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When numbers matter more than arguments!!!

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by nngu007, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. nngu007

    nngu007 JF-Expert Member

    Jun 26, 2011
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
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    By In2EastAfrica - Sun Jun 26, 2:24 pm
    [​IMG] Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mustafa Mkulo

    No matter how many times the opposition camp may raise pertinent issues in the Tanzanian Parliament when debating various matters, their arguments are rarely heard or respected as numbers seem to matter more than arguments.

    From the start of the ongoing parliamentary meeting here, opposition MPs have been raising crucial matters but owing to the small number in the House they have invariably stumbled in having their arguments accepted by the government.

    This was obvious this week when Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Mustafa Mkulo tabled the Finance Bill, 2011 that aimed at making a legislative proposal for the imposition and alteration of certain taxes, duties, fees and amending certain written laws relating to collection and management of public revenue.

    The Opposition Chief Whip Tundu Lissu (Chadema- Singida East), Kabwe Zuberi Zitto (Chadema- Kigoma North) and John Mnyika (Chadema- Ubungo) raised serious arguments but CCM capitalised on their numbers to defeat them.

    Every time an argument was raised by the opposition camp that appeared to defeat the government, Speaker Anne Makinda issued the ruling by votes.

    According to a booklet with a list of MPs in the 10th Parliament, there are 259 ruling party legislators while the opposition camp has only 90 MPs.

    Tax exemptions was the area that attracted a heated debate after Lissu and Mnyika faulted the government plan of exempting tax to businesses registered under the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) or Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for ten years.

    Granting ten-year tax holiday to businesses registered under EPZ and SEZ appeared to remind the public, MPs inclusive, of the time when investors in hotel industry were enjoying five- year tax holiday, but when such period approached expiry the investors sold the hotels to other businessmen or changed the names of the hotels.

    The refusal granting 10-year tax holiday to businesses registered under EPZ and SEZ was supported by CCM legislator George Simbachawene (CCM-Kibakwe), proposing reducing the time to only five years for a "win-win" situation. But the votes ruled in favour of the government proposal.

    For example, Lissu tried as best as he could to explain how tax exemptions in the mining sector hindered the country's economic growth but the government was adamant, refusing to take his advice.

    Lissu despite citing various presidential reports on mining – compiled by Dr Jonas Kipokola, Lawrence Masha and Judge Mark Bomani that among other things called for scrapping of all tax exemptions in the mining sector – his explanations fell on "deaf "government" ears.

    Lissu clarified that as a result of tax exemptions the government has been losing billions of shillings, enriching investors at the expense of the wananchi.

    He said it was ridiculous to continue crying over poor contribution of the mining sector to the national economic growth while the same government was granting tax exemptions irresponsibly.

    Taxing allowances paid to public leaders was another area, with the MP saying since the beneficiaries of allowances was a section of the public with reasonable income it was imperative to tax them to increase government revenue.

    Lissu was also against the government's decision to grant tax exemption on the withholding tax on fish transportation by foreign aircraft and on income derived from investments or businesses conducted in the EPZ or SEZ.

    However, Mkullo defended this aspect, saying it would raise the income of the employees and attract freights to land in the country thereby promoting investments.

    As the debate on granting tax exemption on aircraft landing in the country to transport fish raged on Deputy Minister for Trade and Industries Lazaro Nyalandu stood up to defend the proposal, saying foreign aircraft that intended to transport fish from Mwanza to Europe have been avoiding landing Tanzania as a result of tax.

    This prompted Lissu to argue that such argument did not hold water considering that in the 1990's aircraft landed in Mwanza despite the tax imposed on them.

    By Rodgers Luhwago, The Guardian