Moshi — Tanzania's workers yesterday asked the government to ease the tax burden on their salaries to enable them provide families with basic needs.
Presenting their case before President John Magufuli during the International Workers Day here, the Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) Secretary General, Dr Yahya Msigwa decried what he termed excessive deductions from employees' salaries, with some workers paying up to 30 per cent in graduate charges.
He said despite the government's good intention to reduce Pay As You Earn (PAYE) on salaries from 11 to nine per cent, it has come to Tucta's attention that the reduction benefits only few, getting the minimum wage. "We thank the government for reducing PAYE from 11 to nine percent but we have learnt that there are few beneficiaries - those getting minimum wage only.
The middle and high income earners are subjected to huge deductions of up to 30 per cent in graduate charges," charged Dr Msigwa. He proposed the threshold of taxed salary to increase from the current 150,000/- to 750,000/-, arguing that a 2015 research concluded that 750,000 is the amount that can enable the worker, spouse and four children to get the basic needs.
Dr Msigwa further pleaded with the president to limit the taxes on employees' salaries to 18 per cent. The Tucta executive decried an emerging trend of abusing the employment laws and regulations in the country, citing discrimination against Tanzanians while favouring foreigners.
He said there are instances where salaries differ at great margins, with foreigners earning 7m/- against 700,000/- paid to Tanzanians for similar qualifications and job responsibilities.
He accused some employers of hiring their relatives as human resource officers without the required qualifications, and as a result, end up oppressing locals whom they deny permanent job contracts.
Dr Msigwa asked the judiciary to speedily dispose labour cases, especially in upcountry regions where he said judges were not trying cases at the required pace. Responding, President Magufuli said the entire government was present at the celebrations and everybody had heard the pleas.
In attendance was Vice President Samia Suluhu Hssan, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai, his Deputy Dr Tulia Ackson, ministers and Members of Parliament. He said the government will address all workers' concerns and to start with, it will effect annual increments and promotions in the next fiscal year.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Parliament, Policy, Labour, Employment, Youth and Disabled, Jenista Mhagama said the tripartite talks between the government, Association of Tanzania Employers and TUCTA will be sustained to guarantee harmony in the labour market.