State restore normalcy

…PM announce eight measures to address traders grievance

…Suspends tax imposed on traders to store goods in various warehouse

THE government has come up with eight bold measures to bring normalcy at the famous Kariakoo business centre, including formation of a 14-man special committee which will probe and draw solutions to tackle traders’ grievances.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa disclosed this during a meeting with the Kariakoo traders and a section of regional representatives at Mnazi Mmoja grounds in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, after the first meeting which was held at Kariakoo on Monday.

The committee comprises seven members from the government and seven others representing the traders.

From the government are; Permanent Secretary in the PMs Office, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in Finance and Planning Ministry, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups, the Dar es Salaam Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS), TRA Director of Research and Policy and TRA Commissioner of Domestic Revenue.

Traders will be represented by the National Chairman of the Association of Tanzania Traders Hamisi Livembe, Kariakoo Traders Association Chairman Martin Mbwana, Issa Masoud (Tanga), Fredy Ngajiro, Mr Award Mpandila, Omary Hussein (Zanzibar) and Salome Keyovu.

Mr Majaliwa also announced a ban of taxes imposed by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) on traders for storing goods in warehouses.

He stressed that the facility owners are the ones who should make the payments because they are charging for the service.

“If the storage charges at the Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade have not welcomed any grievances …why TRA? it implies that there is a loophole somewhere,” Mr Majaliwa said, noting that the problem was not about the law but the guidelines.

He directed the committee to take charge in the entire matter within two weeks’ time, noting that the recommendations will thoroughly be analyzed by relevant technical teams and presented to the finance minister since the Parliament was currently sitting in Dodoma.

Mr Majaliwa said the committee has the ability to execute the crucial role in other markets that include Kariakoo, Mwenge, Manzese, Tandika, Mbagala, Kigamboni and Zanzibar among other cities such as Mbeya, Arusha, Tanga, Dodoma and regions along borders including Mara, Songwe and Kigoma.

“The government’s intention is to see you carry out your business effectively…the government wants to see all traders benefitting from their activities.

“We are also aware that some of you possess loans including bad debts. Your families as well depend on the businesses for their upkeep. You need to expand your business, short of that another day of strike reduces your productivity,” he said.

He also maintained that his directive of suspending the tax collection taskforce was there to stay.

He pleaded with the traders to return to their business, stressing that Kariakoo is an international market and should remain active.

He, however, urged them to help the government to bring back the customers who had turned their back from coming to Kariakoo.

Other measures include releasing of seized cargo, whereby he urged the committee to coordinate the matter, and reminded civil servants to  respect and heed top leaders’ directive including the President, the Vice-President and the President of Zanzibar, insisting that their orders should be implemented accordingly.

Other measures include, coming up with a good clearing system of containers and review of laws which have loopholes. The Premier also warned against corruption practices among TRA officials and Police Force, saying the government will never tolerate such malpractice.

“The role of the police is to protect people and property and not to conduct inspection of receipts unless they have a warrant to carry out a specific search,” stressed the PM.

Initially, businesspeople urged the Minister for Finance and Planning Dr Mwigulu Nchemba to table an emergency document to the National Assembly, to amend the warehouse registration law, so that it can be repealed along with other contradictory laws.

In addition, they said the TRA tax system at the port should be abolished because it is not compatible with the existing system in the market and it is at the heart of the crisis for traders.

The businessmen Abraham Majembe and Chuki Shabani asked the government to refer the contradictory laws to the House, so that they can be repealed because they have become a nuisance to the business environment in the country.

Majembe said that the warehouse registration Act is not friendly to them because it requires every month a trader to submit a return report to TRA and when they fail, they are fined about 300 US dollars.

On his part the representative Singida Region traders Dismas Massawe said the law has made a loophole for unscrupulous TRA officials to solicit bribes.

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