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Stakeholders in Tanzania have been reminded that in order to fight corruption successfully, it was important to bear in mind that the vice was more of a structural problem than one of individual moral turpitude, and as such, it can only be addressed by comprehensive structural change.

This was said during a recent Policy Forum monthly breakfast debate held on the 30th of November 2018 which was dedicated to the launch of the review of the functions of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) to determine whether the public was obtaining value for money in the fight against corruption in Tanzania.

Entitled “Tanzania Governance Review: Are Efforts to Prevent and Combat Corruption Good Value for Money?”, the main presentation was made by Brian Cooksey from the Tanzania Development Research Group in partnership with Paul Mikongoti and Fundikila Wazambi from the Legal Human Rights Center (LHRC).

Paul Mikongoti commenced by introducing the bureau and its functions as being “responsible for corruption control in Tanzania’s criminal justice system” and “answerable to the President’s office, not to parliament.  PCCB can only bring to court cases approved by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)”.

Mikongoti continued by saying Tanzania’s last three presidents (Mkapa, Kikwete and Magufuli) all found fault with their predecessors’ anti-corruption record, but external pressures have also been instrumental in shaping Tanzanian anti-corruption efforts.  As CCM’s presidential candidate in the country’s first competitive elections (1995), Benjamin Mkapa ran on an anti-corruption platform. Both local and external observers perceived that economic liberalisation under President Ali Hassan Mwinyi (1985-95) had been accompanied by a quantum leap in the incidence of corruption in state institutions and in relations with elements of the private sector. Mkapa’s accession to power coincided with the emergence of the global anti-corruption movement, and the rise of ‘good governance’ as an influential concept in the aid lexicon.

He highlighted from the findings after its establishment in 2007 and said PCCB grew rapidly in both staffing and national outreach. “PCCB claims to have a presence in every region and most districts in the country. Yet the number of corruption cases brought to court is a small fraction of the cases reported and investigated, and the number of convictions is remarkably low. While the expansion of the Bureau outside Dar es Salaam has increased the number of petty corruption cases brought to court, there has been little progress in sanctioning top officials and businesspeople involved in grand and political corruption.”

Furthermore, Brian Cooksey highlighted the perspectives of the review and how it was conducted and said that PCCB refused to endorse it citing security reasons which made it difficult to acquire accurate data.

Cooksey stated that due to the efforts and strategy of Policy Forum with continued engagements with PCCB, it somehow provided a way for the study to be completed.

The exception—the arrest in June 2017 of the principals in the Escrow/IPTL scandal—was a clear break with PCCB’s past record of protecting some of the most corrupt elements in the country. Still there is a growing log-jam of high-profile cases that have yet to be brought to court

Presenting on the Legal perspective, Fundikila Wazambi from LHRC said cases are heard in magistrates, district and high courts, and since 2016 there has been a High Court Division dealing exclusively with corruption.

“While corruption is prosecuted under the 2007 Prevention and Combating of Corruption Act (PCCA), the Bureau can also prosecute under the Public Procurement Act, and the National Audit Office (NAOT) provides the Bureau with information on district councils or development projects that are suspected of corruption. Parliament’s oversight role is minimal; the Bureau’s voted budget is not known in detail, and actual expenditure even less so. There have been repeated demands in parliament to review the 2007 legislation to make fines and sentences better reflect the seriousness of the crime,” he added.

Wazambi continued by saying that it has become increasingly evident that PCCB lacks adequate numbers of skilled lawyers and financial resources to investigate and prosecute complex corruption cases, most of which involve an international dimension.

“Bringing cases to court is also problematic. Witnesses can be bought off or threatened and are known to contradict their sworn statements in court.107 Judges sometimes recuse themselves from hearing ‘sensitive’ cases. The few high-profile corruption cases that reach court routinely drag on with constant adjournments and an excess of technical over substantive procedures.  The result is a slow and inefficient criminal justice system in which justice is rarely done or seen to be done. Inadequate staff and finance and low technical capacity in PCCB are part of a much bigger malaise affecting the entire judiciary,” he said.

Wazambi also stressed that punishing a few ‘minnows’ for petty corruption with disproportionate fines and prison sentences, while letting the ‘sharks’ get away with systematic looting, imposing trivial fines on the rare occasions that some of them are found guilty, but not confiscating property or handing out substantial jail sentences, arguably amounts to an abuse of human rights

The backlog of cases yet to be brought to court is growing steadily as more investigations are ordered by President Magufuli’s government.  The number of corruption cases brought to court is a small fraction of the cases reported and investigated, and the number of convictions is remarkably low,” Wazambi said.

Bahame T. Nyanduga from the Mwl. Nyerere Foundation cited the TANU Constitution “Rushwa ni Adui wa Haki, Sitatoa wala Kupokea Rushwa” and then stressed that for over 60 years we have been fighting corruption but still we cannot discuss it FREELY.

Nyanduga correspondingly highlighted the Corruption Perception Index 2017 conducted by Transparency International, Tanzania  was listed 103 with the score of 36 forming a tie with Bahrain, Ivory Coast and Mongolia.

