Dar es Salaam. Official data from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) shows an upward trend in revenue collection in the past four years. TRA has been steadily reducing the gap between actual collections and targets.
Data available on the authority’s website shows that during the entire 2019/20 financial year, the taxman garnered Sh17.2 trillion in tax revenue.
This was about 90 percent of a target of collecting Sh19.1 trillion for the entire financial year to partly contribute to the execution of the government’s Sh33.1 trillion revenue and expenditure plan.
The taxman’s 2019/20 financial year performance was a massive improvement on its 2018/19 performance when it collected Sh15.4 trillion which was equivalent to about 86 percent of the target.
In that particular financial year, TRA had a target of collecting Sh18 trillion. The government’s annual budget was pegged at Sh32.5 trillion.
During the preceding financial year (2017/18), a target of collecting Sh17.1 trillion was met by 89 percent when Sh15.1 trillion was collected.
However, TRA declined to comment on the improving trend, but analysts believe the development points to enhancement in good governance at the tax collecting body.
“You will realise that President John Magufuli has changed commissioners general at TRA on several occasions because he was searching for the right formula. The improvement witnessed could be an indication that we have found the right formula,” said University of Dar es Salaam economist, Dr Abel Kinyondo.
During Dr Magufuli’s almost five years as president, TRA has had a total of five commissioners general.
He came to power at a time when the tax body was under Mr Rished Bade as commissioner general.
From the removal of Mr Bade, President Magufuli appointed Dr Philip Mpango to head the tax collecting body but he was soon to be moved to become Finance minister and Mr Alphayo Kidata, who was previously permanent secretary in the Ministry of Land, Housing and Human Settlements Development, was appointed the new TRA commissioner general in December 2015.
In March 2017, Mr Kidata was moved to become permanent secretary in the President’s Office and the TRA commissioner general’s post was filled by Mr Charles Kichere.
In June 2019, Mr Kichere was to be replaced by the current commissioner general, Dr Edwin Mhede.
Analysis of TRA’s actual collections for the financial year 2019/20 shows that the record collection remains the one that was attained in December 2019 when a total of Sh1.92 trillion was garnered.
The record collection was also manifested on quarterly basis when the second quarter of the 2019/20 financial year emerged as one with the highest amount. The taxman garnered Sh4.8 trillion in that particular quarter. With collections amounting to Sh4.4 trillion and Sh4.3 trillion respectively, the third and the first quarter of the 2019/20 financial year were the second and third best periods, according to TRA data.
The fourth quarter of the 2019/20 financial year saw the taxman collecting only Sh3.7 trillion.
According to the 2020/21 budget, TRA will be expected to raise Sh20.3 trillion to partly finance the Sh34.8 trillion revenue and expenditure plan.