TANZANIA Revenue Authority (TRA) on Sunday defended the allegedly inflated prices of Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFD) which are sold to Value Added Tax (VAT) registered traders.
The authority said the gadgets were tailor made to serve specific purposes. TRA Deputy Commissioner General Rished Bade told the 'Daily News' on Sunday in Dar es Salaam that it is possible that Mbozi East lawmaker, Erasto Zambi saw EFD machines which are similar to those being used by traders.
He said that the gadget the lawmaker saw could have been a different brand and model. "Our devices are different and have been specifically manufactured to perform some specialized tasks.
"They are not sold randomly in the market," said Mr Bade who, however, did not want to give further details. "You should have written us specific questions so that we respond to them," the TRA second in command noted.
Traders and lawmakers oppose the hiked devices' prices. The EFD gadgets which were introduced in 2010 targeting traders with a turnover of 40m/- per annum have so far been sold to close to 17,000 traders with an annual turnover of not less than 14m/-.
According to the authority, EFD bears a fiscal seal, has special inbuilt Read Only Memory (ROM), incorporates fiscal memory that cannot be erased by use of electromagnetic interface and keeps 48 hours power backup. It can also use external battery in areas without electricity supply, among some of their characteristics.
In addition, the machines have irreversible date mechanism ensuring that no backdating can exist and they can be used as a stand-alone or configured into network with memory capacity to store data for at least five years or 1800-day transactions. When first introduced in 2010, their prices peaked over 1.5m/- which was later reduced to 800,000/- following an outcry by business people.
Mr Zambi who demanded in Parliament last week that the government stop further distribution of the devices or lower prices, wants the prices slashed further. "Traders are complaining against the hefty prices.
I went o Dubai and China and found the gadgets being sold at between 60 and 150 US dollars (between 96,000/- and 240,000/-)," Zambi alleged saying the price difference is alarming hence the need to review it. The fiery Mbozi legislator further noted that small and medium scale traders whose turnover is not more than 14m/-, is a burden because paying 800,000/- for a gadget meant to enable TRA collect taxes is choking their businesses.
TRA has made impressive VAT collection since introducing the devices collecting over 791.4bn/- in 2010/11 fiscal year compared to the 785.8bn/- collected in the 2009/2010 season. In 2011/12 season, TRA collected over 1.08trn/- in VAT revenue.