I am ready! This is what was and is expected of me from the government as far as SIM-Card Tax is concerned. I as a citizen who understands why I should pay taxes I too say I am ready to pay it! I am ready to pay since it is only one of twenty (1/20) of my monthly expenditure on mobile or phone communication charges, if the supposed TCRA statistics of 2009 are something to go. Anyway I had only one SIM-Card that year. Today I have three of them. Don’t ask me why, that is my business. Mark you it is equivalent to Tsh.33.33 a day only!
We have been told several times that if you have a different opinion from what the government has, you have ill-motive, used by a politician to advance his interest, you have been sent by external factions to destabilize the country, make it ungovernable not lead-able! Yea that might be true since the one pays the piper select the tune, but unless the tune you is under the capacity and skills of the piper it will be played. But in this SIM-Card Tax issue yes we might have the ‘external factions’, those who are not within the class of few who want to do easy-to-do things like double taxing everyone else with a call-SMS handsets.
I want to pay SIM-Card Tax now but before that I want other taxes I am paying to do me justice. My understanding is that tax has four major functions that must be met by any serious government without which there will be rampant tax avoidance and evasion and moreover apathy and rebellion against government good will program. The four functions are called the 4Rs of Taxation.
The 4Rs are Redistribution, Representation, Re-pricing and Revue. Tanzanians have been complaining about taking a lot from poor and little from the rich. Let me give an example, Mama Chiku a resident of Village X, is a peasant practicing subsistence farming, source of light at night is paraffin (kerosene), she live 10km from the main road, this road is also seasonal, passable only during dry spell, a kiosk is 1km from her house where she gets her basic needs like paraffin, sugar and tea leaves. Mama Chiku buys paraffin at Tsh. 2300/- a litre which serves her only for a week, in a month she spends 9200/-, a kilo of sugar costs her 2400/- contrary to 1800-2000/- that most of the urban folks pay. Nearest health facility is 10km yet no drugs to treat common diseases like malaria, bilharzias, pneumonia a killer disease of infants.
All costs incurred by the producer to the retailer are being paid by the 70 per cent of Mama Chikus of this country. So the essence of redistributing wealth and wellbeing is not meant to people’s expectation, the light that was to shine as it was declared by the founding father of the nation the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere in 1958 is yet to be seen by Mama Chikus yet we want them to fuel our cars in Dar es Salaam through SIM-Card Tax.
Representatives of Mama Chikus have been awarding themselves huge perks, increasing tax burden on her, sometimes party interests overrides the reason why Mama Chiku voted him. Sometimes, they were spending nights trekking the bushy paths in Kwetu Constituency in the name of door-to-door campaign. In village X where Mama Chiku lives in this constituency bitumen road is something from another world, it is just heard of, imagined, not seen as a reality, because in the last fifty years they have been told the government conducting, Upembuzi Yakinifu! So representation here with the taxes we are paying nothing substantial has come out.
Re-pricing have only been done to ensure that Mama Chikus of the rural 70 per cent pay as much as they can to fuel their Chimney lanterns lamps or wick lamps, but the Mama Chikus of urban have pay a lot for the electricity they use for light. So the 70 per cent have been told if we all pay flat rate of 1000/- per month regardless of what you are doing with your phone business or just calling friends or how much you use in your phone, they will see the Mwenge wa Huru bring light after 50 years waiting, through Rural Electrification Agency, they will see bitumen roads being commissioned by Magufuli and Mwakyembe will ensure that the Central Railway Line function again, but this is just appeal to the poor and 70 per cent who are in dire need of these services!!
Why Tsh. 160b SIM-Card Tax sought by Mgimwa will not bring electricity and roads to the villagers?
Lets take 30 million subscribers will bring only Tsh. 390b a year, which is like a drop of water in desert. With the CAG’s reports we have been stupefied to found out that exemption alone in a year is Tsh.1trillion which could be channeled for rural road network, could be used to ease building material costs to enable the rural dwellers to houses which can be electrified. To say that SIM-Card will enable electrification and provision of other important amenities in the rural areas is daylight dream. We just heard in the height of Mtwara fracas some ministers telling the residents of this region that they need to have good houses in order to be electrified, so have all rural dwellers in this country build a standard house? Will the government install electricity in grass thatched houses? Will the government take electricity in places where even roads are a dream? We have also heard that income form the tourism sector which the second earner of foreign exchange sometimes don’t reach the treasury as it, but what is taken there is after some big shorts taken their shots! We have also been treated to various corruption cases, some are being dragged so long without solving them, should solve corruption, lets ask TI to help us move up the ladder to 1st instead of 14th! I am ready to pay 1000/- if tax exemption is scrapped, corruption in all other sectors dealt with thoroughly. Anyway we have more than Million houses in Dar es Salaam that means if property tax paid and used properly we can stop this double taxation tendency.
I am ready to pay SIM-Card if all that is done!