FARMERS in the country will now be able to earn more from their produce after the government scrapped 80 out of 139 levieson agricultural products in the 2017/ 18 financial year.
The sigh of relief may also extend to the consumers of agricultural products because following the scrapping of the nuisance taxes, the prices of the affected products would most probably fall.
The move by Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Minister Charles Tizeba follows persistent cries by farmers and other stakeholders to do away with the levies because they were hurting the agricultural sector.
Speaking while tabling his ministry’s 2017/18 budget estimates in the National Assembly in Dodoma yesterday where he askedParliament to approve Sh267,865,782, 829, the minister said the levies saw end-users of agricultural products pay higher prices. This, he added, lowered production since the cost of production remained burdensome to farmers.
Tizeba said in the same year, the ministry would also remove some 23 levies charged on livestock and five others charged on fisheriesproducts. He elaborated that in the agricultural sector the government will do away ten levies charged on tobacco products, 17 on coffee, 16 on sugar, and two on cotton.
The decision will also see some 20 levies charged by the Tanzania Cooperative Development Commission scrapped altogether.
Other levies which will also no longer exist cone next financial year include a staggering $400 tax charged for a license to buy dark fire-cured tobacco (DFC), a $ 1000 fee for a licence to sell coffee outside the country and $20 licence fee for purchase of parchment dry cherry coffee,$250 processing licence fee and Sh450,000 paid by each cotton processing factory as contribution to the Uhuru Torch race.
“The aim of the government is to reduce or completely do away with nuisance taxes and levies that have remained a huge burden to farmers, pastoralists and other agriculture stakeholders,” said the minister.
He assured Parliament that the government would continue analyzing other remaining levies and fees with a view to assessing their continued existence in order to give relief to farmers, pastoralists and fishermen.
Meanwhile, the minister told the House that the government will from July, this year, slap a ban on the slaughter of donkeys following their dwindling numbers in the country.
He said the animals, whose number was estimated at 500,000 nationwide, faced extinction in Tanzania if the rate at which they were being slaughtered was left unchecked, adding that the aim was to see the workforce provided by the animals continue in the country.
After every three weeks at least 40 tonnes of donkey meat is exported to foreign countries where the product is widely consumed, thanks to the recently established donkey slaughterhouse in Dodoma.
For more than a year in which a Chinese company, Huacheng International, which is located in Kizota area in Dodoma municipality, has been in operation, over 18,000 donkeys, mainly from the Central Zone, are estimated to have been slaughtered.
The company, according reliable sources, slaughters up to 200 donkeys per day when operating at full capacity and export at least five 40-foot containers weighing about 28 tonnes each after every three weeks.