Tanzania: Shady TRA Officials Face Arrest

The Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa, has ordered the arrest of Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) staff who charge traders higher taxes above the officially-set rates.

According to the statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Mr Majaliwa said there were some TRA officials who wanted to derail the “good intention by the government” of increasing its revenues through collecting appropriate taxes.

“These officials tend to increase the amount of tax above what the traders are supposed to pay, hence making the exercise difficult or look like a punishment to the traders, something which is completely wrong,” he said, adding: “I order that all TRA staff who engage in such malpractice are hunted and held accountable.”

Mr Majaliwa encouraged the traders to report such officials to their respective regional and district commissioners (RCs and DCs) so that measures could be taken against them. “TRA tax collectors who treat the traders unfairly due to personal vendetta against them should be reported; the aim is to enable you to do your businesses smoothly and pay taxes a according to the law, ” he told the traders.

He made the statement on Sunday when addressing regional authorities from Mbeya, Katavi, Song, Rukwa, Ruvuma, Iringa and Njombe regions. He told the RCs and DCs to listen to businesspeople who have genuine complaints over unfair taxes imposed on them.

Premier Majaliwa used the platform to direct the TRA to strengthen the department for tax evaluation to put in place fair amounts of taxes that would not appear to be exploitative to the traders.

Meanwhile, the premier has directed the Immigration Services Department to control dishonest public officials who have been corrupted by illegal immigrants in exchange for permits. “There must be stringent measures to ensure that there is no non-Tanzanian who enters the country illegally.

This is because without doing so, we would be allowing our enemies get into the country. Those who will be found to have entered the country without proper permits should be arrested and charged in court,” he ordered.

Poor control on influx of illegal immigrants into the country, which leads to population increase, has been causing the government to fail to effectively implement its plans aimed at improving the lives of Tanzanians.

The duty to protect the country’s borders does not only rest in the hands of the Immigration Department, Mr Majaliwa pointed out, adding that even the RCs and DCs in border regions were duty bound to check illegal entries and suspicious activity at the borders.

Statistics available at the Immigration Department show that a total of 4,792 illegal immigrants were netted during the period from January to April. The figures indicate that only 3,495 out of a total of 7,441 foreign workers, who were granted residency permits in the same span of time applied for such permits.

“This simply means that a total of 3,998 foreign workers were slogging it out for a living illegally. Some come into this country to pursue economic prosperity. Others are smugglers of counterfeit goods.

And there are sheer opportunists who are keen on improving their tattered livelihoods,” the PM noted.

Mr Majaliwa further reminded all RCs countrywide to continue strengthening security in their areas of jurisdiction to maintain peace, so that Tanzanians could engage in economic activities peacefully.

Source: Tanzania Daily News.