Moroever, Mr. Bahame, the main presenters and others came up with recommendations to improve the situation regarding corruption in Tanzania:


  • The government should encourage free speech regarding Corruption
  • Pursuing individual cases of corruption on an ad hoc basis across the country is akin to swotting mosquitos in a room where all the doors and windows have been left open.  The few cases of (mostly petty) corruption prosecutes successfully cannot be considered a deterrent to corruption. It is worth repeating that corruption is a structural issue, not one of individual moral turpitude, and as such can only be addressed by structural change.
  • The anti-corruption model adopted by the Government  of Tanzania is based on  false assumptions concerning the nature of ‘corruption’ and therefore the best means to control and combat it;
  •  Systemic corruption can only be addressed through collective action, involving multiple agents, not by a stand-alone agent of state power.
  • Initiate  a broad-based public debate on alternative approaches to corruption prevention and control from value-for-money, governance and human rights perspectives.

A recent study by Restless Development, a Policy Forum member organization, indicates that, three (3) out of ten (10) youth agree that there are laws and procedures related to good governance and accountability that enable people to hold their leaders to account. This was said during the last week of October at the morning public dialogue dubbed as Policy Forum Breakfast Debate held at the British Council, Dar es Salaam.

A presentation done by Vivian Ngowi from Restless Development on “The State of Youth in Tanzania: What are youth’s perceptions in relation to the status of employment, education, health, governance and accountability?” indicates that 23% of youth agree that they have access to political, social and economic information leaving the remaining 77% lacking this information.  Ngowi highlighted that only 36% of youth agree that young people are involved sin various issues that affect them directly such as development of policies, representation in decision-making levels such as local meetings.

Regarding agricultural employment and funds, the study indicates that less than 50% of youth agree that agricultural inputs are easily accessible at an affordable price, and that grants are not very easily provided to small industries. Also 31% of youth agree that National youth development funds is beneficial in increasing their livelihoods.

Furthermore, it is indicated that more than 49% youth agree that school curricula are not in par with the changes in economic and social trends and 70% think there is no improvement in accessing higher education in Tanzania.

The debate insisted that 32% of Tanzanian youth think that corruption and bureaucracy have been regulated in accessing health care services but also 48% say availability of youth insurance for young people is still limited. Ngowi stressed that, 44% of youth agree that health facilities infrastructure has been improved.

One of the participant, Richard Mabala, said that young people are not given enough priority and their welfare at the policy level is set in a Ministry that is inundated with too many issues that those on youth are overlooked. Many young people do not know about the anational youth policy and the importance of having  a National Youth Council, which has been debated for almost twenty years now and has not yet been established.

Mabala argued that for Tanzania to move forward particularly in the creative industry, it is mandatory for youth to be given priority and special opportunities. He added that our education system
 does not satisfy the needs of Tanzanian youth especially in expanding their analytical aptitude and intellect. Tanzania education is designed to test the youth’s memory rather that how to analyze
 and see issues from a multitude of perspectives. Despite the government's efforts on youth, there is still a need to give young people more attention.















Findings show that civil society organizations (CSOs) can play an important role in enhancing transparency and good governance in developing countries by contributing to increased public debate on issues surrounding the formulation and implementation of government budgets as well as in supporting greater transparency of public revenues.

According to the World Bank: “Civil society ... refers to a wide array of organizations: community groups, non-governmental organizations [NGOs], labour unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, and foundations.”

When mobilized, civil society - sometimes called the “third sector” (after government and commerce) - has the power to influence the actions of elected policy-makers and businesses. But the nature of civil society - what it is and what it does - is evolving, in response to both technological developments and more nuanced changes within societies.

Contributing to on a topic titled “How can Civil Society Organisations and government collaborate to enhance governance and accountability?, during the just ended ‘CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS WEEK 2018’, that was held in Dodoma, Policy Forum’s (PF) Coordinator Mr. Semkae Kilonzo said that as a network for quiet sometime now they they have been closely collaborating with the government in different developmental issues that touch citizens’ livelihoods.

According to Kilonzo, PF is a network that comprised over 70 Tanzanian civil organizations drawn together by their specific interest in augmenting the voice of ordinary citizens to influence policy processes that help in poverty reduction, equity and democratization with a specific focus on public money accountability at both central and local levels.

Civil Society Organizations Week 2018’, themed: Industrialization Drive in Tanzania: People, policy and practice.”

Kilonzo told a packed room that some of their major roles as a network have been to track and monitor public resources management through one of their tools known as social accountability monitoring (SAM). “By using this tool we are tracking how public funds are utilized from the source to the targeted common citizens.

He however, suggested that in order for a Network to be productive, workable and efficient for the common good of the citizenry, it should have three pillars namely: To have members who are committed, firm and dedicatedly participating in all day to day businesses of the network.

“More often this is not an easy thing as most of you might think. Sometime you can find the objectives and interests of one of the members in the network have different interests which opposite to those that caused him/her to join the network. This is a problem,” he noted.

He further urged “The objectives and interests of a member of a network need to go in line with that of the network.”

