Tanzania's bus owners still plead for duty reduction

Bus transport stakeholders are anxiously waiting for government's response to their plea for reduction of import duty on buses from 25 per cent to 10 per cent.

The Secretary General of the Tanzania Bus Owners Association (TABOA), Mr Enea Mrutu, told the 'Daily News' that they did not meet the Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Ms Saada Mkuya Salum, as they expected.

"We went to see the Minister today (yesterday) but she was not around. We had sent a letter to her one week ago but she has not responded," he said in a telephone interview.

Mr Mrutu said they had not received any communication from the government up to mid-afternoon yesterday and could not say whether they would go ahead with a strike as they vowed at their meeting on Wednesday.

He said they had also sent their appeal to the Prime Minister's Office for intervention but they had not heard anything from them. The TABOA boss said the situation was frustrating as some of their members had their orders of imported buses from China held at the Dar es Salaam port.

Mr Mrutu said they appeal for duty reduction as the government had increased it without consulting them. He said they learnt import duty for buses had been increased to 25 per cent when some of their members were lodging documents for clearance at the port.

Mr Mrutu said the 2015/16 budget did not show there was import duty increase and added they wondered where the raise came from. "There is no place showing it was raised.

The government did not announce it. We wonder where this comes from," he said. The government lowered import duties from 25 per cent to 10 per cent on imported buses for the Dar Rapid Transport - DRT in its budget for the 2015/16 financial year.

There was no changes on import duties to other categories of buses. A council of Finance Ministers from the East African Countries who met in Nairobi Kenya last year agreed to lower duty rates to 10 per cent from 25 per cent on buses under HS Code 8702.10.99 for transportation of more than 25 persons for the period of one year.

The duty rate reduction was part of various changes to the Common External Tariff (CET) and the East African Community Customs Management Act, 2004 (EACCMA 2004). 
Source: Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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