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Budget: Govt. revenues and Corruption

Discussion in 'Biashara, Uchumi na Ujasiriamali' started by David Nkulu, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. D

    David Nkulu Member

    Jun 20, 2009
    Joined: Jul 25, 2008
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    Dear JF Members,

    It is childishly obvious that any country’s ports (both sea and inland) are most important hubs of economic activities. Economy is what makes the country run, exist and flourish. Economic activities are mostly channelled through imports and exports thus allowing any country to compete with other countries in the world markets and consequently gain an income that satisfies people’s needs for goods and services.

    Any port in any country is a serious place where national income is at stake. It is here that imported and exported goods are taxed, customs and excise duties are charged. Any macroeconomist specialist will tell you that get your taxation policies right, tax collection points right then you have done a major part of your budgetary plans.

    It is strange and incomprehensible to find that a country like ours has a laizzes-faire attitude towards its ports. Dar-es-Salaam port, despite its huge potential and importance to our weak and unsustainable economy, has been left to grow into the “mother of corruption and inefficiency” that significantly contributes to low national income. It is safe to say that Dar-es-Salaam port caters for its workers, rather than clients and the country. This has been so for years immemorial!

    If you doubt or dispute this, try to import or export anything through these ports and see for yourself what these people are capable of. It is unbelievable, horrific, awesome yet true. Anything goes and they have no scruples. They pocket and continue to pocket more than what the government earns. Yet, we are told that they meet and beat their targets every year!

    The government has tried to put in place new arrangements, introducing privatisation. Under new arrangements: “The Landlord shall develop short and long term plans for the development of basic port infrastructure, which will enable ports to function more efficiently. The Landlord shall be responsible for maintenance of infrastructure and superstructure such as access roads, rail, navigational aids and utilities. The Landlord shall also be responsible for maintenance of peace and security at the ports and will endeavour to promote economic and commercial activities through advertisement and establishment of good communication network within the port. The Landlord shall equally keep environments of the ports so that they remain clean, safe and conducive for port operations. Furthermore, the Landlord shall be responsible for the promotion and development of surface transport between the hinterland and neighbouring countries.”

    Well TRA, THA, TPA, private sector etc. are all stooges of rampant corruption and massive egocentrism. Despite theoretical efforts by the government and parliament NOTHING HAS CHANGED!! People involved are known to unashamedly demand and collect massive sums of money from every client through bribes and kickbacks that deprive our country lawful and legal income. These individuals are amongst the richest in this poor country. They are known to own businesses, shops, luxury houses and cars that cannot be explained or justified by their salaries and bonuses.

    Long queues, massive bureaucratic procedures, rampant corruption, unexplainable inefficiency, clients’ humiliation and disregard to basic business principles are driving prospective international users abroad to Mombasa and Mozambique ports. These individuals who are the root cause of these problems do not mind so long as their pockets are booming with illegal bribes and dirty cash.

    That is why we are all astonished when despite these facts being well known to our leaders, no action is being taken to repair the damage. We are even more perplexed when the finance minister while recognizing that he does not have enough tax base to collect from, and cover his whole expenditures from within the country, puts more emphasis on registering new sources of income!

    How is he going to achieve that, the FM did not disclose. It is easier to focus on existing tax sources and manage them efficiently than trying to look for new sources that may be elusive in locating. There are billions that are escaping through Dar-es-Salaam sea and land ports, TRA that could seriously repair the state of our budget. Simultaneously, it will be delivering good service not only to citizens, but businesses as well, that deserve it, despite paying massively – legal fees and illegal fees on top of those.

    The fact remains that despite amassing huge sums of illegal incomes, building luxurious and expensive houses, owning shops and businesses, these individuals suffer as we all do, due to lack of public services that should have been funded by monies that they hijack. Thus they also suffer from rationed electricity, unreliable supply of water (not talking about clean water!), poor road conditions, unreliable medical care, poor schools, etc. These are thieves that steal from our shared income despite being paid by all of us to save the nation. This is morally wrong and cannot be justified by any standards.

    Having said that, I am painfully aware that all this is simplified and understandable by all involved. Port, TRA workers who demand and collect bribes. Government officials and ministers who oversee these port workers as well as oversee TRA. The problem is that, those in the position of power serve two masters. They have been paralysed by two sets of interests that prove to be too strong to concur and do away with: National and Private.

    Questions that we should all ask ourselves as Tanzanians are:
      1. 1.How long will the government, government authorities and especially minister of finance continue to pretend that all is well at our ports, TRA?
      2. 2.How long will the corrupt individuals continue to plunder national income and yet expect the government to fulfil its public services and other development obligations?
      3. 3.How long will all of us, especially MPs, political parties keep quiet and continue to swallow the statement that “Government has no funds!”

    These questions are all inter-connected, related to each other and form the bases of our economic misery and underline inadequate and insufficient government supervision, clarity and vision, as well as overall performance.

    David Nkulu