The second pillar crucial is for the Network to have strong and unshakable secretariat. “The secretariat needs to work professionally without shaking. And it should know the wishes of a member and those of a network.”

The third pillar of the net work is a board of directors. This should reflect the diversity of its members... widely disseminated to policy makers, civil society and the general public, among others. “A board needs to know the wishes, and objectives of members. And if possible it should warn, and even punish any member who goes against the laid down norms of a network,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kilonzo said that he was opposing the suggestion by some members who wanted financial resources to be regarded as the fourth pillar of a network; saying a network or an organization could operate successfully to achieve it missions without it.

He concurred with some civil organizations that start having their objectives as ideas in mind, and when they get money it is when will know what to do. He cited the English sage that says “When you have a good idea financial resources will automatically come. Adding:

My good advice to CSOs is that you first need to have your good idea on whatever you are intending to do, financial resources will come,” he suggested.

All in all, Policy Forum’s boss has called for unity among CSOs, community, and government as key stakeholders for the betterment of the entire nation. “United we stand, divided we fall.”

Policy Forum Board of Directors Chairperson Mr. Japhet Makongo revealed that the genesis for them (Policy Forum), to make social accountability monitoring was targeting to deliver quality service that ould reach a targeted common Tanzanian in time. “Accountability needs to be done by ourselves because we are also part and parcel of the community,” he said.

For his part, Executive Director of Foundation for Civil Society, which is mandated to support some CSOs with funds Mr. Francis Kiwanga commended the CSOs for good advocacy and service delivery to the people they were serving in collaboration of the government. “I can see the sector is now growing. What you now need to consolidate your network. You need to bridge the shrinking spaces if are existing among yourselves for the common good of the bigger masses,’ he urged.

He further said that his Foundation has minimized its support to 263 CSOs in 2017 from 653 CSOs in 2014 due to financial status.

Sara Mwaga from anti female genital mutilation network (AFNET), a member of Policy Forum called for joint efforts and same language among CSOs in order to bring changes and benefits to their members. “The issue of joint efforts is unavoidable so as to enable a member to get his rights,” she said.

She warned some secretariats of some CSOs to act as semi-gods, and the members are regarded as secondary.

Chairman of Parliament Committee of Regional Administration and Local Government Affairs, who also doubles as Bukoba Rural Member of Parliament Advocate Jackson Rweikiza said that CSOs were partners with the government to bringing development to the citizenry, and not foes.

“When executing your duties, you should not be in confrontation with the government of the day smoothly that is when you will succeed. And if you do vice versa you will not succeed in your missions,” he counseled.

Meanwhile, Adv. Rweikiza told CSOs to graduate and become sustainable even when donors pullout after phasing of the project.

Special seats MP of the National Assembly, Martha Mlata also gave a piece of advice to CSOs to have good language when working with government officials in their respective areas to avoid confrontation. “Other CSOs come with readymade answers and act like political parties. Avoid such behaviour,’ she warned.

Ms. Mlata has urged CSOs also be transparent in their daily undertakings so that they become trusted by the government of the day.

Director of Sector Coordination President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government, Dr Andrew M. Komba said that the government was recognizing the contribution by CSOs in the country in the different sectors.

“We are happy with the way you operate; let’s increased the integration so as to remove the existing small challenges among us,’ he called.

Meanwhile, Dr Komba has called upon all district council directors across the country to collaborate and work with CSOs operating in their respective areas as the circular wanted them to do for the benefits of the citizenry.

NGOs Acting Registrar Mr Leonard Baraka has told the CSOs that if they wanted to work smoothly without colliding with the government, they need to work within their laid down code of conduct. “You need to establish a sector that is transparent, vibrant and accountable.”

Another school of thought has urged CSOs that if they wanted to be successful in their daily duties, they need to have a “consistent, principled and committed stand in the interest of the large masses and for human values and causes”.

The large masses are the working people in villages and towns, often exploited and oppressed, but who are central in the struggle to regain and improve their livelihoods, dignity, and power. Thus true NGOs and other civil society organizations, worth their name, should be broad-based membership organizations of working people, the wananchi, not of the elite.

The aim of the struggle, through promoting different perspectives and fostering open, protracted public debates, is development of alternate ways of doing things, effective participation in democratic institutions of the state and to bring about “popular livelihoods, popular participation and popular power.

This is, indeed, the essence of democratic governance. As stated earlier on, CSOs, including NGOs, FBOs and CBOs, were formed with specific objectives. Individual CSOs have also organized themselves into networks and coalitions at local, district, and national levels with common objectives.

Reference to civil society in official documents in recent years is an indication of the recognition of Government that development is a participatory process. Indeed, CSOs articulated their roles in development when they formed themselves. It is also through the space provided by Government that CSOs participated in framing the roles appearing in policy documents.

By Daniel Semberya 


Tanzania has a wealth of natural, cultural and man-made attractions in all parts of the country which are untapped from the standpoint of tourism development. Although the potential is there, not all areas can be developed in the foreseeable future because of the problems of inadequate access, poor infrastructure and lack of utilities.

