23 May 2019

Tanzania: Former Ministers Express Concerns Over Fish Levy

Dodoma — Parliament yesterday endorsed a Sh64.91 billion budget for the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development for the 2019/20 financial year, with contributions by former ministers taking centre stage in improving the revenue and expenditure plan.

Some of the former ministers, who debated the ministry's budget after it was tabled by the minister for Livestock and Fisheries Development, Mr Luhaga Mpina, on Tuesday, included ex-minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Development, Dr Charles Tizeba, and former Finance minister Saada Mkuya.

The list also included former minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Charles Mwijage and the ex-minister for Investment, Dr Mary Nagu.

In his contribution, Dr Tizeba said a $0.4 royalty charged on every kilo of fish on a fisherman who goes fishing in Tanzania's deep sea waters was bad and that it was discouraging investment.

But in a quick rejoinder, Mr Mpina said the exemption on the said royalty (the $0.4 per kilo) as advanced by Mr Tizeba during his days as minister for the docket cost the government Sh5 billion in uncollected revenue.

Ms Mkuya, who served under former President Jakaya Kikwete's administration, shared Dr Tizeba's sentiments.

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"Zanzibar is a victim of the $0.4 per kilo royalty on fish caught in deep sea waters. You should look at other areas where you can collect revenue," said Ms Mkuya, the lawmaker for Melezo in Zanzibar.

Mr Mwijage, who was dropped from President John Magufuli's cabinet on the same day as Dr Tizeba, asked Mr Mpina to announce the release of boat engines that were seized during a recent illegal fishing operation.

Dr Nagu, who held the Investment Docket during Mr Kikwete's administration, told the government to find a lasting solution to the plight of livestock keepers who were forced to bribe government officials whenever their animals find their way into game reserves and national parks.

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