Tax Revolt Brewing: Tanzanian Citizens Challenge Government Over Unjust Levies

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Tanzanian taxpayers’ interactive dialogue with the government is more on paper than in practical terms. Even where taxpayers resist the tax hikes, Parliament ignores the protests without incurring any damning consequences. However, big business and taxpayer associations in California have teamed up to collect enough signatures to force tax policy to be flipped, leaving their state representatives toothless to raise taxes without their approval.

This article takes a deep bite into the reasons behind this tax revolt, reflecting upon our sorry taxation state for demonstration purposes only, which will come as soon as November during federal elections, and the global tectonics may be enduring and infectious like the COVID-19 virus. The government’s main reason for collecting taxes is to do things that individuals will never do.

Such things include defence, security, infrastructure, and social amenities. Nobody seems to disagree with the governmental collection of taxes. Still, the irreconcilable beef is governments rarely spend well taxes, eventually generating lots of waste, and depict unwillingness to fix the mess encourages them to raise even more taxes to cover their tracks. Sadly, whoever covers his errors never goes anywhere but trudges a path to perdition.

Moreover, governments tend to squeeze the smaller guys to furnish senior public officers with huge compensation packages without a conscience to the plight of the poor. As it is written, your leaders will shoulder you with heavier burdens that they cannot lift themselves with their smallest digit. This prophecy is hereby fulfilled before our own eyes.

Also, read From TZS 2.5 Trillion to TZS 791 Billion: Remittance Drop Signals Alert for Tanzania’s Economy.

In our taxation maelstrom, we have witnessed a larger portion of taxes being placed on the poor while the powerful are always let off the hook, partially because the latter can buy off the government to behave in a manner that suits their short-term calculations.

A good example is the national policy of attracting foreign investors, which has been a disgrace and polarizing. Aliens were and are still being enticed to invest as little as possible, often brandishing agreements with our lousy government to solicit and secure mega loans that rarely flow back into the projects supporting those documents. At times, even our own government guarantees those hefty loans, only to be left alone in settling them!

Aliens slap us with the environmental costs without effective compensation enforcement mechanisms. Where those mechanics are in place, a destructive symbiotic association between the alien investors and the local enforcers ensure the Treasury picks up the tab upon our collective consternation.

No wonder our MPs and ministers are always targeting us as their main source of revenue but will NEVER question why foreign investors do not contribute the lion’s share of the taxes despite colossal destruction to our environment, land grabbing that condemns our people to squatters and underpayment of the local employees.

The main reason behind this cockeyed stature is an unhealthy relationship between government players and alien investors, which is “PAY TO PLAY.” For a country that fears God, it is a foreigner who pays taxes, and the indigenous are set free. But since our leaders love the wages of sin more, they protect aliens and punish their people, whom they claim to shield from all facets of the injustices.

The payroll of the foreign investors includes not only their employees but the public officers from almost all crannies in one way or the other in their little black book, which makes our leaders employees of foreigners. This is deeply disturbing because when the matter of the diaspora’s determination of whether they are citizens or not, our compromised leaders dismiss them as not one of us! The representatives claim that by having sworn to be citizens of another country, the diaspora has denied their citizenship, but the same yardstick is inapplicable to our willy-nilly representatives!

Read related: Government Targets Non-Religious Organizations with New Tax Scheme.

What our leaders conveniently overlook is the gospel truth that every time they solicit bribes from alien investors, they denounce their citizenship by aiding the demise of this great nation. I would also like to add that by giving this country a raw deal. Our representatives are traitors worse than the diaspora, whose income is shared with this country for our good.

Tanzanian representatives take money from our national coffers, inflicting anguish on all and sundry. Still, the diaspora injects trillions annually to stabilise the economy of this perpetually impoverished nation, deferring possible violent social upheavals that the representatives are surreptitiously plotting day in and day out.

Diaspora know that they are subsidising governmental incompetence, greed and looting but are captured and cannot impose draconian embargo because most of their money goes directly to their loved ones whose lives would have been havocked if that flow of funds ceased. The representatives take away money in the economy with the help of foreign investors who insidiously deposit those bribes through our representatives’ overseas accounts, malnourishing our measly GDP.

What is shocking and appalling out of sheer hypocrisy is that the same representatives backpedal and whine about a shortage of foreign currency but NEVER take responsibility for their incompetence, greed and looting!

Of note, some of our representatives’ incompetence is indirect. For instance, while we are being tormented for our lack of energy, our representatives are busier signing agreements that will ship away coal and natural gas abroad without a second thought—they are mortgaging our future to the lowest bidder!

You will never hear any representative complain about why auctioning jobs, taxes, technology and added value of products to aliens. That kind of debate is “NO GO ZONE.” Any representative who will question this government policy of fleecing us of vital natural resources for a pittance has to consider that his political career is heading into a bridge to nowhere. The powers that be will ensure that intrepid mouthpiece and a launchpad that undermine them are permanently switched off the pulpit of morality and commonsense.

Harking back to the State of California, the tax revolt came legally through the referendum after a threshold of signatures was secured that, if passed in November, will ensure accountability in raising taxes. That onus will require two-thirds of the electorate to approve tax hikes. Voters are saying too much power in the hands of representatives has corrupted them. It is time to leash their chief tormentor: their state government.

If such a constitutional provision had been available in our country, how many harsh and unconscionable taxes would have been law? The majority of taxes target us while shielding the alien investor who adds almost nothing to our puny economy.

Our representatives refuse to account for the impact alien investors are adding to our GDP because it will close the spigot of their filthy wealth beyond our imagination. Such fruitful debate is intentionally muzzled because it exposes our leaders for who they are: the traitors worse than the diaspora whom they have unfairly judged as disloyal.

But who is loyal? Is the Diaspora bringing cash into the economy or a politician shipping out wealth outside the country? The politician must rethink his ways before an open tax revolt breaks loose to his timely axing.

The author is a Development Administration specialist in Tanzania with over 30 years of practical experience, and has been penning down a number of articles in local printing and digital newspapers for some time now.

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