The World Economic Forum ranked Tanzania at 119 (of 140 countries) in terms of quality of labour in the tourism industry in 2017. Presenting on the Policy Forum September Breakfast debate titled  ‘Converging wildlife conservation and tourism in Tanzania: What can be done for policy coherence?’ which was co-faciliated by Tanzania Natural Resource Forum (TNRF), Mr. Moses Ngereza from Tourism Confederation of Tanzania (TCT) said efficacious implementation of the policy would enhance the country’s revenue collections from tourism.

Ngereza projected that 80% of Government tourist revenue (national and local) comes from just four (4) protected areas: Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Manyara and Kilimanjaro. He recommended that there is a need for more Public Private Partnerships in management and exploitation of our conservation areas and stimulate all possible diversification.

To widen up the tourism sector, however, there is a need to fast-track tourism infrastructure development. Tourism infrastructure is still under developed most critical are airports/ airstrips, land for tourism investment (hotels, beach resorts, campsites, airport hotels), and roads to access protected areas.

Ngereza further recommended the following in order to improve the tourism sector:

Government should make one-window-payment for the tourism industry which will consolidate taxes and levies which will consequently reduce corruption and save time.

Also, it should perform several researches on the industry in order to make well informed decision and strategies, improve benefits sharing mechanism to the community in the Wildlife Management Areas, introduce new tourism strategy together with private sector, institute in law the need for notice of any significant changes in the government policy (especially on introduction of new fees etc to fit international business laws at least 24 months) and timely update of laws and regulations.

Wiith regard to making sure the future generation embraces the tourism sector, Ngereza advised the government to introduce tourism and conservation studies in the primary and and secondary schools curriculum.

Hon. Jitu Vrajlal Soni, Member of Parliament from Babati emphasised on the raising awareness to the public in regard to the environment. This is due to the fact that Tanzania has the existences of laws and regulations that do not complement each other for instance the clearance of 1000s of hectares of the Selous Game Reserve.

Meanwhile, the Tanzania Tour Guide Association also commented on the challenges they face in the tourism sector such as “Single Entry Policy” which states that tourists should pay for every entry made in the tourist sites. One of the representatives recommended that the policy should be discussed thoroughly and reviewed as for most tourist have complained on its application.

However, a senior tourism official in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr David Mpangile, told participants at a Breakfast meeting that the government is in the final stages of updating the tourism policy. “The document will be released soon, and it  addresses various challenges in the tourism industry,”. He continued by saying “the Ministry has a new digital system which is time conscious and take up to 3 minutes to make payments”. He also highlighted that there is a new brand for Tanzania and it was launched on 22nd May 2018. The Tanzania tourism brand is known as ‘Tanzania, Unforgettable’. He further commended Policy Forum for coordinating the morning debate which allows people to freely express their ideas.

Member of Parliament from Tarime, Hon. Esther Matiko suggested that there should be involvement of the private sector in the tourism industry. As a member of the Tanzania Parliamentarian Friends of the Environment, she also said that the laws need to be a little welcoming to the private investors to contribute in the industry. And also, that innovative enhancement of the tourist attractions with sports and other activities will help boost up tourism

She further stressed that a choice to either grow gradually as we have been doing or step up our growth. The current revenue contribution is still very compared to the potential that Tanzania has.

The government has been urged to support the cost-sharing and applications of joint title-deeds or co-occupancy in land titling in Tanzania to reduce the burden borne by poor individuals when seeking to formalise land ownership and to tackle the inequality between men and women in land access. This call was made during the August 2018 Policy Forum Monthly Breakfast Debate.

Presenting a study that was conducted by OXFAM Tanzania in cooperation with the National Land Use and Planning Commission entitled “Leveraging Cost in Land Titling: What are the Insights from Stakeholders?”, Dastan Kweka stressed the importance of land titling in allowing for simple, quick and inexpensive land transfers. “Titling protects the property owner's legal title to land for both the seller and purchaser of property, and is critically important for economic stability, investment and social stability.”

Kweka also noted this was increasingly becoming more important in light of the rapid population growth, an influx of large-scale land-based investments and the subsequent increase in land conflicts have made land use planning and titling increasingly important.

Land use planning, however, remains an expensive undertaking and out of reach for many resource-starved villages. Research has shown that cost is a leading single obstacle. For instance, Ali et. al., (2014) noted that “prices—rather than other implementation failures or features of the titling regime—are a key obstacle to broader inclusion in the land registry.” In addition, Stein, et al., (2016) observes that this is the case due to multiple fees, that is, “application fees, technician fees for plot surveys, ‘facilitation’ costs to the village land committee and district land registrar, court registration fees, lawyers’ fees, and travel costs” (Stein, et. al., 2016).

Nonetheless, the cost of undertaking the process of land titling is, in general, prohibitively high. From a research report on mechanisms for leveraging cost in rural land tilting as practiced by stakeholders in Tanzania. Leverage, in the context of the study, is defined as a range of measures employed by stakeholders to cut costs and share the burden.

