By Zephania Ubwani
Arusha — Sugar and cooking oil worth Sh. 20 million was confiscated at Loliondo border area in Ngorongoro district over the weekend as the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) vowed it would not relent in the war against tax evaders.
“For us, it is zero tolerance to tax evasion” vowed the commissioner general Charles Kicheere as the goods, packed in two trucks were yesterday displayed before the journalists at the TRA yard here.
He added that the authority has lately mounted enough patrols along the long porous borders in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies to ensure illegal imports do not get into the country.
The contraband sugar and cooking oil was intercepted in two trucks, with registration numbers T985 AJP and T840 ABF, on Friday in Loliondo and later taken to the Arusha taxman office.
The foodstuffs were worth a total os Sh. 20 million and if properly taxed they would have attracted tax revenues amounting to Sh. 28.5m.
The total revenue, being the value of the seized goods,value added tax (VAT) and penalty/fine (Sh. 10m) would amount to Sh. 39.2m, the Commissioner General told reporters.
“They have been brought into the country not only contrary to the local Tax Administration Act (TAA) but section 200 and 82 of the East African Community (EAC) Customs Management Act of 2004”,he said.
Sugar imported into the country from outside the EAC bloc normally attracts 100 per cent import duty and VAT.
While the seized sugar originated from Brazil and Mauritius, the cooking oil were brought in from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
TRA officials could not disclose the owner of the contraband goods and the two vehicles used to ferry them in. Ther trucks, according to them, would be confiscated by the government.
Their seizure come on heels of the government spirited fight against the illegally imported cooking oil, sugar and other foodstuffs by unscrupulous traders.
During his visit to the Dar es Salaam port on Tuesday, President John Pombe Magufuli ordered amendment of the law so that importers crude edible oil is charged much higher taxes.
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