Startimes

Tanzania unmoved after retaining permit fees for Kenyan firms

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After nearly a year of negotiating business permit fees with Tanzania, the East African state has retained the fees. This follows a treaty that took effect in 2010 owing to scrap visas and work permit fees charged on firms from neighboring countries.

The Maghufuli led country then introduced permit charges in 2015 with the enactment of the non-citizen employment regulation act.

Tanzania, Burundi and South Sudan are the only countries left to exercise the waiver already executed by Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda but even after recent trade talks, Tanzania still holds on to the restrictions.  This, is even after closed door talks between John Maghufuli and Uhuru Kenyatta  as well as a meeting between Chris Kiptoo and Adolf Mkenda both Trade principal secretaries.

Revised Permit fees

Even as Kenya maintains that permits and visa fees must be harmonized across the region, the move by Tanzania is seen as retaliation to Kenya’s rising inspection fees on its trucks, failure to implement single customs territory tax collection model and causing border delays.

Kenya has pointed out problems with Tanzania’s 11.5 per cent railway development levy on its products, valuing its juices for tax purposes and banning its diesel re-exports to northern Tanzania. During a Dar meeting between the trade secretaries Tanzania agreed to cut by three quarters the expatriate work permits charged on EAC firms that send no-Tanzanian staff to work in the country.

Expatriate permit fees have been reduced from $2,000 to $500 per year, a change that the two principals said can further be deliberated.

For non-EAC firms, Tanzania will continue to collect business fees at the rate of Sh25,000 and Sh10,000. Those who visit Tanzania for research will pay Sh25,000 for a class C permit.

These changes seek to provide preferential treatment to citizens of EAC member countries as compared to those coming from other countries.

The East African Common Market Protocol, which was ratified in 2010, provides for free movement of workers but Tanzania and Burundi have retained the permits on claims of health and security concerns. South Sudan being a new entrant in the region cannot be crucified yet for not implementing the same.

 

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Melissa Daniels
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