Furthermore, he stressed that cost is not an insurmountable factor and that cost sharing is key in expanding affordability, enhancing ownership and accelerating the titling process but there have been limited efforts to seize the opportunity that land titling provides to address gender inequality in land ownership.

Prof. Faustin Maganga, from the University of Dar es Salaam, highlighted that cost sharing is key in leveraging cost and should be encouraged. Its implementation, however, must be informed by a careful economic assessment of the targeted group to ensure the rate set for contribution is affordable.

Ownership, control and management of land in Tanzania, nevertheless, is vested in the President as trustee for and on behalf of all citizens of Tanzania.  For the purposes of management only, all land is classified as general land, village land and reserve land. The President has powers to transfer land from one category to another. Reserve lands are forests, wildlife areas, etc., which constitute 28 percent of all lands. Village land is all land that falls under the jurisdiction of the existing 10,832 registered villages in the country which constitutes nearly 70 per cent of all land. The rest is mostly urban land and that land already under granted titles. The Commissioner for Lands is the sole authority responsible for overall administration of all lands but has delegated his powers to authorized land officers at district/municipal level. The Village Councils manage all village land with  advice  from  the  Commissioner  for  Lands.  The reserved lands  are managed  by  statutory  bodies Tanzania  Land  Policy  and  Genesis  of Land Reforms (2012).

Henceforth, Land use planning and titling offers an opportunity to promote gender equality in land ownership through effective participation of women throughout the planning cycle and encouraging co-occupancy.

The following recommendations came out as part of the debate;

Budgetary investment in land titling from the government has been limited due to limits in cost recovery. Nevertheless, the government should explore options for recovery avenues that encourage compliance and enhance support for the initiative.

To secure utilization access and rights to land and natural resources for pastoral communities and enhance their participation in natural resource management.

To reduce conflicts related to incompatible resource utilisation, especially between agriculture and pastoralism, and pastoralism and wildlife conservation.

Prof. Maganga also stated that the best way to protect land rights is through the formalization of land which provided secure village boundaries though issuing of Certificates of Village Land (CVLs), land use planning and individual plot focused certificates of customary rights of occupancy.

Photo by Reinout Van Den Bergh

Tanzania has nine Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) in place with the following countries: Zambia (1968), Italy (1973), Denmark (1976), Finland (1976), Norway (1976), Sweden (1976), India (1979), Canada (1995), and South Africa (2005). Tanzania is also currently negotiating DTAs with the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, Kuwait, Iran and China without any publicly known or democratically scrutinised negotiation policy. In addition, Tanzania has bilateral investment treaties with nineteen countries and seven other investment agreements with regional economic blocs.

The latest Agreement between Tanzania and India for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income was signed in Dar es Salaam on 1st January 1979 This Agreement applies to taxes on income imposed on behalf of a Contracting State or of its political subdivisions or local authorities, irrespective of the way they are levied.

The Agreement between Tanzania and South Africa for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income was entered into on 15th June 2007.

This report presents study findings on three main items: a critical review of DTAs signed by Tanzania with India and South Africa; an analysis of the dangers that DTAs signed by Tanzania with India and South Africa pose towards financing development in Tanzania; and policy recommendations on the key considerations that Tanzania needs to incorporate during the negotiations or re-negotiation of such DTAs. Click here to read more

Tanzania is endowed with various precious minerals such as gold and diamond and like other African countries rich in resources, this fact raises questions on why the extractive does not contribute enough to the economic development of the country. On the contrary, it is widely believed that the companies involved in the sector on the continent disproportionately benefit. To add salt to the wound, the fact is that the sector not only has had so far had little net fiscal impact and this is unlikely to change in the coming years, but the IMF reports that mining revenues for governments are not expected to grow much soon partly because of large embedded tax holidays. Furthermore, revenues from the extractive industry for governments are not expected to rise because the sector has been marred by secrecy and corruption leading to scandals like those involving mining companies that in recent years are said to have been understating their tax liabilities in Tanzania.

Presenting at the July 2018 Policy Forum’s Monthly Breakfast Debate on ‘The Extractive Sector in Tanzania: What are the Key Political Economy Issues?’ Thabit Jacob (PhD) from the University of Dodoma argued that transparency seems to be a dying issue because the government seems to be no longer interested in it. Jacob explained that despite the good intentions shown by the government to protect the country’s resources the challenge remains to foster transparency in the Extractive Industry.

Specifically, he noted examples whereby the details of a tax settlement with a particular company was undisclosed, citizens’ diminishing role and ultimately being relegated to mere spectators and ongoing talks between the government and key companies in recent controversies remaining opaque without updates to the public.

He also noted that there is a noticeable securitization of the extractive sector in Tanzania whereby projects are being framed as national priorities on which the fate of the nation depends, and extractive industry activists are increasingly being branded as anti-development and unpatriotic and to in some extreme cases, ‘enemies of the state’ and the executive admits to wiretapping individuals. In this worrying environment, CSOs are seen as a distraction and with the overall closing civic space, concerns are that legitimate activism may come to be considered criminal or subversive activity.

