Q&A – 26 September 2022

Yellow colour of school buses  

I am operating an orphanage home and a school serving disadvantaged children. One philanthropist donated two vehicles for the school which I used to transport orphan pupils to a picnic. Despite the buses being clearly marked ‘School Bus’ on the front and back of each bus, a traffic police stopped us on the way to tell the driver that it was wrong to transport pupils in vehicles not ‘yellow painted’. Is painting ‘yellow’ the requirement of the law? I am a Simba fan, can’t I paint the buses red?
AB, Arusha

The colour of the bus is not linked to either Simba or Yanga, but a law. And yellow is used worldwide because it is the most visible colour in almost all weathers and conditions, and according to research is more than 50% visible than Simba’s red colour. Of course without any offence to Simba fans, including some of the authors of this FB Attorneys column! Let us now answer the question!

A school bus is a public service vehicle. Licencing of public service vehicles is regulated under the Transport Licensing (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations, 2020 (the Regulations). Thus, before operating a school bus, one needs to get a licence and abide by the conditions stipulated under the Regulations.

The Regulations defines a school bus to mean a passenger service vehicle, whether owned or operated by a registered day care centre, school or privately owned or operated under contract with such school, which is intended to provide transport services to pupils to or from school, or for any other school related activity, when they are in a group.

A person who intends to operate a school bus should submit an application for a licence to the Land Transport Regulatory Authority (the Authority) either manually or electronically. The application should be accompanied with a copy of motor vehicle registration card; a vehicle inspection report; proof of payment of application fees; and any other documents as the Authority may at any time require. A licensee of a school bus service is required to meet some standards before getting a licence. Apart from the standards in respect of the quality of a vehicle, other popular conditions is a requirement that the driver of a school bus should not be below the age of 35 and not above the age of 60. It is also a condition that the school bus should be painted in yellow colour and printed with words ‘School Bus’ or ‘Basi la Shule’. Moreover, a school bus should be fitted with a first aid kit at a conspicuous place which contains specified medicine and other medical requirements.

Thus, printing the words ‘School Bus’ alone doesn’t suffice to legalise you to operate a school bus. Make sure you follow the whole process of getting the licence for operating the school buses and thereafter abide by the other conditions, including painting the vehicles in yellow colour and having drivers of the prescribed age. Unfortunately, the Regulations have no option for painting school buses in red as per Simba fans wishes! Failure to paint a school bus in yellow attracts a fine of TZS 100,000.

Withholding tax certificates for employees

I am a Chief Accountant of a manufacturing company which employs more than 200 employees. Last month we had a meeting with employees which was also attended by trade union leaders. One of the agendas addressed was the provision of withholding tax certificates to employees for PAYE deducted from their salaries. The union leader insisted that each employee should get a certificate as it is illegal not to give such certificates. Is it law to give withholding tax certificates to employees for such deductions? 
JK, Dar

A resident employer who makes a payment that is to be included in calculating the chargeable income of an employee from employment is obliged to withhold income tax from the payment at the rate prevailing at the time of making such payment. The employer is duty bound to pay to the Commissioner for Income Tax any income tax withheld from the employees within 7 days after the end of each calendar month. In this sense, an employer acts as a withholding agent of the Tanzania Revenue Authority and the employee is a withholdee.

The Income Tax Act requires a withholding agent to prepare and serve on a withholding tax certificate setting out the amount of payments made to the withholdee and income tax withheld from those payments. For other withholdees, other than employees, a withholding tax certificate should cover a calendar month and has to be served to the withholdee within thirty days after the end of the month.

In respect of PAYE withheld from employees, a withholding certificate covers a calendar year. In that case, the employer is not obliged to issue a certificate for each calendar month, rather has to serve an annual withholding tax certificate by 30 January after the end of the year or, where the employee has ceased employment with the employer during the year, no more than 30 days from the date on which the employment ceased. Thus, the trade union is right to require you to provide withholding certificates to employees as per the above.

Consolation for injury caused by dangerous animals

Our village is neighbouring a national park. Last year a group of antelopes invaded my shamba and while chasing them away, one of them kicked and injured my three year old child and as a result I spent a considerable amount of money to treat my child. I was told by my neighbor that there is a possibility of being compensated. Please guide me.
AK, Serengeti

Consolation for a damage resulting from permanent, temporary or partial destruction of crops or death of livestock or injury to or death of a human being is governed by the Wildlife Conservation (Dangerous Animals Damage Consolation) Regulations, 2011 (the Regulations). Application for consolation is made to the Director of Wildlife (the Director) in a form prescribed in the Regulations.

Please note that the Regulations allow consolations only for the damage caused by ‘dangerous animals’. Under the Third Schedule to the Regulations, dangerous animals are limited to black rhinoceros, spotted hyena, hippopotamus, Nile crocodile, buffalo, lion and the African elephant. Unfortunately, the antelope which kicked your child is not recognised as a dangerous animal under the Regulations and hence your application for consolation has a likelihood of being rejected.