Back to Africa Check

No, Tanzania’s finance minister didn’t announce 18% VAT on civil servant salaries

A screenshot has been shared on Facebook with the claim that Tanzania’s finance minister has slapped an 18% value-added tax on the salaries of civil servants.

The screenshot, which appears to be of a message shared on WhatsApp, shows minister Mwigulu Nchemba speaking into a microphone. 

Text below the photo reads: “WATUMISHI WA UMMA KUKATWA KODI YA VAT YA 18% PHD Mwigulu amesema serikali ina mpango wa kuanzisha KODI YA ONGEZEKO LA THAMANI (V.A.T) kwa watumishi wa umma kupitia mishahara yao (Basic Salary) kwa sabab kwa sasa watumishi wa umma wanakatwa kodi ya P.A.Y.E tu lakn hawakatwi V.A.T.”

Translated from Kiswahili, this means: “ Civil servants to pay 18% VAT. Dr Mwigulu said the government has plans to introduce VALUE-ADDED TAX, to be deducted from the basic salary of civil servants. Currently only PAYE is deducted from civil servants’ pay, but not VAT.” 

Value Added Tax, or VAT, is a consumption tax charged on the value of products or services. The tax is not charged on employees' basic salaries.

VAT in Tanzania is levied on all taxable products and services that are supplied in or imported into the country. The VAT rate is 18% in mainland Tanzania and 15% on the island of Zanzibar.

So did the finance minister announce civil servants would have 18% VAT subtracted from their salaries? We checked. 


Ignore message, says minister

Nchemba took to his Twitter account to dismiss the rumours. He shared the widely circulated screenshot with “FAKE” stamped across it in red.

He tweeted: “Nimeona post hiyo ikisambazwa, Jambo hilo ni UZUSHI. Puuzeni, hao ni wahuni tu wenye nia OVU. Kama Wizara, tuko kwenye mipango huko mbeleni kuongeza MISHAHARA na Mengine mazuri yqnakuja kwa watumishi wa umma kama ilivyo ahadi ya Mhe Rais siku ya wafanyakazi,”.

Translated from Kiswahili, the tweet reads: “I have seen that post being circulated. It is fabricated. Ignore the content. It is the work of rogue people with ill intentions. As a ministry, we have future plans of increasing salaries and other benefits to public servants, as promised by the president on Labour Day.” 

Beware of fake quotes spread on social media.

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.