Amendments for Finance Bill 2021 tabled for first reading

17Jun 2021
Henry Mwangonde
The Guardian
Amendments for Finance Bill 2021 tabled for first reading

THE Finance Bill 2021 which proposes for amendment of key tax laws to facilitate implementation of the 2021/22 national budget was tabled for first reading in Parliament on Tuesday evening.

The bill which is divided into twenty parts whereby part one deals with preliminary provisions which includes the title of the Bill and the date of which the Act shall come into operation.

Deputy minister for Finance and Planning Hamad Masauni presented the bill in Parliament where among other things the bill proposes to amend the Income Tax Act, Cap. 332 whereby section 10 is amended so as to empower the Minister to grant exemption in respect of projects funded by donors or through non-concessional loans without prior approval of the Cabinet with a view to fast track implementation of the projects.

“Part III of the Bill proposes to amend the Electronic and Postal Communications Act, Cap. 306 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 minister said.

On another note, Section 124 of the Act is proposed to be amended by imposing excise duty at the rate of 10percent on imported used motorcycles aged more than three years in order to discourage importation of used motorcycles with a view to protect the environment.

This section is further proposed to be amended in order to add to the list money transfer and payment service providers licensed under the National Payment Systems Act.

Part of the Bill proposes to amend the Government Loans, Grants and Guarantees Act, Cap 134. Section 13 is amended to enable the Government to issue a guarantee to institutions or companies to borrow an amount of money not exceeding the value of shares of the Government in the respective institution or company undertaking the project upon approval of the Cabinet.

The Finance Act 46 Part VI of the Bill proposes to amend the Gaming Act, Cap. 41 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 offshore 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 Students Loans Board Act, Cap 178 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 issuing grants, bursaries and scholarships.

The aim of the proposed amendment is to regulate the Board's powers of imposing conditions on the loans issued to students.

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