Samia: Mobile transactions levy will be more friendly

28Jul 2021
Henry Mwangonde
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Samia: Mobile transactions levy will be more friendly
  • *Africa CDC CEO received at State House for Covid-19 vaccine consultations

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday said the government will come up with a friendly modality on how to execute the newly-introduced mobile money levy which will not affect Tanzanians.

At a ceremony to swear in newly appointed ambassadors posted to various places globally, the president said the government has listened to concerns from the public and that a solution will be announced soon on the matter.

 “We have taken time to receive views from the people. It took us a week or two to do this and we have formed a team to look into the matter and the report will be out on Thursday (this week),” she said.

The government decided to introduce the levies to finance rural roads which were impassable and farmers were failing to transport agricultural produce to the market, she stated, underlining that the levies will remain but we will come up with a new modality “which will not harm our people.”

The government last month amended the Electronic and Postal Communications Act (CAP 306) by imposing a levy on mobile money transactions, depending on the amount sent and withdrawn.

The intention was to raise revenue collections by 1.254trn/- to partly finance the 36.68trn/- budget for the 2021/22 financial year, but upon the start of its application mid July, the deductions sparked a public outcry as they were unexpectedly much higher than envisaged.

During the event the president called for the fast- tracking of a process to formulate a new foreign policy outlook matching with current national and global needs as the current outlook is outdated, hence the need for a different posture in line with changing times.

“The new policy outlook should highlight key country needs such as the non-alignment stance which the country had since independence and enhancing our relations with other countries,” she said, urging the newly appointed envoys to link up with Tanzanians living abroad so that they can more fully contribute to the national economy.

There are hundreds of thousands of Tanzanians abroad who are eager to contribute to the national economy but there is no channel which enables them to do so, she lamented, asking the envoys to “go there to be close to these people. They are willing to contribute to building the national economy but they lack where to begin.”

The president lined up a number of tasks for the envoys to do upon arrival in their duty stations,  including finding markets for various crops or horticulture products, market the country’s investment opportunities and promote Destination Tanzania.

Figures show that Tanzanians in the Diaspora remitted a total of $188.13m into the country in 2020,, she said, noting that most of the new envoys are aged below 45 “because they have sharp brains capable of handling technological developments.”

Some will be representing Tanzania in two or more countries, therefore a younger person will be faster when needing to travel here and there if something happens, she remarked, taking exception of the likelihood of an ambassador depicting ignorance on what is happening in the country, at such envoy’s station of work.

The president touched on the scarcity of fertilizer, saying the situation was a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which caused manufacturing companies to cease production, leading to a massive demand backlog.

Countries are now engaging in farming and the government is doing all it can to ensure tht farm inputso are available and at reasonable prices, she said, citing impressions that the coming farming season risks being characterized by severe shortage of fertilizers.

The government will fast-track the construction of a massive new fertilizer manufacturing plant in Dodoma, while another is planned for Lindi, by Nigerian investor Aliko Dangote.

Meanwhile, the Director of the Africa Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC) Dr John Nkengasong has praised President Samia Suluhu Hassan for her various steps taken against the Covid-19 pandemic, saying Africa CDC supports these efforts.

Dr Nkengasong gave the praise yesterday at the State House in Dar es Salaam where they held discussions.  He said Africa CDC shall work together with AU member states including Tanzania to have in place joint plans and use opportunities available through the centre in combating the pandemic, including the procurement and distribution of vaccines.

Africa CDC has established the Trusted Travels Plan to enable citizens of AU member states to travel within and outside the continent without restrictions emanating from the Covid-19 pandemic, he stated, citing areas in which Africa CDC can work together with Tanzania as including empowering laboratories and experts to strengthen testing various variants of Covid-19.

Assistance in research and public education on how to take precautions against the pandemic is another area, where Africa CDC through the Covid-19 Platform will facilitate African countries to jointly buy equipment and other devices in prevention and treatment of the disease, he specified.

Through a special task force, Africa CDC expects to procure the vaccines needed in AU member states, he elaborated, while President Samia thanked Dr Nkengasong for his support for the government’s efforts. and informed him that already Tanzania has a special national committee coordinating all issues She said that the government was ready to work with Africa CDC experts in the matter, noting that the government has improved services by increasing treatment centres and provision of education to the public on precautions against infection.

Tanzania has joined the Covax facility which is geared for joint procurement of the vaccines, she said, pointing out that in Phase III of the Five Year Development Plan, factory facilities will be set up for the production of vaccines to fight selected infectious diseases.

Tanzania was ready to work with Africa CDC in joint efforts covering the breadth of AU member countries, she added.

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