Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

29 June 2014

Tanzania: Our Economy Calls for Strategical Plans

THE marathon budget session ended officially on Saturday. The Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, presented an elaborative speech to wind up House activities in Dodoma.

Irrespective of their political affiliations, legislators accomplished a commendable job for the benefit of this nation. The views of these law makers, no matter how critical they might have been, were done in good faith.

For example, the parliamentarians spoke about the need for diversification of revenue sources through intensified system of domestic collection of earnings, to minimize dependence on foreign budget support.

Some advised on the need for controlled trade in precious minerals, citing Tanzanite which is found only in this country, but making insignificant contribution to the national coffers.

The current situation allows flow of huge gains to individual pockets within the country and beyond borders.

Others advised on prudent utilization of the marine resources to boost income for the nation as reports, though not independently verified, indicate that illegal fishing in deep seas continues unabated as operators of foreign fishing vessels take advantage of lack of efficient patrol boats. It is undeniable fact that fishing can make this country richer.

The best part of the discussion was the receptive nature of the government (ministers) despite much criticism from the floor.

In this regard, the era of arbitrary tax exemption is over and the ministry of finance has pledged close supervision of the matter, pledging a quarterly report of any exempted beneficiaries.

With regard to tax payment obligation, the MPs underscored the need for extended tax-payer's education. Voluntary tax payment should be a way of life and not perceived by members of the society as punishment. Nonetheless, the best strategy according to the legislators was for the people to realize better social services.

They need to have access to clean and safe water, better health care, schools equipped with enough learning materials, improved agricultural services, and reliable markets for the farmers among others.

The government has recorded impressive achievements in that front, but additional efforts are vital for the country to end poverty.

Information that Tanzania is ranked second behind Brazil as a country with most tourism attractions, but classified among countries with minimal revenue collection from the tour industry, calls for serious redress of the situation. We need to work harder for sustainable utilization of the natural resources with a clear focus to strengthen the tax regime.

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