29 November 2017

Tanzania: Car Importers Dodging Taxes At Tanzania's Dar Port

Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has ordered the arrest of two traders who tried to dodge taxes by using his name to clear 44 trucks at the Dar es Salaam port.

Mr Majaliwa directed the Inspector General of Police Simon Sirro to apprehend the owners of two firms - Nas Company and Wallmark.

During an impromptu visit to the port on Wednesday, the Prime Minister also castigated the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) staff for not adhering to laid down procedures on cargo clearance.

"You should not allow someone to come here and tell you that he has been directed by the President or Vice President or even me to clear his cargo. You should always stick to the laws and procedures," he told them.

According to the premier, the traders tried to con authorities to clear the trucks which had been imported from Turkey in 2015 and had been lying at the port.

"The owners of the trailers had only paid 30 per cent of the bill of lading and they tried to use my name to get exempted," he said.

He said registration of the trucks without due payment of revenues was not only a violation of Tanzania's law but could also tarnish trade relations with Turkey.

He added that clearance of the trucks could have seen the Turkish manufacturers, Serin, lose dues still owed to them.

Already, Mr Majaliwa said, the firm had written a complaint letter over the issue to Tanzania Embassy in Turkey.

President's directive

The Prime Minister's visit to the Dar port came days after President John Magufuli ordered the auction of cargo lying unclaimed for more than the set 21 days.

The President had also made an impromptu visit to the port where he found more than 50 vehicles abandoned for two years and which had been allegedly imported by the government.

"There is a syndicate that imports vehicles for private use alongside those being imported by the government and leaves the tax burden to the government," he said.

Dr Magufuli gave a seven-day ultimatum to the taxman, Finance ministry, port authority and anti-corruption agency to unearth the "real owner" of the vehicles "even if he or she is some big shot."

He added that he had credible information on who owned the vehicles and the purpose for which they had been imported. He said the directive to expose the owner was aimed at testing whether those tasked with the job could come up with the "right answer".

The head of State said some unscrupulous individuals have been dodging tax by manipulating the government's procurement and importation systems.

"The whole car importation system is a problem. That is why specifications for the imported cars have not been given."


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