TRANSACTION LEVIES CUT:  Govt to steer financial inclusion

THE recent decision by the government to reduce and scrap some levies charged on mobile money and banking transactions will play an instrumental role in advancing financial inclusion among majority of Tanzanians.

Commenting on the decision on Saturday, the Chairman of Tanzania Bankers Association (TBA), Mr Abdulmajid Nsekela, welcomed the move by the government, stating that it was a right direction in promoting financial inclusion.

“We commend the government for the decision since it will enable more people to conduct transactions at affordable rates,” Mr Nsekela, who doubles as CRDB Bank Group CEO and Managing Director told ‘Daily News’ in an interview.

Mr Nsekela added further that even employees who receive their salaries through banks will be able to withdraw and transfer cash with ease.

The banker was thus optimistic that the revision of the levies will encourage more people to use banking services to make transactions for their businesses.

His sentiments were echoed by the Acting Managing Director of Vodacom Tanzania PLC, Ms Hilda Bujiku, who described the move by the government as encouraging.

“We have been delighted by the decision and this shows that we are going through the right direction,” Ms Bujiku commented at a news conference after the company’s annual general meeting in Dar es Salaam on Saturday.

Ms Bujiku was of a view that apart from boosting financial inclusion, the revision of the levies will boost business undertakings and eventually contribute to government revenues.

“Mobile money transactions have played a crucial role in boosting businesses over the past years and thus the revision of levies will more likely help to recover transactions which had somewhat dwindled,” she commented.

The economist- cum banker, Dr Hildebrand Shayo, reasoned that if the levies were not revised their repercussions would have affected banks, businesses and eventually the economy as a whole.

“What is left is to look for lucrative new potential sources to boost government revenues,” Dr Shayo recommended during an interview.

In a related development, commentators who spoke during a virtual meeting organised by Watch Tanzania yesterday, spoke highly of the move by the government in undertaking the major decision.

A political and diplomacy analyst, Mr Goodluck Ng’ingo, was confident that the revision of the charges will retain a good number of people in formal financial system, particularly rural folks who engage in agriculture.

“Many Tanzanians have been using mobile money for their transactions and thus the reduction and scrapping of the charges will bring back even those who had stopped using the system,” the analyst stated.

For his part, a prominent local businessperson, Mr Azim Dewji, commended the government for reviewing the charges but he was quick to challenge Tanzanians to be proud of contributing even little for development of their country.

“The government has done great but we should also appreciate the fact that it has a lot of responsibilities in undertaking development projects which all require funds. We should be proud of contributing even little for our development,” he urged.

A researcher on development studies at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Dr Herzon Makundi, said the government has many forms of revenues to fund recurrent and development expenditures, one of them being levies.

“The main question should be how the collected funds are being used. It should be also noted that unlike levies there are other sources of revenues but their collection is complicated since they are in the informal sector,” he explained.

Dr Makundi hailed the government for putting in place favourable investment climate which enables businesses to boom and thus leading to increased revenue collection.

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