Monday, June 20, 2016

Law makers adds Tsh. 50/- levy on petroleum products

MEMBERS of parliament have proposed a levy of 50/- for every liter of petrol and diesel sold in the country towards establishment of a Rural Water Fund to supply the precious liquid in the countryside. In their on-going contributions to the budget estimates for the financial year 2016/2017 sessions presented on June 8 by Finance and Planning Minister Philip Mpango, the lawmakers said the fund was the only way the government would be able to smoothly implement water projects in rural areas. Special Seats MP, Rose Tweve (CCM) was hopeful that a total of 300bn/- would be realised per annum if the levy is introduced. “Out of the funds, 270bn/- should be channelled to water projects in rural areas and the remaining 30bn/- to improve health facilities,” the MP suggested. The proposed levy was also contained in the report of the Parliamentary Budget Committee on the budget presented by its chairperson Ms Hawa Ghasia (Mtwara Rural-CCM) in the National Assembly on June 10, this year. On his part, Nyamagana MP, Mr Stanslaus Mabula (CCM) went further and recommended tax exemptions on all equipment used in water projects. “In his budget speech, Dr Mpango proposed tax waiver on water treatment chemicals but I am of the view that the exemption should be extended to all equipment used in water projects countrywide,” he suggested. Mkuranga MP, Mr Abdallah Ulega (CCM) also added weight on the proposal, complaining that water woes in rural areas were critical and thus the need to create the fund. On the other hand, Mr Ulega faulted the proposed increase on Value Added Tax (VAT) on tourism services, noting that the move will cripple the lucrative industry which contributed 25 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during 2014/2015 where it earned the country 8trl/- in revenues. Other MPs legislators who supported the levy include Mufindi North MP, Mr Mahmoud Mgimwa (CCM) and his Nachingwea counterpart, Mr Hassan Massala (CCM) who proposed a levy of between 20/- and 50/- for every liter of petrol and diesel. Mr Mgimwa noted further that the suggested levy will not increase the inflation rate, explaining that even when the government increased fuel levies during fiscal year 2014/2015 the price of oil stabilised at between 1,600/- and 1,900/- per liter given declining prices of the liquid in the world market. The Geita Urban MP, Mr Constantine Kanyasu (CCM) decried suggested waiver on tax exemptions to gratuity paid to lawmakers at the end of their tenure, claiming that Tanzanian MPs are less paid compared to their counterparts in the region. He claimed that local parliamentarians are paid a total of US $5,000 dollars per month in salaries and allowances while their colleagues in Kenya and Rwanda part home with US $11,000 and US $9,000 dollars, respectively. MPs in Uganda and South Sudan, according to Mr Kanyasu, are paid US $8,000 and US $7,000 dollars, respectively, as lawmakers in Burundi earn US $6,000 dollars each month.

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