Deputy Minister Japhet Hasunga
EARNINGS from concession fees charged by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism from tourist hotels in national parks stood at 18.8bn/- between July and March, this year, the National Assembly heard here yesterday.
Responding to a question from Amina Mollel (Special Seats-CCM), the ministry's Deputy Minister Japhet Hasunga disclosed that the amount was collected between July 2017 and March 2018.
The Deputy Minister further explained that there was an increase of 11.9bn/-, which is equivalent to 174 per cent as compared to 6.9bn/- collected as concession fees in the financial year 2016/2017.
He told the august House that Value Added Tax (VAT) paid to the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) as a result of such fees within the same period in the 2017/2018 financial year was 3.4bn/- compared to 1.2bn/- collected in the 2016/2017 within the same period under review.
In her question, the MP had sought to know to what extent the government had implemented the Parliamentary resolution to collect taxes from hotels inside national conservation areas through concession fees at fixed rate. The Deputy Minister responded that implementation of collection of concession fees through new procedure of fixed rate started on July 1, 2017, as per Government Notice No. 231 of 2017.
According to the Notice, every foreigner is charged a sum of between 25 US dollars and 50 US dollars depending on the conservation area concerned. For example, he said, 25 US dollars are charged inside Mikumi National Park, while 50 US dollars are charged inside the Seregenti National Park.
Currently, according to the Deputy Minister, all investors are paying such fees at a rate as indicated in the Government Notice. In a supplementary question, the lawmaker explained that some of the hotels were hesitating or defaulting to pay the fees in question. She, therefore, wanted to know the legal measures taken against such defaulters.
The Deputy Minister, however, admitted that initially such hotels were hesitating to pay the fees at the rates as required due to lack of knowledge on the matter.