News Column

Opposition Decries Lavish Lifestyle in Govt

June 17, 2014

THE Opposition in Parliament has called on the government to demonstrate its commitment to financial discipline by curbing lavish spending, including the use of expensive vehicles for its top officers.

Shadow Finance and Economic Affairs Minister, James Mbatia (Nominated), when presenting his camp's views on the 2014/15 government budget, said they did not view it as geared to reducing poverty as measures aimed at tightening financial discipline were not tight enough.

"This lavish spending by government officers... the expensive vehicles are draining our resources," he said.

He said it had been recommended that the government auction some of the luxury vehicles to rid the nation of the huge liability of keeping them, adding that the government should instead come up with a system under which it would provide car loans to employees entitled to official vehicles as was the case with the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) staff.

The opposition spokesman also expressed concern over the surging national debt, saying it had reached levels that could no longer be sustained.

He said, for instance, that the rapid increase of the loan from last year to this year was alarming. "This has never happened in the history of our country," he said.

Mbatia said the opposition camp commended the government for cutting Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax from 13 per cent to 12 per cent, but warned that the reduction was too modest to have meaningful relief to the employees.

He said the opposition wished the government would lower PAYE to a single digit and up the minimum wage to more than 250,000/- per month.

He hailed the government for announcing measures to rein in tax exemptions, saying that was a move in the right direction meant to plug loopholes in massive revenue leakage.

Tax exemptions are estimated to cost the nation between 1.4tr/- and 2.1tr/- in lost revenue annually.

Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Saada Mkuya Salum, announced sweeping measures to boost revenue collection and curb tax exemptions in her budget speech in Parliament last Thursday.

She said exemptions to be spared would be those which benefited the economy, adding that the government would publish quarterly tax exemption reports which would include the names of individuals, institutions and companies benefitting from them.

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Source: AllAfrica

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