THE negligible contribution of the forestry and fishery subsectors to the national economy has prompted a risk assessment study by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) to boost tax revenues from the sub-sectors that boast of high revenue potentials.
The government revenue collecting agency has invited consulting firms to express interest on the assignment whose objective is to review existing revenue sources, potential and tax revenue trends as well as estimating the revenue gap for each of the sub-sectors for the 2006-2010 period.
The assigned consultant is expected to establish the current taxation system of various transactions in the forestry and fishery sub-sectors, identify the inherent risk areas and loopholes for revenue losses and review the exiting resource capacity in collecting revenues from forestry and fishery subsectors.
TRA statistics show that the share of fish products to total exports remains minimal, at 13 per cent, with annual fish catch presently estimated at 350,000 metric tonnes, a mere 50 per cent of the existing potential.
With the potentially lucrative fishing sector contributing negligibly to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), some economic analysts have described the sector's contribution of between 1.2 and 1.4 per cent to the GDP in the past two years as scandalous.
The fishing sector gives permanent employment to some 80,000 fishermen, with thousands of other people obtaining their livelihood from engaging themselves in fishing and fishery related activities.
However, widening of the tax base remains one of key challenges of TRA, which stands accused of exerting the tax burden on the few taxpayers, mostly those in formal employment.
Forestry, fishery and mining are some of the most lucrative sectors that not only allegedly benefit mostly foreigners but are leniently taxed, as well.