JPM’s govt: TRA adds 23.4trn/- in four years revenue collection

26Nov 2019
Henry Mwangonde
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
JPM’s govt: TRA adds 23.4trn/- in four years revenue collection

THE Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) collected 58.3trn/- in the last four years and increased the number of registered tax payers from 2.2 million to 3.01million in the same period.

Msafiri Mbibo

TRA Deputy Commissioner Msafiri Mbibo told reporters yesterday that this achievement is an increase of 23.4trn/- compared to the same period in the previous government.

From fiscal 2015/16 to the past financial year TRA has collected 58.3trn/- while the same period earlier fetched 34.97trn/-, he said.

“The average monthly collection has increased from 850bn/- to 1.3trn/- and for this month alone collections have increased to 1.4trn/-, which is due to government efforts in controlling tax evasion as well as finding new revenue sources,” he explained.

During the four years the taxman has widened the use of Electronic Tax Stamps (ETS) which has helped to improve the revenue collection systems.

One of the challenges that the taxman is facing now is deliberate tax evasion and dubious businesses that avoid record keeping, he stated.

TRA recorded an increase in excise and Value Added Tax (VAT) from various domestically produced products in the first quarter of 2019/2020 following the rolling out of ETS phase two, he pointed out.

There has been a 35.3 percent increase in VAT and excise collections from spirits and wines and 5.6percent increase in tobacco in the 2019/2020 first quarter compared to the same period last year.

TRA collected 25.8bn/- from spirits and wines produced locally in the first quarter of 2018/2019 but this changed in the first quarter of this year.

Collections from tobacco also increased by 5.6percent in 2019/2020 this fiscal year.

With cigarettes, the main tobacco product, TRA collected 56.7bn/- as VAT from July to September 2019 compared to 53.7bn/- collected during the same period last year.

On soft drinks TRA collected 16.155bn- as VAT from July to September 2018 but collections rose to 19.05bn/- the same period this year.

He attributed the increase to greater flow of goods at the ports and control of export goods such as cashewnut and animal skin products.

Meanwhile, TRA has said it is willing to offer a helping hand in Uganda’s plan to roll out digital tax stamps.

TRA acting director for taxpayer services and education, Richard Kayombo said that having learnt from others, Tanzania was more than willing to extend a helping hand to Uganda and others that may wish to move from paper tax stamps to electronic ones.

He was reacting to a speech by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in Kampala last week, backing the implementation of digital tax stamps on goods that are manufactured in Uganda.

The Ugandan leader told tax collectors from across Africa who attended an African Tax Administration Forum that monitoring the production lines of manufacturing companies would help reduce leakages.

The forum came at a time when the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) launched on November 1 a project that will see manufacturers of sodas, beers, bottled water, cigarettes, wines and spirits place digital tax stamps on their products.

“President Museveni’s comment is indeed on track and confirms the decision already taken by Tanzania where we implemented the first phase from 15th January covering wines, spirits, beers and cigarettes while the second phase commenced on 1st August - covering soft drinks, water and carbonated drinks,” he said.

Tanzania has already been receiving a number of delegations as countries come to learn various digital taxation aspects like Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs), customs innovations as well as property tax revenue collection developments.

“So far, we have had a delegation from Botswana while Namibia has also proposed to send a delegation. We also learned from others before rolling out such tax innovations, sending people to Morocco, Malaysia, Turkey and Kenya,” he said.

ETS enables keeping of records of production quantities and volumes without filing by hand.

Digital Tax Stamps have enhanced technology to allow revenue agencies to monitor in real time the production capacity of manufacturers and also allow consumers to cross check if products are genuine.

The ETS management system automatically stamps the products at the end of the production line and submits the count in real time via installed devices.

ETS was introduced to replace the hitherto paper-based tax stamps initially attached to cigarettes, wines and spirits. The old system was prone to cheating of taxes through under declaration, among other malpractices.