The Minister of Finance and Economic Development conferred a 5 percent corporate tax rate to investors or developers approved as Special Economic Zone area licensed businesses through the Income Tax (Special Economic Zones Development Approval) Order 2021, published on 22 October 2021.
The 5% corporate tax rate will be applicable to the approved businesses in their first 10 years of operation and shall thereafter increase to 10 percent. The tax concession shall only apply to approved businesses situated in Special Economic Zones, being areas which are geographically demarcated as such under Section 29 of the Special Economic Zones Act. In this article, words importing the masculine shall be deemed to include the feminine.
Additionally, the developers and investors must have been granted a tax relief certificate by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. At present, Pandamatenga, Gaborone Fairgrounds, Lobatse, Selibi Phikwe, SSKIA, Francistown, Palapye and Tuli Block. According to BITC website, ‘the Special Economic Zones policy adopted by the Government of Botswana has been designed to attract world-class domestic and foreign investors by offering them developed infrastructure, state of the art technology … and targeted economic incentives.’
According to the law, ‘an investor’ is a person who has been licensed by the relevant licensing authority to carry on business in a Special Economic Zone, or who exports the entire goods they produce or services they provide except where an exemption reducing the exports from 100 percent is granted by the Minister responsible for trade and industry. Additionally, an investor includes a person who under tax any development project or activity in a Special Economic Zone in terms of Paragraph 5 of the above-mentioned order (see Approved Businesses below).
The order defines a ‘developer’ as an investor who has been granted rights over land in a special economic zone for infrastructural development made through that developer’s own funds or from third parties. In addition, the term developer includes into its ambit an investor who lures other investors to obtain licenses to conduct approved businesses in a Special Economic Zone area which is managed by that same developer. In all instances, for one to qualify as a developer, they must have been given a tax relief certificate by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
A tax relief certificate can be granted to operators of the following businesses:
- Agrobusiness, manufacturing, warehousing, distribution or logistics services as well as internationally traded services.
- Exporters of 100 percent of goods or services or one who has an exemption from the 100% condition
- New businesses setup in the Special Economic Zone including one which relocates an already operating business from a customs territory to a Special Economic Zone or one which relocates or expands from one Special Economic Zone to another, provided that no portion of the existing business is transferred to the Special Economic Zone or where the investment made in the Special Economic Zone is additional to the existing operations and will create new jobs. In both instances where a new business is set up or transferred from one Special Economic Zone to another, such relocation should not result in loss of employment.
For an investor or developer to obtain a tax relief certificate they must apply in the prescribed form, being Form A. Attachments which should accompany form A include an assessment report and a recommendation letter from the Special Economic Zones Authority, an approved tax registration for new businesses, a tax clearance certificate for existing businesses, an investor or developer license issued by the Special Economic Zones Authority and any other documentation that the Minister may require.
Well folks, we hope that was insightful. As us the two Yours Truly say goodbye, remember to pay to Caesar what belongs to him. If you want to consult, join our free Tax WhatsApp group or to know about our 9 Tax e-books, send us a text on the cell number below. You can also visit www.aupracontax.co.bw for more articles under the ‘Tax Articles’ tab.