THE government has tabled the Finance Bill 2021, which among other things, seeks proposes to amend the Income Tax Act, so as to empower the Minister to grant exemption in projects funded by donors or through non-concessional loans without prior approval of the Cabinet.
This, according to Deputy Minister of finance and Planning Hamad Yusuph Masauni, aims to fast track implementation of key development projects.
The bill has further proposed to amend some provisions of the legislation, so as to introduce a regime of taxing income earned by small scale miners in order to expand tax base and enhance compliance.
The Bill seeks to further impose and alter certain taxes, duties, levies, fees and to amend certain written laws relating to the collection and Management of public revenue.
Mr Masauni told the August House that the Bill also proposes to amend the Companies Act in order to remove the concept of share warrant in the Companies Act. Consequently, provisions have been added to restrict issuance of share warrant and provide for transitional measures for share warrants already issued.
According to him, the objective of the amendment is to strengthen the transparency of beneficial owners of legal entities and restrict the issuance and circulation of share warrant.
The Bill also proposes to amend the Electronic and Postal Communications Act by imposing a levy on airtime depending on the consumer's ability to top up in order to raise funds for implementation of development and strategic projects.
"The Fourth Schedule of the Bill is further amended by increasing excise duty rates for locally produced and imported spirits by 30 percent in order to increase the Government revenue; reduce excise duty rate for beer made from 100percent of locally grown barley in order to promote local barley farming," he added.
Section 124 of the Bill proposes amendment by imposing excise duty at the rate of 10percent on imported used motorcycles aged more than 3 years in order to discourage importation of used motorcycles with a view to protect the environment.
The Finance Bill also proposes to amend the Gaming Act, whereby section 31A is amended to reduce gaming tax on winnings with a view to encourage players to opt for local gaming activities instead of off shore gaming activities.
Further, the Second Schedule is amended by increasing gaming tax on sports betting and introducing a tax rate for virtual games and other gaming products licensed under section 51 of the Gaming Act in order to increase Government revenue.
Part VII of the Bill proposes to amend the Higher Education Student's Loans Board Act whereby section 7 is amended by imposing a requirement of seeking approval of the Minister and publication in the Gazette before the Board exercises its powers of setting criteria and conditions for granting of student's loans and issuinggrants, bursaries and scholarships. The aim of the proposed amendment is to regulate Board's powers of imposing conditions on the loans issued to students.