President John Magufuli has tasked the newly-appointed regional commissioners (RCs) and district commissioners (DCs) to ensure that all eligible taxpayers meet their obligations and pay due amounts to boost the country's coffers.
He also asked the new leaders to maintain security for all Tanzanians by virtue of their position as heads of defence and security committees in the regions and districts.
Dr Magufuli issued the directives yesterday soon after swearing-in three new regional commissioners at a ceremony held at the State House in Dar es Salaam.
Early this week, President Magufuli made a mini-reshuffle in the line-up of RCs in three regions and appointed 139 district commissioners (DCs), dropping several others from the current list.
At the ceremony, President Magufuli expressed his keenness on the supervision of revenue collection, saying the government would not hesitate to take stern action against anybody who would fail to meet requisite tax collection obligation. Issuing directives to the new regional and district 'governors', the president asked them to ensure that they maximise revenue collection in their areas of jurisdiction, including sealing loopholes for tax evasion.
He revealed that the state machineries were holding one businessperson in connection with tax evasion and occasioning loss of trillions of shillings to the government through Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs) machines. Without mentioning names, Dr Magufuli said that the businessperson, who had several companies, was making transactions amounting to between 7m/- and 8m/- in a minute on a daily basis.
To evade tax, various companies that colluded with Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) officials and Business Registration and Licensing Agency (BRELA) were remitting 5 per cent of VAT to the businessperson.
At the end of the day, the suspected tax evader was supposed to pay 18 per cent of VAT to TRA. But he used dubious means to seek tax exemptions, thus denying the government of both 5 and 18 per cent of VAT amounting to trillion of shillings. "He/she is in safe hands (literally meaning he is in police custody); we are currently looking on how we will recover our money," he told his audience.
He further outlined the criteria that he used in picking the new RCs and DCs. According to Dr Magufuli, the new DCs, who will be sworn-in by their respective RCs after arriving in their respective regions, were appointed after a rigorous vetting process and after considering their experience and history. He said those whose names were dropped in the new line-up failed to meet the set target in the previous administration.
He said 22 people from District and Municipal Executive Directors were promoted to become DCs after they discharged their duties well to record the highest level of performance.
In the new appointment, the president said, unlike in the previous administrations, where a single person could have two leadership positions, "when appointing the new DCs, I decided that one should have one position in leadership to increase efficiency.
" He gave an example of the decision to revoke the appointment of Rombo District Commissioner, Ms Fatma Hassan Toufiq, who she replaced with Ms Agness Hokororo. The revocation came after realising that he had appointed a person who doubles as a Member of Parliament (MP).
"In my government, it will be one person, one job," he insisted. The president told the appointed leaders that the majority of Tanzanians faces a myriad of problems, challenging them to solve them upon arrival in their respective duty stations.
"Do not be sources of those problems; instead you should observe integrity, responsibility, rule of law and avoid engaging yourself in corruption," he told them adding: "I understand that you have huge discretionary powers, including that of detaining people for 48 hours.
But you should make sure that you avoid abusing those powers." On security, the president asked the new leaders to ensure that the existing country's peace was maintained.
"Whoever interferes with your duties, I would allow you to use the powers vested on you because you are my representatives," he assured them. The swearing-in ceremony was also attended by Vice-President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, Chief Secretary (CS), Ambassador John Kijazi and heads of defence and security forces, among others.
The RCs who took oath of office are Dr Binilith Mahenge, former Minister of State in the Vice-President's Office (Environment and Union Affairs) - Ruvuma; former Sengerema DC Zainab Telack (Shinyanga) and former Siha DC Dr Charles Mlingwa (Mara).
In his remarks, Premier Majaliwa asked the new RCs and DCs to observe discipline, responsibility and accountability, saying their appointment by Dr Magufuli was prompted by the trust he had on them.
"You have a big task ahead of you. You should work hard to implement the president's directives as enshrined in the party's manifesto as well as the promises he made to Tanzanians when inaugurating the Parliament on November 20, last year.
On her part, Ms Samia asked the new DCs to ensure that they put measures in place that would ensure that no Tanzanian dies of hunger.
Source: Tanzania Daily News