21 ‘negative fees’ to be dropped, Tizeba says.

The government yesterday announced that plans were afoot to scrap 21 crop fees and cess in the 2018/19 Financial Year, as part of a broader drive to improve the agricultural sector and farmers’ welfare.
The Minister for Agriculture, Dr Charles Tizeba, told Parliament that the payments had been an obstacle to the development of the sector and farmers’ prosperity.
He said the negative effects of some of the fees and cess had emerged from research that experts from the ministry had conducted, and which were found to be compromising farmers’ welfare and the agricultural sector’s development.
Dr Tizeba gave the sketch while tabling the ministry’s 2018/19 budget estimates to the tune of 170bn/-. “During the 2018/2019 financial year, we scrapped 78 out of 139 crop fees and cess which were not friendly to farmers.
As we move towards the industrial economy, the agricultural sector is among the most crucial in propelling the industrial sector,” he said.
The minister identified the proposed fees and cess for scrapping for the crops (the number in brackets as tea (three), coffee (three), tobacco (two) and one each in sugar and cotton sectors.
Dr Tizeba added that in a bid to boost the sector, the ministry had charted a strategy for easing availability of inputs by proposing the cancellation of five fees in certificates and tags, variety registration certificate, certificate of seed testing, DUS test certificate and certified copy of certificates.
Towards strengthening cooperative societies, Dr Tizeba said the ministry was proposing the scrapping of six fees and cess. He said his office had submitted recommendations on improving tax collection in the agriculture sector without problems.
Among the recommendations, he said, were those for tax relief in packaging materials for seeds and agricultural products, knapsack sprayers, farming equipment, crop processing machines and infrastructures set up for processing companies for horticulture products.
“All these measures are intended to ensure that local farmers and agricultural products manufacturers are empowered to face market competition at both levels,” he said. Dr Tizeba said they were also finalising procedures of joining the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol for Protection of New Varieties of Plants (Plants Breeders’ Rights).
Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) has registered 446 seed manufacturers and issued label to four million seeds. On the Tanzania Fertiliser Regulatory Authority (TFRA), the minister said his office would improve the fertiliser distribution system through the bulk procurement system.
The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Water’s deputy chairperson, Dr Christine Ishengoma, said there was a need for the government to disburse the allocated fund promptly, to enable the ministry to implement its projects smoothly.
She said in the ending year 2017/18, only 18 per cent of the development budget was released.
Source:Daily News 16/05/2018

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