Budget committee: Revisit tourism sector tax policies

By Paul Mabeja , The Guardian
Published at 03:29 AM Jun 20 2024
Tourists enjoying good sceneries of Serengeti National Park
Photo: File
Tourists enjoying good sceneries of Serengeti National Park

THE government needs to stimulate tourism activities by reviewing tax and administrative policies governing the sector, a parliamentary committee has declared.

Oran Njeza (Mbeya Rural), chairman of the standing committee on the Budget, advised the government to seek for more loans on concessional terms to facilitate implementation of key development projects.

He underlined the need to attract investors and tourists as well as encouraging investment in various sectors, affirming that the committee advised the government to set up appropriate systems for receiving funds and investments made by nationals living in the Diaspora.

This would increase foreign currency and improve the transport sector, chiefly ports and railways, he said, presenting views of the committee on the state of the nation’s economy, the national development plan and the Budget estimates for fiscal 2024/25.

He applauded plans for borrowing a total of 2.9trn/- from outside sources to implement various development initiatives, noting that it is important for the government to find as many concessional and semi-concessional loans.

There are still a good number of development projects that need to be executed and they all need funds, he emphasised, affirming that the government needs to put in place “solid strategies to expand the scope of taxes to increase revenue collection.”

"Furthermore, the government should put in place strategies to combat the risks arising from the global economic recession as well as look at the possibility of using opportunities arising from these challenges,” he said, pointing at the possibility of completing the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project to cut petrol and diesel imports.

Citing data placing the value of the economic activities in the informal sector at 14trn/-, he said that businesses in this sector need to be recognised and registered.

There ought to be effective short and long-term initiatives for heavily investing in competitive advantage sectors of agriculture, tourism, livestock, mining and natural resources. This would further stimulate investments to achieve intended growth objectives, he said.

The government should set effective strategies to overcome impacts of climate change, create an enabling environment to stimulate the use of information and communication technology (ICT) for innovation, research, production and education, he further urged.

The current uplift of the Tanzanian economy apart, it can still be affected by risks from climate change, the Ukraine war and aggravating unrest in the Middle East, he further noted.

The committee commended efforts to reduce importation of products that can be produced locally such as edible oil, sugar, wheat and barley, pointing at the need to increase the number of crops and products for sale in auctions and increasing the number of buyers allowed in the market as the move will increase productivity among the farmers and raise foreign exchange earnings.

Building new warehouses and renovation of existing warehouses would facilitate storage of greater crop tonnage, the committee intoned.