According to a recent report by the East African Business Week (EABW), a 30-day tax amnesty has been given to importers in order to help decongest the Tanzania transport hub, the Dar-es-Salaam Port.
The report has indicated that the amnesty will begin to go into effect on the first of August and is for the benefit of the containers that are more than 120 days due as of the fifteenth of June.
The EABW reported that the CEO for the Tanzania International Container Services Limited (TCTS), Neville Bissett, has encouraged importers to consult the TCTS website in order to determine their eligibility.
“The full list of containers is at our website www.ticts.com/amnesty list and importers are encouraged to confirm whether their containers are eligible for the amnesty,” he said.
Mr. Bissett went on to indicate that customers would be required to complete all of the necessary documentation and obtain the necessary release in order ensure that they would be able to pay port charges within the deadline.
In addition, Mr. Bissett also explained that this proposal had received the support of both the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and the shipping lines, which had agreed to provide assistance to importers in the clearing of their consignments within the imposed deadline.
“On September 1, all the remaining consignments will be handed over to TRA for auctioning,” said Mr. Bissett.
In addition to these changes, the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) also recently announced the opening of an alternative route to the sea, called the central corridor, which is composed of rail, lake and road links and will pass through Dar es Salaam in order to facilitate the transfer goods to and from the neighboring countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi and on to the other countries throughout the region.
According to Tanzania port officials Port officials the issue of taxes would be discussed in more detail with the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
The Marketing Director for the TPA, Flavian Kinunda, indicated in the EABW report that Uganda, in particular, represented a very important market and transit route for the Dar es Salaam port.
“We are here to strengthen our efforts in the Ugandan market,” said Mr. Kinunda, “We closed the route some time back because of problems [but] we want to come back to recapture the market.”
Mr. Kinunda went on to explain that the common misconception that the Tanzanian route was more expensive than the Kenyan one did not take into account the issues of distance and import taxes, the latter being negotiable with the URA.
In addition, Mr. Kinunda also stressed that the TPA was not looking to directly compete with Mombasa for the Ugandan market, but rather it was looking to become a second route to the coast.
This route, as well as the planned railway line from Arusha to Musoma would help to open up the Tanga Port for goods to Uganda and Southern Sudan as well as accelerate the speed with which goods could be delivered to Uganda.