Tag Archives: tax

Tanzania’s draft extractive industries laws say a lot about transparency. Highlights and initial thoughts

UPDATE 17/6/15: From the published parliamentary timetable, it appears that the government intends to pass these three bills under a certificate of urgency. The current parliamentary session has been extended until July 8, 2015, for this purpose. I have amended this post accordingly. I have also added some information relating to which of the bills are set to apply to Zanzibar, and which to Mainland Tanzania only.

Set to become a thing of the past? (Source: The Citizen, 7/11/14)

Set to become a thing of the past? (Source: The Citizen, 7/11/14)

A long-awaited series of bills governing the extractive industries sector in Tanzania has just been published: The Petroleum Bill, The Oil and Gas Revenue Management Bill, and The Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency and Accountability Bill. All three are due to be presented to parliament shortly – just a few months before the elections.

I will leave it to others to examine the bills in detail – there is a lot here, over 200 pages in all. But what do these laws say about transparency in the sector? I have collated some highlights. Continue reading

Chart of the week #15: Getting a good deal from natural gas?

Kipanya in Mwananchi, June 2014

Expectations: Kipanya in Mwananchi, June 2014

Natural gas is a game changer in Tanzania, both economically and politically. The latest reports suggest that there may be as much as 51 trillion cubic feet available, not huge by global standards, but enough to have raised expectations sky high – see cartoon. The public and policy makers are excited, and it’s already having significant effects on both local and national politics.

Zitto Kabwe wrote recently:

“One Minister stated in the Parliament that “with the natural gas reserves Tanzania has, poverty will be history”. How I wish it was that simple! A plus and minus equation. Unfortunately the reality is opposite. There are chains of evidence that resources, due to many factors engraved within a ‘lesser’ leader, may lead to curse.”

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Trade, tax and superhero number crunchers

For the bean-counters shall inherit the earth, as I’m sure somebody once said.

Accountants have a clever trick – the unscrupulous ones – to keep the rest of us fooled. By making something sound as uninteresting as possible, we have a hard time paying attention long enough to understand what they’re saying. So we miss the point.

Take misinvoicing, for example. Could anything possibly sound less interesting than that?

Well, let me see if I can get your attention: between 2002 and 2011, Tanzania lost an average of $248m per year in tax revenues through misinvoicing. It’s illegal, and it’s on the rise. Continue reading

E-tax in Kinondoni

Kinondoni Council published a statement a couple of weeks ago claiming some remarkable gains in their tax revenue, resulting from their adoption of electronic means of tax collection.

They’ve set up two new ways for people to submit their tax, rather than queuing for a long time at the bank and/or the council offices. People can use one of the 171 Max-Malipo agents in Kinondoni or can pay using mobile money – either Voda’s M-Pesa service or Tigo Pesa.

But what’s most interesting about this is the claims the council makes about the impact of these changes on their tax revenues. I’ve turned two of these claims into a simple chart:

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Investments to End Poverty, in Tanzania

Development Initiatives, where I briefly worked earlier this year, has a fascinating new report out. It’s called Investments to End Poverty, and aims to document as accurately as possible the size and nature of all the resource that are available for poverty reduction. Duncan Green at Oxfam calls it “a goldmine of killer facts and infographics“. I’m going digging, to see if I can find a few nuggets.

In particular, this post will mostly look at what the report says about Tanzania. But first, some more detail on the report as a whole.

The report details aid flows from traditional donors, of course, but also goes much further – looking at private investment, loans, remittances, aid spending by NGOs and non-traditional donors, for example. And as the chart below shows, these other sources of funds now dwarf aid (official development assistance, or ODA).

figure 2.8, from ITEP p.43

from ITEP, p.43

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On the back of an envelope: Tanzania’s #NoSimCardTax mess

sim card

It’s a tiny little thing, just 2.5cm long, 1.5cm wide and a millimeter thick. And yet it has found itself at the centre of a political storm in Tanzania. I’m talking, of course, about mobile phone sim cards.*

In case you missed it, the Tanzanian budget, passed last month by parliament, included provision for some new taxes, most notably a tax on mobile phone sim cards. It’s set at TZS 1,000/- (around $0.60) per month. And it’s in a mess. Continue reading

Changing headlines in HabariLeo, but why?

HabariLeo newspaper seems to have engaged in an intriguing bit of late revisionism today. Take a look at the two images below – from the printed edition of the government-owned paper (on the left), and then from the online version of the same article (on the right).

HabariLeo print and online headlines - 22/7/13

HabariLeo print and online headlines – 22/7/13

For those who don’t speak Swahili, the difference in headlines here is significant. Continue reading