Legal Digest – June 2015

Tabling of Gas Bill in parliament

The forthcoming parliament session, began 12 May 2015 and was initially to end on 27 June 2015 (May-June session). The Gas Bill was not scheduled for this session although it had been forwarded under “certificate of urgency” prior to this session commencing and subsequently withdrawn.

During the third week of May, President Kikwete approved a 10 day extension to the current session to clear all pending Bills. We are now informed, that the Gas Bill has been combined with the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act 1980, and the Petroleum Act 2008 and will be tabled as one Bill. At the time of publishing the FB Attorneys Legal Digest it was still unclear how the three laws would be combined, and no official Bill had been circulated to stakeholders.


On 11 June 2015, the Finance Minister Saada Mkuya will table the national budget at about TZS 22.8 trillion for 2015/2016. The government will also reduce tax incentives to non-important sectors/projects and collect much-needed revenue as the country moves towards a donor-free budget.

New Insurance Policy

Key insurance stakeholders met to discuss the insurance policy on 8 May 2015. The first draft is expected to be circulated on 1 July 2015 and the final policy is targeted to be in place before October this year. The commissioner of insurance said that the new proposed policy aims at strengthening the insurance market. One key new entrant in the proposed policy is Takaful Shariah insurance.

Cyber Law

The Cybercrimes Bill was passed in April 2015. The Bill attempts to address child pornography, cyberbullying, online impersonation, electronic production of racist and xenophobic content, unsolicited messages (i.e. spam), illegal interception of communications, publication of false information amongst others — all in one law.

This law makes it criminal for any person to receive any content deemed to be prohibited through his phone, irrespective of the recipient’s consent. The content in this context includes exchange of pictures deemed to be nude over social media platforms, such as whatsapp, facebook, twitter, among others.

The law is aimed at curbing the rise in internet associated crimes. However, it has attracted criticism from opposition politicians, social media practitioners and human rights activists (who see the law as an attempt to close down online space). This law gives wide range ability to the police, without meaningful oversight, to demand data from online service providers, seize electronic hardware and search homes.

A report by the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) shows that internet services in Tanzania commenced from the year 1995 and here has been a steady growth of internet users from 3.5 million people in 2008 to over about 11 million by the end of 2014.

Evidence Act under review

The Judiciary headed by the Chief Justice have been proponents of changing the Evidence Act of 1967 which clearly does not meet the demands of the 21st century. The vast majority of this law was imported from the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 (which was written over 140 years ago) and it is clearly not well suited to the modern day realities of Tanzania.

FB Attorneys team is informed that more serious efforts are underway for a team of consultants to adopt best practice from other similar jurisdictions for the Evidence Act to be reviewed before being repealed and replaced with a new Evidence Act.

Considering that the Law of Marriage Act, which the Ministry of Community, Gender and Children said about 10 years would be replaced with a new Marriage Act, has not yet been tabled in parliament, we are unsure how long it will take the Evidence Act to be repealed and replaced.

Tanzania Commodity Exchange Bill Ready

The Capital Markets and Securities Authority (CMSA) has finalised the process of drafting the proposed law on the Tanzania Commodity Exchange Market (TCX). We are unsure when this Bill will be tabled in parliament. The commodity exchange, according to CMSA, provides price transparency, price discovery and reduced transaction costs.

According to CMSA, the commodity exchange will initially trade in four crops – cashew nuts, coffee, cotton and rice for enabling farmers to access lucrative markets within and outside the country. This is expected to introduce transparency and competition in crop prices via market and pricing information as well as assuring cropquality, timely delivery and payment.

According to Africa Exchange Holdings, the agricultural sector in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to increase 2.5% annually through 2030 – the fastest growth anywhere in the world; however the absence of standardized product grades, proof of ownership for commodities, and proper storage facilities limits agricultural potential in Tanzania.

VAT Act and Tax Administration Act to come into force

Two pieces of critical legislation that will affect the business community, the Value Added Tax Act, 2014 and the Tax Administration Act, 2014 will likely come into force in the next 60 days. We are informed that the regulations for these two acts are being drafted and finalized to enable the Acts come into force.

Two High Court judges elevated to Court of Appeal

Judges Augustine Mwarija, who was the Judge in charge at the High Court, Commercial Division, and Judge Stella Mugasha, who was the Judge in charge at the High Court in Arusha, have been appointed by President Kikwete to the Court of Appeal of Tanzania.

Around the World

China, South Korea sign free trade agreement
South Korea and China have signed a bilateral free trade agreement that will eliminate most tariffs between the two countries over the next two decades. The agreement, which will remove tariffs on approximately 90 percent of goods traded between the two nations over the next 20 years, was signed after three years of negotiations.

Cuba out of terror list
The US government on Friday formally removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism as a positive step toward restoring Cuba-US diplomatic relations.

Creative sentencing
A judge known for his creative sentences told an Ohio woman who pleaded guilty to assault with pepper spray that she had a choice: She could go to jail for 30 days or she could let the victim spray her with the chemical.

Medieval laws face axe in legal pruning
Hundreds of outdated British laws to go, including Statute of Marlborough preventing removal of debtors’ goods dating back to 1267. Legislation dating back to the reign of King Henry II – preventing removal of debtors’ goods from beyond their native county – will shortly disappear from the UK’s law books.

Tobacco giants vow to fightCanadian judgment handing C$15bn to smokers
Three tobacco companies are appealing against a “historic” decision by a Canadian court to award smokers C$15.6bn (£8.2bn) in damages. Quebec superior court justice Brian Riordan said the companies had put profits before the health of their customers, as he issued his long-awaited decision in what is thought to be Canada’s largest class-action lawsuit.

Court takes bite out of Apple’s $930m trademark verdict against Samsung
Federal appeals court upholds patent infringement violations but asks lower court to reconsider $382m portion awarded for ‘trade dress’ dilution. A US appeals court reversed part of the $930m verdict that Apple won in 2012 against Samsung, saying the iPhone maker’s trademark-related appearance could not be protected. In a highly anticipated ruling stemming from the global smartphone wars, the US court of appeals for the federal circuit in Washington DC upheld the patent infringement violations found by a federal jury in a court in San Jose, California, as well as the damages awarded for those violations.