TANZANIA’s biggest open market came to a standstill on Thursday because the bosses went to give government a piece of their minds.
Kariakoo Market was freakishly quiet as most shops were closed as owners met with the Minister of Finance in what can be called ‘A Rumble in Diamond Jubilee.’
Many things were said; some in anger and some in frustration, over the electronic fiscal devices (EFDs) gizmos that the government of the United Republic is shoving down their throats. Long story cut short; aside from the fact that the gizmos are insanely expensive, the businessmen and women do not like them.
They say the gizmos complicate things and they just do not want to use them. They were and I believe still are, willing to fight government in whichever way, including closing their businesses like they did on Thursday and experience losses, than use the device.
A bold, but extremely clear statement. Government has acknowledged the fact that they have made a somewhat gigantic blunder with these gizmos. In fact, the minister said that this system that they have introduced is not operating in the it should and that is to help businessmen and women, rather the devices are oppressing them.
Am I the only one who sees a pattern here? Government, at the blink of an eye, drops a bombshell of a resolution and expects strong-arms in the private sector to comply but when they see that the resolution is full of holes, they try and retract and find a solution? Sim card tax, anyone?
A classic example of how government dropped what they thought was a great idea only it backfired. The sim card tax, with its lovely potential billion shillings revenue scheme (that I’m sure had the government salivating) was dropped but a united front opposed it and now I don’t know where it stands.
Would I be mistaken to think that government has some sort of beef with the private sector? Like a long standing feud that those who were born post the Disco era or the Jheri curl mania, would not understand.
The feud that would explain how ideas are quickly passed as resolutions, there is uproar from the private sector involved meaning that the relevant Minister to has to go apologise, form a committee to investigate before scrapping it altogether.
I can see though how an idea maybe great on paper but the actual implementation of it be nothing short of a trip to hell and back. I have a lot of ideas that seem like a walk to the kiosk and back but when I start, dramatically reduce my life expectancy.
However, my ideas do not involve whole economic sectors and especially while trying to collect revenue. I do not have a fancy degree in finance as I would imagine many people in the Finance Ministry do. Microsoft Excel is my only claim to fame where numbers are concerned but the economies of scale are pretty simple.
How much did it cost both government and the private sector to close down Kariakoo for a whole day? How much in terms of time and resources did it cost both government and the private sector to debate use of these gizmos? A gizmo which was brought in to, coincidentally, increase revenue collection, is being a general all round expense.