President John Magufuli has suspended Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority Director General Dr. Ally Simba as well as dissolved the body’s regulatory board.
Magufuli opted to disband telecoms industry regulatory body board over weak management and incompetence that cost the country about Sh400bn annually.
“I want the government to collect all outstanding (tax) revenues and I will not hesitate to take action against anyone who becomes an obstacle in this tax collection drive,” Magufuli said in a statement.
The president’s office said the telecoms regulator, headed by Ally Simba, had signed a contract with a private firm in 2013 for the installation of a telecommunications traffic monitoring system, but the regulator had failed to use it.
The telecoms regulator did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request to comment.
Communications is the fastest growing sector in east Africa’s second-largest economy, which has a population of more than 47 million.
The number of mobile phone subscribers in Tanzania rose by 25 percent in 2015 to 39.8 million, according to latest government figures.
Mobile phone operators in Tanzania include Vodacom Tanzania, part of South Africa’s Vodacom, Bharti Airtel Tanzania, Tigo Tanzania, which is part of Sweden’s Millicom, Zantel and Halotel, owned by Vietnam-based telecoms operator Viettel.
The president has also launched a general tax crackdown and ordered the country’s revenue authority to target large-scale tax evasion by big companies.
Ever since he took office last November after elections, the Tanzanian president has moved aggressively to crack down on corruption and government waste.
Days after he was sworn last last year, Magufuli cancelled celebrations marking Independence Day on Dec. 9, and ordered the $2 million set aside for the festivities be used to construct a 4.3 km road section in Dar es Salaam.
He also cancelled celebrations marking World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 to cut what he termed as “unnecessary government spending”, ordering the money saved be used to purchase drugs.
Magufuli has fired at least seven government agency heads since coming to office Nov. 5, including the head of the country’s anti-corruption body, the chief of Tanzania Railways and a top immigration official.