DAR ES SALAAM – Tanzania's small-scale miners on Monday thanked President John Magufuli after Parliament last week endorsed a bill designed to reduce taxes imposed on mining.
"We thank President Magufuli on behalf of more than 6 million small scale miners across Tanzania for the recent mining taxation amendments approved by Parliament last week," said John Bina, president of the Federation of Miners Association of Tanzania (FEMATA).
"The government has responded to our requests by at least 90 percent," said Bina in an interview with Xinhua.
He stated that FEMATA has planned to hold country-wide demonstrations later this week to thank President Magufuli for pioneering the changes. The demonstrations to be conducted by all small-scale miners will be held at national level in Kahama district, Shinyanga region, said Bina.
On Saturday, Tanzanian Parliament endorsed a bill designed to remove payment of withholding tax of 5 percent by small-scale miners in the nation.
The bill was tabled in the National Assembly by Attorney General Adelardus Kilangi following a recent directive by President Magufuli to waive nuisance taxes imposed on small-scale miners.
Minister for Minerals Dotto Biteko said the amendments came as an outcome of a meeting last month between Magufuli and small-scale miners in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.
"This is a clear indication that our government is prioritizing the voices of its people," Biteko told the House in the capital, Dodoma, when debating the bill.
During his meeting with miners, businesspeople and other stakeholders on Jan. 22, Magufuli said it was high time tax regimes imposed on the mining sector were relaxed in order to encourage miners to pay tax and reduce chances of tax evasion. The current taxes imposed on miners are "unacceptably high," the president said, adding that he would wish to see the taxes revised down in Parliament.
Bina said miners were forced to shoulder the burden of taxes, including 18 percent of their annual turnovers as value added tax, a royalty of 6 percent, a 5 percent withholding tax, inspection and clearance fee of 1 percent and service levy.