and provides more than 80 per cent of government revenues.