MEMBERS of Parliament yesterday called on the government to abolish annual motor vehicle ownership fees charged on vehicles not on the road.
They argued that only roadworthy vehicles should be charged the fee, adding that it is quite unfair to claim the fee from vehicles which are grounded.
Others proposed that the fee be included in the price of fuel and thus save vehicle owners from the inconvenience they suffer from traffic police officers, Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) officers and other law-enforcement agencies.
However, in response, the government said that it was contemplating streamlining the Road Traffic Act, 1973 that would see changes in the payment of the annual motor vehicle licence ownership fees.
Deputy Minister for Finance and Planning Ashatu Kijaji told the National Assembly that since there were a lot of complains about the yearly fees, the government would discuss and come up with a better approach to the matter.
“The annual motor vehicle licence fee is charged on first registration of a motor vehicle and annually thereafter and is based on the size of the engine,” she noted, adding that since there were a lot of complaints the government would look into ways of resolving the matter.
She was responding to a question from Busega MP Raphael Chegeni (CCM), who had wanted to know when the government would scrap the rod licence fee.
The lawmaker complained that the fee charged on those who own vehicles were quite disturbing since it was also charged on vehicles which were grounded and therefore not on the road.
“I think it is important that the fees be charges only on vehicles which are on the road and not otherwise,” he stated, calling on the government to see how to change the law governing the matter.
The deputy minister explained that the fee was charged for ownership of a vehicle and not for using the road, maintaining that no such decisions could be made now until the law had been reviewed.
Her response caused uproar from the floor of the House, with many lawmakers from both sides shouting in disagreement.
Nkasi MP Ally Kessy (CCM) strongly opposed the deputy minister, calling for the fee to be included in the fuel charges.
“Let the fee be paid those who have vehicles on the road instead of charging those who cannot afford to have their dilapidated vehicles on the road,” he stressed.
The debate escalated with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Job Ndugai urging the government to see how to solve the matter since it was of great public interest.
This prompted the government chief whip Jennister Mhagama to rise, stressing that no firm response could be made in the House yesterday until the government got the opportunity to review the relevant law.
“Let your esteemed House understand that even if we debate this for a whole day, the deputy minister cannot go against the law and announce scrapping of the fee until the law has been reviewed,” she said.