28 June 2014

Tanzania: VAT Administration Bill Shelved

Dodoma — MEASURES to strengthen tax administration and reduce exemptions have been delayed after the National Assembly shelved to table VAT and Tax Administration Bills.

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Anne Makinda, announced in Parliament that the preparations of the two Bills were not yet ready and would be tabled in the forthcoming meeting.

She said it has been realised that the preparation of the two documents would take more time because they cut across many sectors.

It was vital that stakeholders from all sectors were engaged in the preparation of the Bills, she said. The government had planned to table the two Bills to boost revenue collection through tax base broadening, strengthening tax administration and reducing tax exemptions provided through various tax laws.

If the two bills were tabled and passed by the Parliament, the measures for tax administration and exemptions become effective on July 1st, this year.

Meanwhile, Ms Makinda has called on Members of Parliament (MPs) and the media to refrain from uttering incorrect statements about Parliament activities.

She said there have been misleading articles and reports from lawmakers and the media about activities of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Budget after the government presented its 2014/15 estimates.

She said it was normal for some business people to lobby the government, Parliament or a parliamentary committee against implementation of some tax measures, but she noted that there were incorrect statements from some MPs and misleading reports from the media. "Lobbying is there and lobbyists are there.

This is an international practice. There's nothing strange about that," she said. She said it was unbecoming for a Member of Parliament to issue a misleading statement that businessmen were pressing the government against plans to remove tax exemptions.

The Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr Mwigulu Nchemba, said he did not see any new thing added to the two Bills, because they had passed through a comprehensive process. He said the documents had passed the level of Secretary General, where experts and stakeholders in various sectors were involved before it was approved by the cabinet.

The Deputy Minister said by passing through all that levels, it proved that there would be no effect to any sector that has not been addressed.

He said it was ironic that MPs have been calling for Bills to reduce tax exemption and strengthen its administration, but they are the same who are delaying the measures.


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