Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner, Mr Leonidas Gama revealed last week in an interview that the move has helped the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) to collect more taxes, which formerly was impossible because the business was informal. “This is just the beginning of the long term programme to make the centre, which is a few kilometres to the border with Kenya an international market to end incidences smuggling,” he said.
The Holili market centre is also an important business point with Kenya with plenty of revenue opportunities for the country, he added. He said construction of an international market facility was blessed by President Jakaya Kikwete who promised to inject 2bn/- for the realisation of the project.
He said the decision to formalise the trade was also welcomed by the business community, due to the disturbances while trying to avoid Customs officials thus sometimes plunging them into heavy losses. At times, they faced heavy penalties when they fell in the hands of Customs officials.
Before the decision to formalise the businesses was reached, Mr Gama said customs officials used to ambush traders at border points, an exercise that was not only costly and dangerous but also the revenue collected was little. Apart from revenue collection from the business transactions at the market, also trucks from the neighbouring countries will be paying roadtoll.
“The project will be a successful story if all parties particularly the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) play their role efficiently,” he added. Tanzania is enjoying comparative advantage in producing food crops like maize and other legumes with high demand in the neighbouring countries, Kenya included.
Although the common market protocol has already been signed by five East African Countries (EAC), business community has continued to complain over the cumbersome clearance to informal exits, famous as “panya’ or rat routes.