These transparency and securitization points were also stressed by the President of Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) Fatma Karume who emphasized on the rule of law and distribution of power. She lamented lack of openness in decision making especially in the matters that involves public resources citing an example of the secrecy in the negotiations between the committee appointed by the President and the Acacia Mining Limited. She further said that political powers should not defeat the Constitution, the citizens are the owners of the resources and must be involved in the decision making and kept informed.

Contributing in the discussion, Prof. Hamudi Majamba from University of Dar Es Salaam School of Law stressed on the importance of the international arbitration since Tanzania is a signatory member in a number of justice conventions, treaties and agreements. However, he doubts on the sufficiency of the state attorneys as representative of the government in international arbitration.

He said although access to international arbitration is limited, the Tanzania government should seek consent with the citizens and investors to access international arbitration by the virtue of fairness since it is not a guarantee that the domestic system will always provide justice and impartiality.

Prof. Majamba also commended the government for being pro-artisanal and small-scale mining since the President ordered the Ministry of Energy and Minerals to revoke the prospecting licenses for the country’s biggest mining company in gold rich area in the North-Western part of Tanzania to allow more than 5000 artisanal miners to gain to the field.

The debate recommended Public and Private Partnership as an alternative way for state owned companied to operate with high degree of efficiency and effectiveness. This came to the discussion when the audience cited bad examples from African countries such as Angola and DRC who have been using militaries involvement in the Extractive Industry operations leading to the negative impact such as serving the interest of the few elites.


CSOs in Tanzania have called for increased clarity of the division of functions and responsibilities of the central and local government administrations in the country if decentralisation by devolution is to work. This includes clarification on property registration and valuation responsibilities, and obligations on the maintenance of property registers and revenue data. This was said during a morning public discussion hosted by the Policy Forum entitled ‘Taxing the urban boom in Tanzania: Central versus local government property tax collection’ which took place in Dar es Salaam on June 29, 2018.

Speaking during the presentation Dr Lucas Katera of REPOA stressed that it was high time politicians and officials support the national tax administration as it clarifies the connection between tax reform and decentralisation policies.

“If the national government truly aims to pursue fiscal decentralisation by devolving tax and spending powers to lower levels of government, a minimum degree of autonomy for sub-national governments over own revenue generation and expenditures is required,” he insisted.

Concerning a fall of collection of revenue at the local level, Dr Katera was of the view that the drop has been attributed to the transfer of some Local Authority revenue sources to the Central Government - including property tax and crop levies to mention but a few.

The Controller and Auditor General’s report also shows that revenue collections at the local level dropped from Sh 628 billion in 2015/16 (equivalent to 90 per cent of set collection target) to Sh 523.56 billion in 2016/ (83 per cent of target). The Government under-disbursed capital grants to 167 local government authorities (LGAs) by 51 per cent in the 2016/17 financial year. The government also over-disbursed development grants to 14 LGAs and only 28 per cent of the budget allocated for development projects was spent by the LGAs during the financial year audited.

Moreover, the Government Auditor also revealed that 36 per cent of the capital grants that were received by 168 LGAs remained unspent. As a result, unspent funds increased from Sh197.61 billion in the 2015/16 financial year to Sh260.85 billion in 2016/17. Also, 60 projects valued at Sh782.47 million had been completed in 13 LGAs - but they were not put into effective use."

Giving her synopsis, Dr Annette Mummert from the German technical cooperation agency, GIZ, counselled that the country needs to think beyond efficiency gains in revenue collection and stressed that there is room to widen the tax base. She also advised the need to bridge information gaps with better information sharing between Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and LGAs with the coordination of the President’s Office – Regional Administration of Local Government (PO-RALG).

She further emphasised that frequent changes in the legal framework increase uncertainty and undermines adaptation of administrative procedures which shrink revenue base of LGAs. Broadening of fees might not compensate for centralization of taxes but might increase the unpredictability of budgets for LGAs in view of the current unsatisfactory remittance of centrally-collected revenues and fiscal transfer practices by central government.

Dr Mummert also urged that effective collection of property taxes requires constructive working relations between the central government and the municipalities.

She observed, furthermore, that TRA has become a catalyst for improvements in collection methods at the local level by introducing new digital technologies. “The TRA has contributed to a drop in the degree to which local elites evade property taxes. However, in contrast to the municipal staff, TRA has limited knowledge about the local property tax base,” she said adding that the TRA is not well placed to connect property tax compliance with improved local services.

In June 2018, the government tabled the Finance Bill 2018/2019 that amended the LGAs (Rating) Act cap 289 section 3 by adding in its appropriate alphabetical order the following definition: “rating authority” means Tanzania Revenue Authority”. This amendment shifts power of collecting property tax from LGAs to TRA.



The 2018 Financial Secrecy Index, a tool for measuring global financial secrecy and secrecy jurisdictions, presents some worrying signs for the emerging economies in Africa and threaten to potentially undermine the sustainability of their development trajectory. Tanzania scored a high secrecy score of 73. Surprisingly, even with these attractive secrecy policies, it is only recently that the jurisdiction has been brought under the spotlight.

