Dar es Salaam. The Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) has issued a month ultimatum to 143 clearing and forwarding companies to provide documentary proof that goods in transit they handled reached their destinations.
The authority warned that any freight forwarding firm that would fail to provide such proof would risk having its licence revoked.
Briefing journalists in the city yesterday, the vice president of Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (Taffa), Mr Edward Urio, said that last Friday, the TRA Commissioner for Customs suspended the said companies from operating.
However, he said, Taffa met with the Commissioner and implored the authority to allow the firms to continue operating as they prepared the required proof.
“It’s true that some of our members had problems and as such they were suspended from operating all because they did not produce documents showing that the goods in transit they handled reached the declared destinations, but this suspension has been relaxed after our meeting with TRA,” said Mr Urio.
He further explained that the reason for the suspension was based on the over 15,000 transit containers that were seen on the TRA system as not having crossed into their destinations of Malawi, Zambia and other countries.
However, he said collaboration between TRA and tax authorities in the respective countries would help in obtaining proof as to whether the goods reached their destinations or not.
TRA’s Tax Payer Services and Education director Richard Kayombo told The Citizen over the phone that the Commissioner gave room to the companies for them to fulfil their duties and comply with the laws.
Moreover, Mr Kayombo admitted that there were some problems in the TRA system but this was no excuse as freight forwarders were aware of other procedures they can use to fulfil their duty.
One Taffa member, who asked not to be named, told The Citizen that last Saturday and on Monday he was supposed to receive an oil tanker from which TRA alone was going to fetch a cool Sh3.7 billion in taxes and duties. “But due to the problems caused by the TRA system, my company will be required to pay 2 per cent of the value in penalties. We had submitted all the transit documents to the authority,” he said.