Tanzania: Telephone Firms Must List On Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange

The National Assembly yesterday passed the Finance Bill, 2016, requiring electronic communication companies registered in the country to float their stakes on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE), within six months from July 1, this year.

According to the Finance and Planning Minister, Dr Phillip Mpango, the move will enable Tanzanians own shares in listed communication companies. A heated debate ensued after Nzega Urban MP Hussein Bashe (CCM) moved a motion to oppose the proposal for mandatory listing at the DSE of shares for communication companies.

Despite clarification from the Finance and Planning Minister, Dr Mpango and Attorney General George Masaju, the legislator stuck to his guns. He demanded the government to scrap section 26 of the Electronic and Postal Communication that establishes mandatory listing of shares for mobile phone companies, asserting that the firms could take the matter to the international tribunal court.

The decision had to be reached by voice vote, with the majority voting in favour of the government’s amendment. Responding to Bashe’s motion, Dr Mpango explained that the mandatory listing of shares was not a new aspect as it was established in Section 26 of the Electronic and Postal Communication Act, 2010.

He noted that the mobile phone companies were required within three years from the commencement of the Act, to offer shares to the public and subsequently list with the stock exchange, something that the firms didn’t comply.

“The amendment now makes it mandatory for these companies to list with the stoke exchange. This is very important as it would help the government trace the exact revenue generated by these companies,” Dr Mpango said.

The new Finance Bill which also offers legal cover to budgetary proposals for the next financial year, provides for the amendment of 16 laws that seek to impose and alter certain taxes, duties, levies and fees.

The Bill also proposes amendments to other written laws relating to the collection and management of public revenue. In his speech, Dr Mpango asserted that the Bill among other key objectives, is intended to get rid of costly tax exemptions and retain tax exemptions that are beneficial to the country and should stimulate the growth of local industries.

He said the Bill is also envisaged to boost government revenues and promote economic growth especially in the industrial sector, agriculture, transportation and job creation. To achieve that, the Finance minister said he had proposed amendments to the Excise Management Act, Cap. 147.

“The Bill intends to amend specific rates for some excisable items in order to protect our currency. The rate for imported furniture is also increased from 15 to 20 per cent in order to protect our local industry and increases job creation.”

The Bill proposes amendments in the Income Tax Act, Cap. 339. Section 86 of the Act has been amended to make compulsory the use of EFD machines and establish penalties for non-use of the EFDs and for not demanding receipts.

Furthermore, the Finance Bill seeks to introduce a special income taxation regime from prospecting and mining and petroleum operations to increase government revenue.

Debating the bill earlier, most MPs emphasized on the importance of increasing tax collection to enable the government to implement its development plans. Mkuranga lawmaker Abdallah Ulega (CCM) urged the government to enlighten the public on the use of Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs) and possible penalties for non-compliance.

“I believe that a patriotic Tanzanian is one who pays tax, but it’s important to provide education so that the public can comprehend the importance of paying taxes,” Mr Ulega said. He advised the taxman to introduce a bonus for good taxpayers.

Mr Ally Keissy (Nkasi North-CCM) called for tax extension, arguing that everyone, including small income earners, livestock keepers and all others in the society be subjected to paying taxes.

Source: Tanzania Daily News