Tanzania: MPs Want More Tax From Online Trade, Betting

MEMBERS of Parliament have recommended proper mechanisms governing online trade and sport betting so that the government can reap revenue from the two business aspects.

Irrespective of their gender, political affiliations and religious denominations, the MPs also asked the government to remove taxes imposed on sanitary towels/pads, and wigs.

Debating the national budget estimates yesterday, the legislators noted that lack of proper and conducive mechanism on online business and sport betting was denying the government billions of shillings.

Mr Cosato Chumi (Mafinga Urban-CCM), Mr Abdallah Mtolea (Temeke-CCM) and Ali Hassan King (Jang'ombe-CCM) argued that online business and sport betting were untapped revenue resources.

"Online business is a big business worldwide, businesses worth trillions of shillings are transacted through Alibaba and Amazon, but the government is getting nothing. For example, you can buy a pair of shoes at 25,000/- through online but the same shoes are sold at 45,000/- at Kariakoo, that's why people are falling in love with online shopping... the government can get revenue if conducive environment is set on online business," argued Mr Chumi.

He further claimed that Tanzania was losing dearly in revenues for setting high taxes on locally registered sport betting companies.

"Why should I play betting in local companies while I'm heavily taxed, many Tanzanians are betting through companies not registered in Tanzania because they are not taxed," said Mr Chumi.

He was supported by Mr Mtolea who said that 20 per cent tax on winnings was discouraging Tanzanians to bet through locally registered companies and therefore the government was getting nothing from the business.

"Tanzanians are betting through companies outside the country to avoid 20 percent tax on winnings and worse still, the tax is borne by the player/winner and not the company.

Ultimately the government is losing revenue as many Tanzanians bet outside the country," said Mr Mtolea. The legislators have also raised grave concerns over taxes on sanitary towels and wigs, describing such imposition as against human nature and gender violence.

Ms Catherine Ruge (Special Seats-Chadema), Mr Said Mtulia (Kinondoni- CCM), Mr Khatib Said Haji (Konde-CUF) and others described the move as inhuman.

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