Bus owners e-ticketing concerns

Wednesday November 25 2020
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Former Works, Transport and Communications minister Mr Isack Kamwelwe.

Dar es Salaam. Bus owners said yesterday that they were in talks with the government in a deliberate move to rectify some issues that have been identified as bottlenecks as the deadline for official shift from paper-based ticketing to digital ticketing (e-ticketing) nears. Last year, the government said, through former Works, Transport and Communications minister Mr Isack Kamwelwe, it would introduce electronic ticketing as a way of preventing unwarranted fare hikes during the festive season and also in an effort to help the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) collect its rightful amount in tax from transport proceeds.

In February this year, the Tanzania Bus Owners Association (Taboa) floated a tender for provision of electronic bus ticketing service.

And yesterday, TRA said that it would meet with stakeholders this week to deliberate on challenges and the way forward.

Taboa director of communication Mustafa Mwalongo told The Citizen yesterday that they would like to discuss with the government on ways of improving some hitches in the execution of the system.

“We believe the system is good and can even be improved if our concerns are taken on board and improved,” he said.

Explaining, he said initially there were no charges on tickets but with the new system there will be additional charges that every ticket will carry, currently put at two percent of the total value of the ticket.

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The two percent includes 1.01 percent of the deducted amount that goes to the National Internet Data Centre (NIDC), 0.5 percent to the Land Transport Regulatory Authority (Latra) and 0.49 percent to the company that owns the e-ticketing system platform.

“We want to see how this can go down,” he said.

The talks were also centred on understanding how the system will work when the system is down.

With the system in place, bus owners now want TRA to come up with another way of arriving at the right way of estimating the actual tax that they should pay at the end of the year.

“This is because the new system is now able to efficiently glean revenues and deduct tax charges,” he said.

TRA’s director of taxpayer education Richard Kayombo said in a statement that on May 28, this year the ministry in collaboration with Latra and bus owners came up with the system in a bid to improve revenue information.

“The system has been put in place by our internal experts according to regulation 22 (j) for transport licence of upcountry buses 2020 that was prepared in accordance to section 45 of transportation chapter 317,” he said.

He noted that the system is in accordance with the implementation of relevant tax supervision laws that seek to increase efficiency and transparency in the collection of right information regarding tax.

The system is also expected to ease hassles facing travellers particularly during times of high demand.