Government Notice hurting tax revenue from forest products

Saturday November 27 2021
pic woodfuel use

Sacks of Charcoal: The government has raised the commodity levy. PHOTO|FILE

By Hellen Nachilongo

Mikumi. Revenue revenue that comes from forest products such as charcoal and timber by Conserving Forests through sustainable, forest based Enterprises support in Tanzania (Coforest) Project has dropped from Sh200 million to less than Sh10 million from 2019/20 in Ihombwe  and Ndole villages.

According to residents of Ihombwe and Ndole in Mikumi and Mvomero since the government introduced the Government Notice 417 charcoal and timber business has dropped.

  In May 2019, GN 417 was introduced to control harvesting of the forest products from all types of forests that include government land, village land and even land under CBFM.

They say that before GN 417, they were allowed to set the price according to the value and weight of charcoal.

The villagers made the remarks yesterday during by journalists organised by Tanzania Forest Conservation Group in collaboration with Community Conservation Network (Mjumita).


Ihombwe Village Executive Officer (VEO) Ms. Vashity Chimile said in 2014 before GN 417 before the effectiveness of GN 417 a 50 kilogram bag of charcoal fetched  Sh6, 750 but now the price has gone up to Sh12, 500 per bag.

"For example between 2014 and 2018 revenue that came from charcoal and harvesting increases from Sh30 to Sh200 million. The funds helped to mobilise ourselves to construct four classrooms, houses for a health worker and bought solar panel for the hospital, “he said.

Explaining on safe delivery, she said women give birth while hands of health care provider unlike in past when a nurse had to travel almost a hundred of kilometers from Mikumi to the village.

She stressed that amount of money earned  through Conserving Forests through sustainable, forest based Enterprises support in Tanzania  (Coforest) arebasically channned in development projects to scale-up the model beyond the original three districts and to strengthen mechanisms to sustain the model.

She said if the GN 417 will not be reviewed, the development of the village will be small because most communities will depend on government funds. 

He streesed that before GN 417 they used to generate Sh 10 million per month which helped them to construct some class rooms..

Ndole Village Chairman Mr Adrian Paulo said that through Coforest project they managed to obtain Sh42 million tax  from sustainable charcoal and timber harvesting.

Ndole, Village Land Resources Committee (VRC) secretary Mr Cosmas Rubwaza said 2020/2021,they had not received any charcoal due to high taxes on charcoal.

 "We have not sold charcoal. Taxes are very high. A bag of 50 kilograms is charged Sh12, 500. As you can see, customers are not coming. As you can see we have also failed to sell charcoal ourselves because the process to acquire permits is long," he said.

Earlier reports, GN 417 requires communities to protect the forests but it does not provide any incentives for the communities to invest Community Based Forest Management (CBFM).