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Tanzania: Traders in country's largest market on strike over new tax

Shops in Kariakoo big market close for third day in protest of new tax   -  
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The most crowded market in Tanzania, located in the economic capital Dar es Salaam, was paralyzed on Wednesday by the closure of more than a thousand stores for the third consecutive day, in protest against a new tax, which the government will submit to a moratorium.

In an unprecedented move in this East African country, traders in the Kariakoo market have not opened since Monday. In this way, they are able to create a new culture of peace and harmony in the world, and to create a new way of life for the people.

"We pay a lot of taxes but the closure was prompted by the demand to register our stores and pay the new tax on stores," said a shopkeeper at a public meeting with Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, broadcast live on television Wednesday.

The Prime Minister announced a moratorium on the collection of the tax and the creation of a 14-member committee, composed of government members and traders. He also asked the police to "concentrate on the security of people and their property".

At the opening of this meeting, which was also attended by ministers and officials of the tax administration, Kassim Majaliwa assured to be attentive to the claims of traders.

"It is now time to (...) reopen your stores," said Kassim Majaliwa, applauded by some, while others called for the proposal to be rejected.

"You have a serious request and we are here to listen to your grievances", he told them: "Speak freely, I will defend you (...) Let us be patient and take note of the challenges".

"We are still paying import taxes and we are asked to pay for the same goods once they are in the store. This is double taxation," said Elimringi Goodluck, a trader.

This is the first time that a company has been forced to pay for a product that has been imported into the country.

The country has been led since 2021 by President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who broke with the authoritarian policies of her predecessor John Magufuli.

Although inflation is generally contained in the country (+4.3%), the Tanzanian population's purchasing power has been reduced by the rise in food prices (+9.1% over one year) and transport prices (+4.3%), according to official figures published at the beginning of May.

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