9 November 2012

Tanzania: Mantra Scoops Tax Compliance Award

MANTRA Tanzania Limited has scooped the award for the overall winner of compliant large taxpayers in Kinondoni Tax Division for the 2011/2012 financial year.

Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) has for the second time honoured the company that has not yet started production at its proposed Mkuju River Uranium Mining project in Namtumbo District, Ruvuma Region. The firm also won the award last year, beating other companies.

The award was announced in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday at the TRA Tax Payers' Day national celebrations that Vice President Mohamed Gharib Bilal graced. TRA initiated the award to recognise and honour taxpayers for their invaluable contribution in revenue collection. According to the tax body, Mantra Tanzania met all the tax requirements and continued to pay taxes voluntarily even before starting active production.

Mantra Tanzania Managing Director Asa Mwaipopo said at the ceremony that his company is committed to comply with all tax policies in the mining industry, adding that the firm will continue to play its obligations before and after the mining project.

"As Mantra Tanzania, we always ensure that we follow all laws governing our operations voluntarily... we know that taxes play a central role in the country's development," he said, promising to pay all taxes voluntarily and timely to enable the government improve infrastructure and other public services.

Mr Mwaipopo clarified that his company won the award through payment of withholding tax as the company had not even started production. "We have introduced a strong Corporate Social Responsibility unit that takes care of the communities around the mine. There are a number of development projects that we have introduced and there are many that are still in the pipeline. These projects aims at supporting communities living around the mines", he said.

Dr Bilal described voluntary tax payment as a noble course that should be followed by all, adding that the companies recognised in this year's celebrations have shown an example that should be emulated by others. The TRA Commissioner General, Mr Harry Kitilya said the authority's efforts to collect more revenues in form of taxes were still undermined by the culture of some companies and individuals of not paying taxes voluntarily.

"There is need for the business community to develop the culture of paying taxes", he said, adding: "Rampant tax evasion remains a serious challenge to us but we shall come up with a concrete plan to fight the vice soon." He said at the moment, there are 100,033 taxpayers in the country and tax collected and submitted to the Treasury as at September this year was 754bn/-.

Meanwhile, Peter Temba reports from Moshi that TRA has declared the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) the overall winner of taxpayer in the medium taxpayer category in Kilimanjaro region. Moshi District Commissioner Dr Ibrahim Msengi officiated the event on behalf of Regional Commissioner Leonidas Gama.

Director of Finance and Administration Astery Bitegeko said the award was a series of success stories engineered by the new management, in collaboration with the Board of Directors.

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