PRIVATE sector players have hailed President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s directives to tax collectors to operate in a professional way and expand the tax base.
Chairperson of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) Ms Angelina Ngalula says there must be harmonisation of tax collection bodies and authorities, to avoid conflicts which delay the process.
Similarly, the TPSF is calling for comprehensive review of tax, levies and other government revenues collecting systems to enhance the country’s economic growth.
“We are calling for a comprehensive review of tax, levies and other government revenues collecting systems in a bid to eliminate setbacks in tax collection exercises,” she said.
MS Ngalula made the remarks when addressing a joint press conference between TPSF and other private sector stakeholders in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
The press conference was meant to congratulate President Samia after her last week’s speech when she was swearing in permanent secretaries, their deputies and heads of public entities at the State House in Dar es Salaam.
Ms Ngalula said that it was encouraging to learn that President Samia’s speech was insisting on putting in efforts to work towards a robust private sector, a move that needed transforming tax collection systems and formalising the informal sector, which hosts more than 70 per cent of private sector players.
Speaking last Tuesday, President Samia directed the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) to urgently resolve tax wrangles with local and foreign investors, insisting that oppressive tax regimes are uncalled for.
The Head of State also told the authority’s new Commissioner General Alphayo Kidata to ensure fairness in discharging tax laws.
“Tax collection must be conducted effectively and we will not allow oppressive tax systems that are forcing businesses to shut down. We neetaxes but we don’t want oppressive approaches,” said President Samia.
Reacting to this, Ms Ngalula said that TRA should expand its range of expertise among its employed tax officers and expand its research and development department for scientifically driven decisions.
“As the private sector, we advise that for effectiveness and efficiency in tax collection, TRA must strengthen research in different sectors of economy.
This will determine a proper tax per sector,” she said. She advised that the tax officers in the country should include those with expertise in strategic sectors like agriculture, minerals as well as oil and gas.
Also expertise must include use of ICTs and data analytics for making decisions. The TPSF chairperson said that it was high time that a system was put in place to formalise the informal sector because over 70 per cent of the private sector players rest in these settings.
“The government should formulate policies and put in place incentives to attract formalisation of the informal sector.
Apart from expanding the tax base, the formalised informal sector will make it easy for businesses to have a definable address and be reached out for coaching and tax collection,” she said.
Ms Ngalula also stressed that Tanzania should emulate other countries in insisting on local content in investment projects.
This, she said, will facilitate access to capital and increase Tanzanians participation in economic development and create more local billionaires.
For his part, the General Secretary of Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC), Dr Goodwill Wanga called for Tanzanians to educate themselves and pay tax for the country’s development.
“Media outlets must help and unite with us to educate the general public and ensure that in any business and services conducted we pay taxes, which are vital for our own development,” he said.
Dr Wanga said that it was imperative to educate the public to understand policies, laws and regulations guiding tax matters, so that they can pay tax dues smoothly without waiting for being pushed around.