More than 1,000 shops in Tanzania’s busiest market remained shut for a third day on Wednesday as traders protested a new tax, in a rare public protest against the government.
Stores in Kariakoo, a massive market located in the financial capital Dar es Salaam, closed their doors on Monday, calling for an end to “multiple taxes, harassment by police and the tax collectors” after the new levy came into effect last month.
“We pay a lot of taxes but the closure of shops was prompted by the demand to register our stores and pay the new store tax,” one of the traders said during a meeting with Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa on Wednesday that was broadcast live on television.
Majaliwa announced a moratorium on the collection of the relevant tax, as well as announcing the formation of a committee made up of government officials and traders.
Majaliwa was accompanied by ministers and tax officials during the talks.
“It’s now time to please go back and open your shops,” he said at the talks.
The closures at Kariakoo — a commercial hub that trades with other regions and neighbouring countries — came as the East African nation witnesses a gradual opening of freedoms under President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who came to power two years ago.
Hassan’s predecessor John Magufuli, who died in 2021 after six years of heavy-handed rule, was nicknamed the “Bulldozer” for his hardline policies.
© Agence France-Presse