During her tour of Arusha Region earlier this week, President Samia Suluhu Hassan, among other things, called for a review of levies on livestock with a view to spurring the sub-sector’s growth.
The directive was in response to a situation she witnessed in Longido District. It was reliably communicated that the multi-billion-shilling and ultra-modern Eliya Food Overseas meat plant was having difficulty operating at full capacity due to livestock keepers’ unwillingness to sell their animals to the factory.
It was further revealed that herders were being put off by numerous levies imposed on livestock by local authorities at auctions.
Rather than sell their animals to the new facility, herders opt to take them to auctions in neighbouring Kenya, where such levies have been scrapped.
Not surprisingly, the factory has been operating at only 30 percent of its installed capacity due to a lack of animals.
It is safe to conclude that the scenario in Longido District is representative of the situation in several other sectors.
It will be recalled that President Hassan recently ordered a revision of levies, charges and taxes on fuel. The decision prevented retail prices from skyrocketing, with the industry regulator announcing only a marginal increase.
Paying taxes and levies is a civic duty as it ensures that the government gets the revenue it needs to implement development projects.
However, it is counterproductive when the public views levies as excessive and exploitative as is the case in Longido District.
When a levy becomes reason for poor social and economic development of the people in any part of the country, then it needs to be reviewed since it is an impediment to development instead of facilitating the same.
Levies should not add extra burden on Tanzanians, the majority of whom are locked in what seems to be an endless struggle to make ends meet.
BOOST E.AFRICA TECH FUNDING
Africa seeks to harness and apply science, technology and related innovations to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. This is stipulated in the Technology and Innovation Consolidated Plan of Action of the African Ministerial Council.
To succeed, adequate funding is needed for scientific, technological and innovative projects. It is therefore disappointing that such projects are starved of funds within the East African Community (EAC).
If this trend continues, it may become impossible to create wealth and improve the living standards of East Africans as a whole. Reports that nearly all EAC member nations are unable to undertake scientific, technological and innovative projects because of insufficient fund allocations for the purpose are disheartening.
Other bottlenecks include lack of reliable data and indicators of the current status of science and technology development, as well as lack of innovation mechanisms. EAC nations need to scale up funding for the envisaged projects.
By so doing, the EAC would be competitive economically. It would also effectively tackle infrastructure and healthcare challenges, and East Africans would prosper as a result.