Stakeholders endorse ports authority to collect wharfage

By Guardian Reporter , The Guardian
Published at 06:36 AM Jun 17 2024
Wharfage is charged to the shipper by the terminal operator from where goods are shipped or received.
File Photo
Wharfage is charged to the shipper by the terminal operator from where goods are shipped or received.

The government has been advised to allow the Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) to start collecting port services fees (wharfage) which is currently being collected by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).

The call was made recently by transport stakeholders and economists in supporting to the recent advices given by the Members of Parliament (MPs) during an ongoing budgetary parliamentary session.

They said giving the mandate to TPA in collecting the fees will increase efficiency, although reports say the tax collection authority remains reluctant to release the source of revenue.

Port expert Emmanuel Mallya said if the government will continue to allow the collection of port services fees by TRA, will limit the port’s efficiency, which will be brought by the private sector players.

“It is like they want to suffocate TPA because wharfage is not tax but is paid for port services in order to enable it to finance its activities for sustainability,” said Mallya.

Mallya who also serves as the chairman, board of trustees of Tanzania Ship Agencies Associations (TASAA) said TRA should continue with its major role of collecting taxes, of which are stimulated by port efficiency.

“If they want to collect more taxes, you should leave the port to increase its operation capacity and improve its infrastructure and other sensitive services within the authority,” he said.

Debating on the ministry of transportations’ budget, MPs said if TRA want to collect more taxes, TPA should be allowed to collect wharfage in order to raise funds for investing in infrastructure improvement.

Easter Maleko, Member of Parliament (MP), Special Seats, said apart from good work done by the port authority, the government should now change its policies to allow it to start collecting port services fees.

Zacharia Alie, an economist based in Dar es Salaam said allowing the tax authority to continue collecting port services fees, is limiting the port capacity to increase its capacity.

“The port authority has shown good capacity of self-managing and if they will be allowed to collect wharfage, it will enable it to do more,” he said.

Tabling the national budget for financial year 2024/2025 in Dodoma last week, minister of finance Dr Mwigulu Nchemba proposed for the amendment of Port Act 2004 to return the mandate of collecting port services fees to TPA.

He said the funds collected will be deposited to the TPA’s special account at the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) and its use will be made after the authority of the government paymaster general.

“The aim of this decision is to enable the port authority to raise funds for infrastructure improvement,” he said.