Thursday, December 7, 2017

Govt to waive taxes on seeds producers


By Amina Juma @TheCitizenTz

Morogoro. The government has promised to waive some levies and taxes imposed on seed-producing firms in the country, a move that would boost commercial competition with neighboring countries.

Tanzania has higher agro taxes and levies compared to neighbouring countries, something which has been bogging Tanzania down when it comes to trade.

This has come after the government, in the 2017/18 Financial Year, waived 108 taxes charged on agriculture.

It was revealed yesterday by the minister for Agriculture, Dr Charles Tizeba when opening the 22nd general meeting of the National Network of Farmers Groups Tanzania (Mviwata).

The meeting was held in Morogoro yesterday.

Participants in the meeting, which brought together representatives from farmers’ groups across the Mainland, asked the minister to rectify the taxes and levies imposed on seed production so that the farmers can buy the products at cheaper prices.

The minister said before the 108 taxes were waived, coffee alone had 72 taxes while Ugandan coffee farmers were not paying any tax, thus forcing a lot of international buyers to go to Uganda, where the prices are low.

"Last year in your meeting of this kind, the government heeded your requests and waived the taxes. This year we are going to deal with seed production taxes and levies because they also have implication in the prices," said the minister.

Dr Tizeba explained that it was surprising to learn that seven taxes were imposed on seeds produced in Tanzania and a firm was required to pay $20,000 (Sh46million) in order for that firm to start seed production in the country. Besides, the same firm was required to pay $10,000 for every new kind of seed produced.

The minister said as Tanzania imposed those high charges, the neighboring countries of Kenya and Uganda imposed charges that did not reach even half the charges imposed by Tanzania, a move that turned the latter into a seed market.