TRA’s Deputy Commissioner for Domestic Revenue Michael Mhoja told the ‘Daily News’ in an interview here that arrangements for the ambitious scheme have already been launched.
To start with, TRA has embarked on a special mission to identify all petty traders operating in the country and issue them with special Identity Cards for easy management, he said.
Mr Mhoja said the tax collection agency has set a target of registering five million petty traders annually to meet the 15 million target in three years as part of the government strategy to increase revenues through widened tax base.
“So, we have worked on this ambitious arrangement and concluded that it works...studies show that few people buy from malls and shops, with majority buying from petty traders... this is the basis of starting to tax them while giving them sustainable capacity building programmes,” said Mr Mhoja.
TRA strong team under Commissioner General Charles Kicheere is in the Lake Zone to, among others, meet entrepreneurial groups and petty traders whom they issue with special IDs as per President John Magufuli’s directive.
While in Mwanza region last year, President Magufuli ordered the local government authorities countrywide to stop harassing petty traders and instead create enabling environments for them to operate profitably and willingly pay statutory government revenues to contribute to the building of the national economy.
Mr Mhoja said TRA Board of Directors has already approved the strategy and directed the authority, through its taxpayers’ education department, to embark on public education on tax issues before supporting petty traders financially, including loans, to sustain and expand their businesses.
With data, Mr Mhoja said Tanzania with over 50 million people had slightly over two registered taxpayers with domestic revenue leading by contributing 60 percent of all the collected revenue while Customs contributes 40 percent.
“This tax base is very small compared with the land’s population and that is why we have now embarked on its expansion. To start with, we have designed the tax scheme, which will accommodate all eligible and potential income earners for effective revenue collection,” he said.
While in Mwanza over the weekend, Mr Kicheere said the special IDs are being issued at 10,000/- to petty traders who will use them for three years consecutively, challenging them to form special groups to trace and reach them easily.
Mwanza Regional Commissioner John Mongela commended TRA for the nonstop registration drive, urging the business community to embrace the taxpaying culture if they have to operate legally and conveniently.
Over 130 entrepreneurs and petty traders groups will get registration in Mwanza region, with 30 IDs already issued to the first members who have met the set criteria.
Apart from Mwanza, Mr Kicheere and his team have already visited Geita region and are expected to be in Simiyu from today for a similar mission.