11 January 2014

Tanzania: Treasury Reaction to EFD Taskforce Worries Traders

Photo: RNW
Tanzanian traders have closed shops protesting prices of the tax devices (file photo).

BUSINESS leaders are praying that the Trade, Industry and Marketing Ministry's intervention in the use of Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs) comes to an amicable solution.

Tanzania Taxpayers' Association (TTA) Chairman, Otieno Igogo welcomed the decision to form a taskforce that will look into issues raised by business persons opposing the introduction of the gadgets to businesses, that earn an annual turnover of at least 14m/-.

Mr Igogo said in Dar es Salaam that revenue collection is an obligation of Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) obligation which falls under the Ministry of Finance.

"We thank the minister for responding to people's demands, but he needs to consult with the Treasury which is directly in charge of this exercise," Igogo remarked, saying an urgent solution to the standoff was required.

Igogo who earlier this week pleaded with government to reconsider the annual turnover threshold from 14m/- to at least 20m/-, while demanding that a number of changes including the insistence that owners of EFD machines have to buy accessories from a few licensed dealers who charge exorbitant prices.

"Initially, we had no one to protect us but now the parent ministry has intervened which is very good," pointed out Igogo who attended the meeting for Kariakoo traders in Dar es Salaam on Thursday.

During the meeting with the Kariakoo business persons, Dr Kigoda said it is not a government policy to harass business persons, hence the appointed taskforce will look into the controversial gadgets.

Addressing traders, Dr Kigoda said government has already agreed to review the current tax system to improve collections and incorporate views from business leaders.

"We are forming a taskforce over the EFD issue and other business related issues as raised in your messages," Dr Kigoda said while calling for calm.

On the contrary, Deputy Minister for Finance, Janet Mbene said Treasury is not aware of Dr Kigoda's offer to business people, but expressed hope that whatever agreement that will be reached will be practical.

"We have already accommodated many concerns raised by the business community regarding the devices but is seems they are still not satisfied, we will consult with Dr Kigoda and see what can be done," Ms Mbene noted.

According to TRA, over 200,000 new businesses are expected to be registered for the devices by the end of this year, as Treasury targets to end widespread corruption and loss of revenue caused by use of manual receipts.

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