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Understanding the key changes made by the Finance Act and the Written Laws Act of 2020

  • Legal Development 2 July 2020 2 July 2020
  • Energy & Natural Resources

This article will cover key legislative changes as a result of amendments made by the Finance Act No.8, 2020 and the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No.3) Act, 2020. The changes made by the Acts will directly impact investors and companies doing business in Tanzania in sectors and areas such as mining, competition law and corporate related matters.

Understanding the key changes made by the Finance Act and the Written Laws Act of 2020

The Finance Act No.8, 2020 (the Finance Act) which is now operational (as of 1 July 2020) amends a total of 18 laws, including:

  • The Mining Act No.14 of 2010 (the Mining Act);
  • The Electronic and Postal Communications Act No.3 of 2010 (the EPOCA);
  • The Land Act No.4 of 1999 (the Land Act);
  • The Tax Administration Act No.10 of 2015 (the Tax Administration Act); and
  • The Fair Competition Act No.8 of 2003 (the FCA).

The Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No.3) Act, 2020 (the Written Laws)1 became operational on the date of its publication, 17 June 2020 and amends a total of 13 laws including:

  • The Immigration Act Cap 54 (the Immigration Act);
  • The Interpretation of Laws Act Cap 1 (the Interpretation of Laws Act);
  • The Basic Rights and Duties Enforcement Act Cap 3 (the Basic Rights Act); and
  • The Law Reform (Fatal Accidents and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act Cap 310 (the Law Reform Act).

Please see below the changes and how they will affect each law.

The Mining Act

The changes to the Mining Act which seek to promote tax compliance will affect applicants of various licences including those applying for or renewing their primary mining licences, dealer licences and broker licences by requiring them to have a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) and obtain a Tax Clearance Certificate from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA). Amendments have been made to sections 49, 54, 56, 73 75, 80, and 82 of the Mining Act to account for the additional requirement above.

The EPOCA

Requirement on shareholders - section 26(1) of the EPOCA requires a holder of a network facilities or network services licence to have a minimum public shareholding of 25% of its issued and paid up share capital. It also requires a content service licensee to have a minimum public shareholding of 51% of its authorised share capital.

*The Finance Act now provides that the conditions of public shareholding/mandatory listing not apply to / exclude the following licensees:

  1. network facilities licensed for lease of towers;
  2. network facilities in which the government owns 25% or more of the shares; and
  3. network facilities wholly owned by the government.

The Land Act

The Ministry of Lands in accordance with the Land Survey Act Cap 324 and in an attempt to discourage the illegal occupancy of land have amended the Land Act which will require an occupier of any surveyed land to within 90 days from the date of approval of the survey plan to apply to the Commissioner for Lands for grant of a right of occupancy.2

An occupier of land surveyed before 1 July 2020 will have 90 days to apply to the Commissioner for Lands for a right of occupancy.

Exemption from paying land rent to the Government – amendment of section 33A

In addition to the provision of section 33A(1) where a planning authority acquires and surveys land for purposes of sale, it will not be required to pay land rent.3

The Tax Administration Act

Flight risk – section 51 is amended so as to give the Commissioner General of TRA powers to require the objector to deposit 100% of the tax instead of a 1/3 of the amount. This decision will only be reached where there is reasonable cause to believe that the objector intends to permanently leave the country.4

Taxpayer representation – the amendments to section 27 aim to clarify who the taxpayer representative can be and include a practising advocate, a tax consultant or such other person authorised by power of attorney by the taxpayer.

The FCA

The FCA has been amended and such amendments have been covered in detail in our other updater. Please click here to read our updater on The Finance Bill, 2020: proposed changes to the Tanzanian fair competition regime published on 16 June 2020.

The Immigration Act

Power to issue pass – new section 32A

The Written Laws has made amendments to the Immigration Act by giving the Commissioner General of Tanzania Immigration Services Department powers to issue passes.5 However, this power will only be exercisable in line with the Regulations to be issued by the Minister responsible for immigration.

The Interpretation of Laws Act

In addition to the numerous powers the Attorney General (the AG) has, he now has the mandate to translate any written law from the language of enactment to another language and will, by notice in the Gazette, be able to publish the translated version. 

Most but not all laws in Mainland Tanzania are in English. The introduction of this provision will make it easier to translate existing laws into Swahili and make them more accessible to the public, most of whom are fluent in the national language.

The Basic Rights Act

A petitioner i.e. anyone seeking redress, in this case against the President of Tanzania, Vice-President (the VP), Prime Minister (the PM), the Speaker, Deputy Speaker or Chief Justice (the CJ) shall only do so by way of a petition against the AG and only after having exhausted all other available remedies under any other written laws. The amendment applies to acts or omissions done by the above-mentioned public leaders in the performance of their duties. 

The Law Reform Act

Section 18 requires the AG to be made a party/summoned as a party in: 

  • any civil matter against the Government (including a public officer or any office in service of the country and established by a written law); and
  • any constitutional interpretation proceedings on basic freedoms, rights and duties specified in Part III of Chapter I of the Constitution.

In addition to the two instances above, any suit brought under Basic Rights Act for an act or omission by the President, the VP, the PM, Speaker, Deputy Speaker or the CJ shall also be brought against the AG thus making him a party to the suit.

This briefing is prepared for clients and contacts of Clyde & Co Tanzania. We aim to keep our clients abreast of developments in Tanzania as they happen and if you have any questions on the issues raised above please contact us directly.

Further advice should be taken before relying on the contents of this summary. Clyde & Co Tanzania accepts no responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of material contained in this summary. No part of this summary may be used, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, reading or otherwise without the prior permission of Clyde & Co Tanzania.

1 Both the Finance Act and the Written Laws were assented to/signed by the President of Tanzania on 15 June 2020 and made public on 17 June 2020.

2 Approval of plans is provided in section 17 of the Land Survey Act

3 ‘Planning Authority’ includes city council, municipal council, town council and township authority.

4 Objector is a taxpayer who objects to a tax assessment from TRA, the objection is made to the Commissioner General of TRA. See section 3 (the interpretation section) and section 52 of the Tax Administration Act [1] Passes include student pass, migrant pass and business pass provided under the Immigration Regulations Government Notice number 657 of 1997 (the principal Regulations) and the Immigration (Amendment) Regulations Government Notice number 246 of 2016. These Regulations are to be read as one.

5 Passes include student pass, migrant pass and business pass provided under the Immigration Regulations Government Notice number 657 of 1997 (the principal Regulations) and the Immigration (Amendment) Regulations Government Notice number 246 of 2016. These Regulations are to be read as one.

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