Samia’s message to TRA should win private sector’s confidence

06Apr 2021
Finnigan wa Simbeye
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Samia’s message to TRA should win private sector’s confidence

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan’s message to the private sector is clear, “Do clean business, make profit but pay taxes.” Ever since taking over as head of state and government over a fortnight ago, President Samia has continued to undertake major appointments to stamp her authority .

President Samia Suluhu Hassan

Her first appointment was of former Finance Minister and World Bank Senior Economist, Dr Philip Isidor Mpango as Vice President, a move which has already won accolades both at home and abroad because of the record of achievements of the decorated economist.

The President who has continued to make major appointments since her coronation, is already darling of the social media and the public because many see in her new hope, predictable life and assurance that policies and regulations won’t change overnight.

Her strongest message yet borders on reconciliation and consensus building on matters pertaining to people lives, freedoms and a better environment for businesses and investors to operate. “TRA should not harass the private sector but instead work hard to broaden the tax base so that targets should be realised,” she said after swearing in a group of cabinet ministers who included new Finance Minister, Dr Mwigulu Nchemba last week.

She has maintained a consistent message by clearly stating that her government needs money to finance a myriad of mega projects initiated by the late President John Pombe Magufuli whose performance in five year and five months, remains outstanding.

Revenue collection remains an important aspect in as far as mobilising resources to finance the three mega projects currently underway countrywide which include: Dar es Salaam to Isaka standard gauge railway, Nyerere Hydro Power Project along River Rufiji, construction of new government offices in Dodoma such as Chamwino State House and several other small infrastructure projects.

The mega projects which are largely financed by domestic resources, need billions of shillings to accomplish which is why President Samia’s job portion is already defined. Following her short to the point public speeches made so far, President Samia clearly knows that the public expects the mega projects to complete on schedule and that TRA needs to boost revenue collection by becoming innovative and professional.

“If you block business people’s accounts or confiscate their cash arbitrarily, they will close shop and as such lose potential taxpayers who may decide to relocate to another country,” she charged while tasking Dr Nchemba to ensure TRA is friendly to businesses to ensure they prosper and continue paying taxes.

In making sure that she sends a clear message to the private sector that her government is ready to do fair business, madam president has followed suit with necessary appointments of Dr Mpango as Vice President, Dr Nchemba as Finance Minister and Alphayo Kidata as TRA Commissioner General.

In backing his boss’ position on the matter, Dr Mpango has also been echoing the same message, “I urge TRA to work with the private sector by following rules and regulations and not resort to arbitrary actions,” Dr Mpango said during an Easter Mass address in Dodoma this week.

Dr Mpango who was behind the success in TRA sustained revenue collection from less than 800bn/- in 2015 to over 1.4trn/- in December last year, a record collection in a single month, knows too well that using threats and muscles to force businesses pay taxes, is counterproductive.

The former Finance Minister who also had a stint at TRA in 2015 before the late Dr Magufuli appointed him as Finance Minister for the entire five years to October 2015, is conversant with revenue collection issues.

Dr Mpango and immediate former Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation Minister, Professor Palamagamba Kabudi, were the first names to be appointed as ministers soon after President Magufuli won re-election in November last year, thanks to their performance.

His naming by President Samia as VP has only restored confidence and trust in the sixth phase government led by the first woman to do so in the country ever, and Africa’s only third female head of state and government to take the top most public office constitutionally.

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