These findings were presented at the Policy Forum’s Monthly Breakfast Debate held on 25th May 2018 at the British Council Auditorium. The Deputy Executive Director of Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA), Jason Rosario Braganza enlivened the debate with his presentation on “Financial Secrecy Index 2018: Is Tanzania Doing Enough to Fight Illicit Financial Flows?” constructed from the findings of the 2018 Financial Secrecy Index.

Elaborating on Illicit financial flows (IFFs), Braganza defined IFFs as the illegal movements of money or capital from one country to another. Global Financial Integrity (GFI) classifies this movement as an illicit flow when the funds are illegally earned, transferred, and/or utilized.

He further highlighted that Tanzania has a wealth of mineral resources. Gold represents approximately 90% of the mining production in Tanzania. However, the extractives industry has been marred by secrecy and corruption leading to scandals. Recently, Acacia Mining Plc, a London based company, was found to have been understating its tax liabilities in Tanzania. Committees formed in July of 2017 found widespread irregularities that led to contracts that were not beneficial to the country and resulted in a loss of government revenue. Tanzania’s development plan now strongly advocates for eradication of tax evasion and emphasises transparency. The mining industry has particularly found itself under scrutiny as the government seeks to overhaul the sector and increase its contribution to the GDP to 10% by 2025.

Kayobyo Majogoro an official from the Tanzania Revenue Authority endorsed that for the war against IFFs to take shape, there is a strong need to heighten efforts to combat corruption in Tanzania. He continued further by saying that there is a need to capacitate the institutions that deal with corruption and harmful tax incentives and urged Tanzanians to ensure that they are in accordance with the law when establishing their businesses, including being transparent on beneficial ownership to help curb illicit flows out of Tanzania.

Using the mining sector as an example, he said the TEITI Committee has put in place a roadmap to implement beneficial ownership disclosure, including establishing a materiality threshold of 1% stake for the disclosure of beneficial ownership and establishing a central registry to house information from extractive companies.

“Tanzania has made several efforts recently for instance curbing problematic mineral exports, auditing the largest mining companies in the country and changing law to allow the state to renegotiate contracts with extractive companies,” he said.

These steps, he said, will help improve policy recommendations aimed at enhancing the mobilization of domestic public resources in developing countries and to maximize the contribution of international development cooperation to sustainable developmental transformation and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Financial Secrecy Index (FSI) was created by the Tax Justice Network (TJN) in 2009 to identify and rank the scale of the contribution of global jurisdictions to individual and/or corporate tax avoidance and tax evasion, that was independent of the, potentially more politicised, OECD-IMF type rankings.








Preamble: For a country like Tanzania to meet its inclusive development objectives and realistically fund essential services such as provision of clean and safe water, healthcare, education and infrastructure, it needs reliable sources of own revenue including from taxes. Moreover, an economy needs a tax policy that redistributes wealth to address inequality including redressing gender gaps within society. To achieve all this through taxation, the revenue system should encourage an environment where businesses thrive and citizens flourish economically, and whereby the its administrative systems are transparent, accountable, fair and efficient.

We, the members of the Tanzania Tax Justice Coalition, a loose coalition of Civil Society Organizations interested in advocating for a reliable, just and transparent tax system in Tanzania, would like to share our views on the current trend in domestic revenue mobilization and suggest alternative options that could be adopted to reduce donor dependency through effective mobilization of domestic resources.

We boldly commend the fifth phase government’s drive to mobilize adequate financial resources domestically and welcome its forward-looking in this area with the President’s constant emphasis on taxpayer compliance. We agree that there is a strong commitment by the government to improve collection of domestic revenue and in turn make planning more realistic and meaningful.

To achieve this seemingly daunting but realistic ambition, the government has been emphatic in calling for the use of electronic fiscal devices for transactions to avoid leakages of revenue. It is important to note, however, that in some instances the recent enforcement of tax compliance has been overzealous, resulting in expressions of grievance from the business community. We encourage increased voluntary compliance through better taxpayer appreciation of the rationale for taxation, clarity and simplification of payment methods so as not to impact negatively on the business climate and confidence.

Issues to consider in the 2018/19 Budget

The national budget being proposed is the third under the Fifth Phase Government intending to finance the third year of the implementation of the Second Five Year Development Plan (FYDP II) which runs till 2020/21 putting emphasis on heavy investments in infrastructure to transform the country to an industry-based economy. Budget execution, however, continued to see sluggishness in the 2017/18 period as was the case in the previous financial year and revenue targets have fallen short. The development plan envisages growth driven by a vibrant private sector, but the business climate will need improvement if unemployment particularly of youth is to be tackled effectively.

Domestic Revenue

Based on revenue collection trends, the government’s budget for 2018/19 has slightly increased by 2% from TZS 31.7 trillion in 2017/18 to TZS 32.5 trillion in 2018/19. Out of the TZS 32.5 trillion intended to be collected during the financial year 2018/19, TZS 20.2 trillion (about 62%) is for recurrent expenditure while TZS 12.4 trillion (about 38%) is for development expenditure. Over TZS 10 trillion of the recurrent budget is intended to service the public debt which stands at TZS 47.8 trillion.

