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UK traffic congestion charges spark debate

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by BAK, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    UK traffic congestion charges spark debate

    By Jaston Binala

    3rd July 2010

    The government has said it does not owe the British Government unpaid traffic congestion charges slapped on diplomatic vehicles driven into the Greater London Authority (GLA) for some time.

    The Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Permanent Secretary, Sazi Salula talking to this paper over the phone dismissed a British government report asking for £753 520 (about 1,628,470,000/-) from the Tanzania government, accruing from unpaid traffic congestion charges slapped on diplomatic vehicles driven into the Greater London Authority (GLA) for some time.

    The PS expressed surprise that a diplomatic vehicle can be charged any form of tax anywhere.

    Salula said he had not seen the invoice but that he would check with the accounts department on whether or not Tanzania owed the GLA, which is an independent local government authority under the Mayor of the city of London.

    “I don't know if we are in debt there or not,” Salula said, adding: “Diplomatic missions all over the world never pay taxes.”
    The British Foreign Secretary William Hague has listed the Tanzania High Commission in the UK among diplomatic missions owing huge sums of money in the GLA in unpaid traffic congestion charges.

    At the British High Commission in Dar es Salaam, John Bradshaw, the Head of Political, Press and Projects said these charges were started in the central part of the city of London, the GLA, to reduce congestion and emissions by encouraging people to use public transport instead of cars in parts of the busy capital.

    The owner of every car which drives into the GLA is supposed to buy in advance an entry permit in the form of a ticket, he said. A computerized camera system reads the ticket and grants entry. If a car enters the GLA without this ticket, the computer system marks the car registration, identifies the owner and sends a penalty though the mail.

    The Tanzania High Commission to the UK is located inside the GLA, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation. There is no way that mission cars can keep out of Greater London.

    The South African Press Agency (Sapa) has quoted a report posted on the British parliamentary website on Tuesday saying Tanzania was one of several nations indebted through violation of the GLA traffic congestion charges rule.

    South African diplomatic staff owe more than £600 000 (Tsh. 1,296,690,000) in unpaid traffic congestion charges to the British government. In response to questions submitted to the House of Commons, the British Foreign Office revealed that 57 diplomatic missions owed more than £100 000 (Tsh. 216,115,000 ) each in traffic congestion charge fines. South Africa's diplomatic staff alone racked up 6,333 fines for not paying the charge since its introduction in February 2003.

    On the list of countries owing more than £100,000, South Africa came second to Tanzania, which had accumulated 7,203 unpaid congestion charge fines amounting to £753,520 (About Tsh. 1,628,470,000). Zambia had 3,355 fines outstanding, Zimbabwe 3,038, Mauritius 2 370, Namibia 2,362, Swaziland 2,267, Mozambique 2,035, Lesotho 1,927 and Botswana 1,623.

    The fees and the fines go towards upgrading the city's transport infrastructure. The British government raised more than £137-million for the financial year 2007/8, while at the same time reducing the number of cars on the designated roads by about 70,000 a day.

    Diplomatic staff enjoys immunity from prosecution in terms of the Vienna Convention and this means they also do not have to pay certain taxes. However, the British government and the company that runs the congestion charges scheme reject the argument by some diplomatic staff that the charge is a form of tax, preferring to liken it to a highway toll.




    SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
     
  2. RRONDO

    RRONDO JF-Expert Member

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    Jul 3, 2010
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    naona nchi za kiafrika ndio zimetia fora hapo....je ni wao pekee wenye balozi within hio GLA??
     
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