Thursday, July 13, 2017

AN UPHILL TASK that the taxman MUST KNOW

Tanzania Revenue Authority on Tuesday released its full year results for the 2016/17 financial year, in which the Taxman posted a 7.6 per cent growth over the previous year’s performance. TRA reported that Sh14.4 trillion was collected during the year when compared to Sh13.3 trillion that was collected in the 2015/16 financial year.

While we congratulate TRA for this growth, it should be noted, however, that the agency fell short of its own target of Sh15.1 trillion for the ending year. That means Sh700 billion less, a not so miniscule figure to TRA not to worry about.

It should be remembered that perhaps due to this missed target, funding for development in the last financial year was unsatisfactory. The minister for Finance, Dr Philip Mpango, reported in Parliament that the government planned in that year to spend Sh11.8 trillion for development. But only Sh4.5 trillion had been spent by April. The effect is that most planned activities did not receive requisite funding to stimulate growth.

This gap is too huge and definitely not good for the nation, for it suggests that more than 60 per cent of budgeted for development activities went begging or not taking-off at all. Today, we want to believe that TRA knows that the task ahead of it will be even more daunting this year, for the government budget raised the expectation of hitting Sh31.7 trillion in the new 2017/18 financial year.

Out of this, TRA will be expected to raise Sh17.1 trillion. The development budget has been set at Sh12 trillion. With a depressed financial sector and with slow support from donors and mounting debt bills for the government to pay, it is not far fetched to lay it bare on TRA, that it will need all the ingenuity it can muster to help plug the huge gap in tax targets.

Being self-reliant in funding our own development projects should be a priority and helping the productive sectors of the economy to generate more wealth cannot be overemphasised, for it is in this wealth that TRA can gain more in form of tax.     

Diabetes-free TZ is possible

        Diabetes is a noncommunicable disease (NCD) associated with metabolic disorders in which there are high blood sugar levels in a patient.

Many people may not be familiar with its symptoms, which include frequent urination, feeling very thirsty, extreme fatigue, cuts or bruises that take too long to heal or don’t heal at all, tingling, pain or numbness in the hands or feet.

Experts suggest that curbing this killer disease in Tanzania and eastern African countries is likely to increase from $3.8 billion in 2015 to $16.2 billion by (Sh34 trillion) 2030.

It is possible to contain it if one maintains one’s healthy lifestyle and seeks medical advice on time. But if untreated, it can result in cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, foot ulcers, damage to the eyes or death. Given the human cost involved, we think diabetes, just like other NCDs, needs more attention.

The government and health stakeholders have been raising public awareness on diabetes and other NCDs and how to prevent them. We think that, more public awareness on NCDs is still needed for the very fact NCDs are mainly caused by unhealthy lifestyles, which many people may not be aware of. It’s possible to create a diabetes-free Tanzania if we maintain healthy lifestyles.