Dar freight forwarders contest ‘prohibitive rules’

Freight forwarders have opposed new licensing regulations by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) in which new applicants are required to deposit 150m/-.

The forwarders, through Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA), said the requirement was prohibitive and unfair since the business does not need heavy investment.

TAFFA President, Mr Stephen Ngatunga (pictured), said the new regulation was against the East Africa Community Custom management Act no. 150 of 2004.

“The TRA regulation is completely against the EAC Act,” Mr Ngatunga told Daily News yesterday, “the TRA regulation comes into effect today.”

In the new regulation TRA want clearing and forwarding agents to have a working capital of 50m/- and 100m/- bank guarantee which will be accessible by Custom Commissioner.

The money should seat untouched at the bank account from January 1st to December 31st, which is out of reach for almost 534 licensed clearing and forwarding companies.

On top of that Association said though the licence renewal for old companies is automatically they wonder how a single industry to be regulated with two different licensing practice.

“It’s strange, at one hand you have companies that have put 150m/- deposits and on others operating without deposits,” Mr Ngatunga said, “it will not be a fair play.”

Nevertheless, TAFFA fears that once the big shots are in the game, they will also be directed to conform with the new regulation or stay out of business for failure to rise 150m/-.

TRA on the other hand recently placed an advertisement calling for fresh applicants where 100 firms applied, 40 were shortlisted and underwent testing and only 25 qualified.

According to TAFFA, those who qualified are in imports and exports business and once they start to operate they would deny government the much needed revenue.

TAFFA argued that importers cum clearing and forwarders would easily under invoice consignments since they write invoices and later turned to be forwarders agents.

“You don’t need to be genius to smell foul play on the making,” Mr Ngatunga said. TAFFA said the industry currently employed over 5,000 people.

TAFFA said they sent letters of complaints to TRA commissioner general and commissioner for custom and excise, treasury, minister for investment and empowerment at PMO, minister for labour and employment and minister for industry but they haven’t received any response.

After failing to secure any response they approached Minister for Transport who promised them to follow up the matter as forwarders are their stakeholders in port logistics.

“Though the ministry of transport does not license them, I will follow up the matter, since forwarders are part and parcel of port logistic clearance” Minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe said.

The effort to reach TRA spokesperson failed as the Director of Taxpayers Education was on leave and the acting Ms Diana Masala was not immediately available as her phone was not picked up.
Source: Daily News, reported by Abduel Elinaza from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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