Of much interest in this upcoming national budget is the government intention to source over 60% of the overall budget locally. Domestic revenues are expected at TZS 22.1 trillion; with tax revenue, non-tax revenue and LGAs own sources contributing TZS 18.9 trillion, TZS 2.4 trillion and TZS 0.8 trillion, respectively.

Donor contribution in the 2018/19 budget is expected to be only TZS 3.7 trillion with grants taking TZS 0.9 trillion and TZS 2.2 trillion as concessional loans. Total contribution by donors is therefore expected at 12% of the total government’s budget, a commendable and bold move by the government manifesting the political will and commitment to reduce dependence in financing development.

It is irrefutable that both the number of taxpayers and tax revenues have significantly increased between 2015/2016 and 2018/2019 fiscal years. For instance, the increase between July 2015 and July 2016 was from 6.44 to 7.27 trillion equals to 12.7 percent. There was a significant increase in the per-month tax collection between 2015 and 2016. For instance, compared to August 2015, August 2016 had a 25. 01% increase. These trends have been partly associated with tax collection measures, which the fifth term government has been taking since its inception.

Apart from taking a stock of the taxpayers and their location, provision of tax education, and enhancing systems for tax records’ management; there have been notable changes in taxation rules some of which have raised some satisfaction among business operators. The groups that seem to be most affected by these changes include newly established businesses, especially the micro and small enterprises, that were recently mobilized to formalise. Many of these businesses are owned by women and youth whose start-up capital is mobilised from own, family, and short-term micro-financing sources.

‘Aggressive collection’ efforts

The recent efforts to improve tax administration for reduced compliance and facilitation of taxpayer education including raising awareness of their obligations and liabilities are well noted. Despite these, more still needs to be done to enhance cooperation of the taxpayer and improve the integrity of the tax collection system.

Anecdotes, analysts, and studies report frustrations associated with perceived unfair tax estimates, aggressive or heavy-handed tax collection practices and combative interactions between the taxpayers and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) personnel that have resulted in the closure of businesses. For instance, the study by the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) found that 4,640 businesses were closed due to such reasons. In some of the areas such as Songwe and Makambako, many micro business operators are reported to have fled and are now operating businesses in neighbouring countries due to the fear of unaffordable tax burdens, severe tax-associated penalties and threats from tax and police officers.

This coalition advocates for a fairer tax system for all and therefore it is important to ensure that the existing taxation regime puts into account the negative impact of any approach that it uses and is proactive to adjusting accordingly. Registering new taxpayers must go together with retaining the existing ones.

It is also important to appreciate that when taxpayers challenge or question the TRA with regards to their estimates and practices, they are not only exercising their rights but are in the process furnishing important feedback to the authority on approach used and demanding justifications and explanations for decisions taken, which is important in understanding their tax obligations. It is crucial, therefore, that they are treated with the same esteem as all other taxpayers.

Check the disincentives to formalise and pay taxes

An expanded tax base is a critical pre-condition for economic growth and increasing government capacity to deliver better services but will do little without well-reasoned, fair and incentivising practices and an enabling environment, which has not always been forthcoming of late in Tanzania. The World Bank’s 2018 Doing Business report cites Tanzania as holding 137th place out of 190 nations and difficulty in paying taxes was mentioned as one of the major impediments.

For instance, the recent notice by the Higher Education Students Loans Board (HESBL) that students whose parents possess business licenses do not qualify for loans is likely to be suggestive to many Tanzanians with informal businesses that staving off formalisation is better as there are few or no incentives for doing so. These unprecedented decisions raise questions whether the environment motivates individuals to register and pay tax.

Summary of our key policy recommendations:

Enhance capacities: Continue to strengthen the institutional capacity of Tanzania Revenue Authority to collect taxes through the modernisation of its tax system through further improvement of the Integrated Domestic Revenue Administration System (IDRAS) and providing financial resources and technical support to the officers of TRA to implement their roles.

Enhance clarity, criteria and education of taxpayer’s obligations: The TRA should put in place clear rules and explain comprehensively the criteria for tax obligation assessment that should be able to consider factors such as type and size of business, years in business, performance, and the change in operating environment. The taxpayer should be able to access the information on their liabilities and the appeals procedures. Further, TRA together with other stakeholders should work together to support taxpayer assistance and educational programs (e.g. the use of Electronic Fiscal Device [EFD] for Small and Medium Enterprises).

Improve cooperative compliance: The TRA should appreciate taxpayers’ challenges on tax obligation assessments and practices as part of the democratic process, client feedback and social contract between government on one hand, and citizens and small enterprises on the other. Citizens and businesses are key allies for the current domestic resource mobilisation agenda and for sustained reforms in tax policy. In the context of limited financial resource to enforce compliance, the incentive for TRA is that mutual respect, trust and appreciation will help improve taxpayer conduct and attract new investments.

Improve overall business environment: Much more than simplification of the tax paying system is needed to improve the business climate. Business operators still lament the excessive permits and licenses that increase their cost of doing business and hence need to be discarded.




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