Tanzania: MPs Poke Holes Into Revenue Use

Dodoma — The Opposition camp in Parliament and some MPs from the ruling CCM party have faulted several initiatives taken by the fifth-phase government, mainly regarding public revenues.

The disputed initiatives include the decision requiring the government to buy cashew nuts; disbandment of the cashews board, and issuance of special identification cards to micro-enterprises. Others are the government's move to shut down some forex shops and failure by the government to do enough in improving the business environment.

The members also took the opportunity to propose tabling a Parliamentary Bill to amend the 1985 Elections Act with a view to forming a Tanzania Independent Electoral Commission (TIEC) and a TIEC Fund. All the foregoing came about when the ongoing National Assembly session in the nation's capital Dodoma was debating the budget of the Prime Minister's Office for the 2019/20 financial year which commences on July 1 this year.

The official report of the opposition camp was not formally tabled as scheduled on Thursday because opposition MPs walked out of the debating chamber en masse.

This was after the Parliamentary Privileges, Ethics and Powers Committee resolved to suspend the Arusha Urban opposition lawmaker Godbless Lema (Chadema) for three consecutive parliamentary meetings.

Purchase of cashew nuts

The decision of the government to buy cashew nuts from farmers and involving private companies has reportedly denied the nation foreign earnings. The opposition reasoned that disbandment of the cashew nuts board, which was formed by a parliamentary resolution, is a breach of the Union Constitution. "That move was meant to undermine Parliament," reads the official opposition camp report in part.

Special IDs for traders

The opposition camp claimed that the special IDs were denying local government authorities revenue. This is because small traders holding the IDs - for which they pay Sh20,000 a year - no longer have to pay Sh500 a day to the local authorities.

"Instead of asking them pay only Sh20,000 a year for the IDs, they should have continued to pay Sh500 per day, which translates into huge sums of revenue a year," reads the report in part.

Public procurement

Critics lament that the government does not always adhere to the provisions of the 2011 Public Procurement Act as amended in 2016. "As a matter of fact, the government needed to announce the tender for a supplier of the special IDs for small traders and the winner would be mandated for the task," the report states.

Bureaux de Change

Member of the august House, Jaku Ayoub, called on the government to come up with a friendly environment in the foreign currency (forex) business.

His call came a few days after the Finance and Planning minister, Dr Philip Mpango, announced that the government is preparing regulations to guide forex dealers.

In another development, a nominated lawmaker, Abdallah Bulembo, pleaded with the government to lift the ban on exportation of gold concentrates, popular as 'Makinikia.'

He made the request yesterday when contributing to the FY-2018/19 budget implementation report and the FY-2019/20 budget proposals for the Prime Minister's Office and the Parliament Fund.

Two years ago, the government banned exportation of 'Makinikia' in efforts to plug loopholes that were being illegally exploited by unscrupulous investors.

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